Despite all the crap dumped on The Phantom Menace, people seem to universally agree that Ray Park as Darth Maul was one of the best parts of the film. It’s probably why he was given a hero’s welcome at Toronto ComiCon Friday night as he was ushered in to “The Imperial March” with an entourage from the charity cosplayers of the 501st Legion (and one little girl in a Wonder Woman costume).
The topic of conversation immediate turned to hair. According to Park, he was unsure about shaving his head to play Maul, but he was also unsure about going bleach blonde for Mortal Kombat, which he filmed before Phantom Menace. “And then I loved having my hair bleached blonde, and I kind of embraced it for a while,” he said. “But when we did the make-up test with the bald cap on it was so uncomfortable, and I was like, ‘Shave my head, shave it!’ and then I embraced the baldness.”
But being bald had certain complications. “In England, if you have a shaved head, you’re considered a certain type of person,” Park explained. He recalled a time during rehearsals for Star Wars when he went to the pub with friends. “They wouldn’t let me in, and I said, ‘It’s because my head’s shave, isn’t it?’ You never want to go ‘Do you know who I am?’ But I said I was playing the bad guy in the new Star Wars movie and they were like, ‘Yeah, right.’”
Park also talked about another franchise he was involved in, G.I. Joe, which, as it turned out, did not catch him at his most graceful; he injured himself the very first time he played Snake Eyes on screen. “It’s a scary thing, you can still get hurt with blank ammunition, and I was that guy,” Park recalled. “They tell you stories of guys that shoot themselves in the leg with blanks and guess who’s the guy that does it.”
“I felt so silly,” he added “If you could have seen my face under the mask it was very red, but it never happened again.”