Tag Archives: Aaron Ly

Exclusive preview of tonight’s RIPPER STREET with Aaron Ly

Season 2 – Episode 1: Pure as the Driven
Feb 22 – 9:00PM – EST – BBC AMERICA
FEB 23 – 12:00AM – EST – BBC AMERICA

Writer/historian Damian Michael Barcroft talks exclusively with the actor/fight performer and choreographer, Aaron Ly who stars in tonight’s episode of RIPPER STREET…

AA_ripperstreet_390x220_s2_ad_01Damian: Thank you very much for speaking with me Aaron. It’s a real privilege and I’m going to be very careful about what questions to ask because I’ve seen you in the first episode and you’re a bit scary – do you promise not to beat me up?

Aaron: Now that depends on what you ask, only kidding.  It is a pleasure to speak with you too.

D: Aaron, you’ve already accumulated quite an impressive list of screen credits: Skyfall, World War Z and The Fast & Furious 6 to name but a few and you haven’t even been in the business that long have you?

A: No not long.  Many of my credits have come from my ability as a fight performer.  There are also not that many oriental actors who have trained in both acting and martial arts.

D: You were raised in a family of martial artists, what particular fighting styles do you practice?

A: I originally trained in traditional kung fu, and more westernised arts like boxing and kick boxing. But these days I practice no specific fighting style, when I train I practice non telegraphed striking from a relaxed state and interception using a wooden dummy.

D: Which martial artists have you found most inspiring, I believe there was a particularly significant encounter when you were seventeen?

A: I find inspiration from all styles of martial arts but I think it is up to the unique individual to find what is useful to them and make it theirs.  Yes, in my teens I met an old Wing Chun teacher, he opened my eyes to a more scientific approach to martial arts.  He taught me the forms but more importantly, he taught me how to forget the forms and make my movements instinctive.

D: Can you tell me about the influence Bruce Lee had on you as a child?

A: To the surprise of many, as a child, not much. It was only as a young adult did he really influence me after reading his literature.  His training and philosophy on life really affected me. His books took me years to read because every time I came across an idea I applied it to my own training before I read any more.

D: I understand that you are very passionate about Hong Kong cinema – I was wondering which particular films and actors you admire?

A: There are so many, where do I start!  I’m a great fan of early films of Chow Yun Fat, Leslie Cheung and Andy Lau.  In terms of action films; Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Donnie Yen are my heroes.

D: On the subject of fighting, do you sometimes sit in a restaurant or bar and look round and think, “Yeah, I could take anyone of these guys”?

A: No, not like that.  But I have a habit of visualizing people attacking me when I walk past them in the street.  So it’s more like, “What if this guy strikes me at this distance, can I intercept?”

D: It must be cool though to know you could take care of yourself should you ever run into trouble?

A: Martial Arts is more of a way of life now, sounds cheesy I know.  But there is an art in training, for striking or defending, and it is expressing this art which inspires me to train. So I never think of it like that.

D: Seriously though, there are many angry kids out there who have channelled their frustrations into things like martial arts and have found a real sense of peace and self worth. Have you found this to be the case in your experience?

A: To a certain extent, yes.  When times are tough I always turn to my training, because your training will never betray you; whatever amount you put in, you get back in results.

D: Is it true that you were quite shy as a child yourself?

A: Yes, I was quite the introvert and didn’t have many friends.  Spent most my time with martial arts and watching movies.

D: I believe your parents wanted you to get a regular job as oppose to pursuing a career in film and television?

A: Yes, I guess most Chinese parents of my generation were like that.  They wanted me to be a doctor or accountant.

D: In 2010 you decided to pursue your dream of becoming an actor – what prompted such a drastic life change?

A: I always had a dream of becoming an actor, but that was almost shunned upon in my community. In 2010 I was at that point in my life where I needed to decide what I ultimately wanted in life; if I was to give up everything to pursue this dream or forever forget about it.

Aaron Ly as Wong King-Fai and Kunjue Li in tonight's 'Ripper Street'

Aaron Ly as Wong King-Fai and Kunjue Li in tonight’s ‘Ripper Street’

D: How did you come to be cast in Ripper Street?

A:  I went to the audition and talked a lot about the character; where he came from, how he moved, what martial arts he learnt, his glory, his passions, his family, everything.  Then, without being asked to, I got up and did a couple of moves in the auditioning room which was tiny, explaining how he should be fast with vigour but at the same time not flashy.  I left the audition thinking maybe I was a bit too over-enthusiastic, soon later I was offered the part.

D: Without giving away too much of the plot, what can you tell us about your character Wong King-Fai in tonight’s episode?

A: Mmm…  he’s on a mission and he’ll let no one stand in his way.

D: There is some pretty amazing and intense fighting in the opening episode – did you help to choreograph this?

A: Yes, along with an amazing stunt team.  I did a lot of research on martial arts styles from Southern China during that time period, but a lot of the techniques were not used to keep the character more direct and gritty.

D: There’s a couple of fight scenes with Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake played by Jerome Flynn, well he’s getting on a bit now bless him, did you have to slow things down for him?

A: HAHA..  Jerome is great to work with and pretty swift with his billy club.

D: What can we look forward to seeing you in next?

A: I’m in talks about a British made martial arts movie at the moment, but it’s still early days.  I really think we can do more for this genre and see more martial arts action on TV.

D: Aaron, you are brilliant in Ripper Street and it’s been great to talk to you – I wish you every success and happiness in the future.

A: It’s been a pleasure, Damian.  Thank you for having me.


I’m very pleased to report that I survived the interview without a scratch. For more information about Aaron and his inspiring career, please visit his official website: www.aaronlyofficial.com

Also, please check out Aaron’s short film Handuken which was shortlisted in the Virgin Media shorts competition:


Scenes from 'Handuken'

Scenes from ‘Handuken’

Season 2 – Episode 1: Pure as the Driven
Feb 22 – 9:00PM – EST – BBC AMERICA
FEB 23 – 12:00AM – EST – BBC AMERICA
~ Damian Michael Barcroft ~
On twitter? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Whitechapel. I’ll be your illicit guide through the dark and bloody RIPPER STREET…
Follow @RipperStreet and @MrDMBarcroft for more exclusive interviews and news!

Exclusive interviews with the cast/crew of RIPPER STREET

“Ladies and gentlemen, in the absence of the lecturer with your indulgence I would like to introduce Mr. Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man. Before doing so I ask you please to prepare yourselves – brace yourselves up to witness one who is probably the most remarkable human being ever to draw the breath of life.
Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you please not to despise or condemn this man on account of his unusual appearance. Remember we do not make ourselves, and were you to cut or prick Joseph he would bleed, and that bleed or blood would be red, the same as yours or mine.”
– Tom Norman, Showman and manager of Joseph Merrick

Damian Michael Barcroft presents…


Joseph Drake

I am very proud to announce that acclaimed stage actor and rising TV star Joseph Drake will be the first in a new series of my exclusive interviews to be published in The Whitechapel Society Journal.

Joseph Drake plays Mr. Joseph Carey Merrick – better known to the world as the Elephant Man in the first two episodes of the eagerly awaited return of Ripper Street this Monday night at nine on BBC One.

Fans of the show will also be able to read extracts from more exclusive new interviews plus the chance to read previous articles in full on Monday nights following the broadcast of each and every episode of the second series of Ripper Street.

Additional exclusive Ripper Street cast and crew interviews in the forthcoming issues of The Whitechapel Society will include some of the finest artists working in the British film and television industry…

Jassa Ahluwalia ~ Vincent Featherwell

Jonathan Barnwell ~ PC Dick Hobbs

Leanne Best ~ Jane Cobden

Ed Bruce ~ Visual Effects Supervisor

MyAnna Buring ~ Long Susan

Jamie Crichton ~ Screenwriter

Toby Finlay ~ Screenwriter

Steven Hall ~ Director of Photography

Kunjue Li ~ Blush Pang

Aaron Ly ~ Wong King-Fai

Waldo Mason ~ Prosthetic Make-up Effects

Colm McCarthy ~ Director

Charlene McKenna ~ Rose

Lorna Marie Mugan ~ Costume Designer

Gillian Saker ~ Bella

Dominik Scherrer ~ Composer


Creator/lead writer of RIPPER STREET – Richard Warlow

Plus more to be confirmed!


Absolutely none of these interviews and articles would be possible without the generous help and support of the amazing cast and crew of Ripper Street. I am particularly indebted to Toby Finlay, Richard Warlow and Iain Mccallum at Tiger Aspect Productions. Thank you all so very much indeed! D x


The Whitechapel Society (WS1888) publish London’s premier journal for the study of Jack the Ripper and Victorian/Edwardian social history and culture. WS1888 have also written two books on the Whitechapel Murders, Jack the Ripper: The Suspects and Jack the Ripper: The Terrible Legacy. Please see the link below for more information including membership, subscription and back issues.