(written from a Production point of view)
James Lew (born 6 September 1952; age 61) is the stuntman, actor, fight and stunt coordinator, and filmmaker, who served as fight coordinator for the sixth season Star Trek: Voyager episode "Tsunkatse", under stunt coordination of Dennis Madalone. More recently, Lew portrayed a stunt Romulan in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. For both Trek assignments he received no credit.
Born as James Jene Fae Lew in Los Angeles, California, Lew studied martial arts under Sifu Doug Wong and received his Black Belt in Kung Fu in 1972. With over 25 years of martial arts experiences, coordination, and training, Lew published the book "The Art of Stretching and Kicking" in 1982, followed by several training videos since 1992. Listed in several top lists of martial arts artists, member of the Martial Arts History Museum, and published in over 40 magazines, Lew has appeared on-screen alongside almost all action stars of the last decades, including Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Jeanne-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, and Sylvester Stallone.
Lew started his stunt and stunt acting career in the late 1970s and performed in movies such as the comedy Big Time (1977), the television drama The Fantastic Seven (1979, with Christopher Lloyd), the comedy Going Berserk (1983, with Richard Libertini, Kurtwood Smith, Rosalind Chao, and stunts by Mark Yerkes), the action drama Los Angeles Streetfighter (1985), the T.J. Hooker episode Outcall (1985, starring William Shatner and James Darren, and with Barbara Luna and Clyde Kusatsu), John Carpenter's fantasy adventure Big Trouble in Little China (1986, with Kim Cattrall, Jeff Imada, Kenny Endoso, Bill M. Ryusaki, and Simone Boisseree) for which he also served as associate producer and martial arts choreographer, the action thriller Action Jackson (1988), John Carpenter's science fiction horror film They Live (1988, with Meg Foster), and the action thriller Best of the Best (1989).
In the 1990s, Lew served as stunt coordinator for several projects, including the action drama Guns (1990), the science fiction film Aftershock (1990, with Matthias Hues and Michael Berryman), the action film Double Impact (1991, with Alan Scarfe), the science fiction film Dark Vengeance (1992), the action film Ballistic (1995, with Marjean Holden, Charles Napier, and Jeff Rector), the science fiction adventure Robo Warriors (1996), the thriller Boogie Boy (1998, with Karen Sheperd and stunts by Bobby Aldridge and Anita Hart), and the television comedy Late Last Night (1999, with Steven Weber). He also served as martial arts coordinator/ choreographer on a few projects, most notable the Baywatch episode War of Nerves (1992, starring Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), the film prequel Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), the television series Raven (1992-1993), and as sword trainer for Patrick Stewart on the thriller Safe House (1999). Additional credits where he combined stunts, martial arts, and acting roles are the action film Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991, with Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), the comedy Undercover Blues (1993, with stunts by Dana Hee, Jim Wilkey, and Eddie Braun), the comedy sequel Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993), the science fiction film Timecop (1994), the action sequel Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995), John Carpenter's science fiction thriller Escape from L.A. (1996, with Michelle Forbes), the thriller Red Corner (1997), the thriller High Voltage (1997), and Brett Ratner's action comedy Rush Hour (1998), as well as the television series Murder She Wrote (1990, with Elinor Donahue, Michael Horton, and William Windom), Roseanne (1992), Renegade (1993, with Branscombe Richmond, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and Anthony De Longis), Space Rangers (1993-1994, starring Marjorie Monaghan and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and with Clint Howard, Susan Fallender, Salli Elise Richardson, and Leon Russom), Walker, Texas Ranger (1994, with Noble Willingham), Babylon 5 (1998, with regulars Bill Mumy, Tracy Scoggins, Patricia Tallman, and Andreas Katsulas, and Walter Koenig and Clynell Jackson III), and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (1999).
Further credits include stunt coordination for the action film Instinct to Kill (2001), the short film Four Fingers of the Dragon (2003, with Eric Ritter), and the television series Entourage (2005) and Fashion House (2006), and performances in the action comedy sequel Rush Hour 2 (2001), the television series Black Scorpion (2001, with Robert Pine and Edward Conna under coordination of Peewee Piemonte), Tim Burton's science fiction remake Planet of the Apes (2001, with Tagawa and David Warner), J.J. Abrams' Alias (2002, with Keone Young and Shauna Duggins), the war drama The Last Samurai (2003, written by John Logan), Michael Mann's thriller Collateral (2004), the television series CSI: Miami (2006, along Michael Papajohn), the horror film Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane (2007, along Shawn Crowder, Rosine "Ace" Hatem, Dorenda Moore, Boni Yanagisawa, and Spice Williams-Crosby), and the sequels Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) and Rush Hour 3 (2007).
In 2006, Lew released his first movie, the action comedy 18 Fingers of Death!, a martial arts movie, for which Lew wrote the story, which he directed, and for which he served as executive producer, post production supervisor and stunt coordinator. In addition he played the lead role of Buford Lee. Fellow Star Trek performer Brad Greenquist and video game voice actor Murray Rubinstein also appeared in this film. In 2008, Lew was among the stunt cast which received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture for the action feature Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Among the nomminees are fellow Star Trek stunt performer Joey Anaya, Tony Angelotti, Noby Arden, Dan Barringer, Richard L. Blackwell, Keith Campbell, Jay Caputo, Alex Chansky, Fernando Chien, Shawn Crowder, Phil Culotta, Mark De Alessandro, John Dixon, J. Mark Donaldson, Jayson Dumenigo, Thomas DuPont, Paul Eliopoulos, Jeremy Fry, Mickey Giacomazzi, Erica Grace, Charles Grisham, Al Goto, Lisa Hoyle, Yoshio Iizuka, Keii Johnston, Theo Kypri, Christopher Leps, Kurt D. Lott, Rob Mars, Angela Meryl, Tom Morga, Marty Murray, Hugh Aodh O'Brien, Lin Oeding, Jim Palmer, Denney Pierce, J.P. Romano, Bill M. Ryusaki, Gregg Sargeant, Lincoln Simonds, Gary Ray Stearns, Trampas Thompson, Xuyen Valdivia, Webster Whinery, Webster Whinery, Jr., Brian J. Williams, and Jeff Wolfe.
More recently, Lew served as fight coordinator for the action comedy Get Smart (2008), as stunt coordinator for the thriller Dark World (2008, with Jeff Rector, Chris Torres, and Justin Rodgers Hall), and appeared in the adventure film The Carbon Copy (2008, starring Jonathan Breck), the action film Taken By Force (2008, with Branscombe Richmond), the thriller The Girl From the Naked Eye (2009, with stunts by Fernando Chien, Panuvat Anthony Nanakornpanom, and Jade Quon), and the action drama Streets of Blood (2009).