Joey Ansah interview

Bourne Ultimatum actor Joey Ansah burst onto the public consciousness with one of the most exciting fights sequences in screen history. The passionate devotee of martial arts talks to HELLO! about Tinseltown life, being strangled by Matt Damon and his plans for the future

Obviously Bourne Ultimatum represented a significant moment in your career. What else can people expect to see you in?

"I am in consideration for a British film about internal affairs and bent coppers in the Met called The Finest, and talking to the producer of Bourne about developing a project with me in a starring role."

Doing the movie and then promoting it alongside Matt Damon must have exposed you to a lot of new experiences. What was it like being feted in Hollywood?

"I certainly got treated nicely. They fly you out first class and put you in a five-star hotel. A limo picks you from your door. And, of course, it's good fun doing all the red-carpet interviews and photos."

How much time for romance is there in your life?

"Well I've been more or less single for over a year. I'm just waiting for the right person to sweep me off my feet!"

Would you ever move to the US?

"The ideal would be to have the freedom to move between London and LA. I really like LA. The ambiance, the feng shui of the place either works for you or it doesn't. And I think I would fit in very well there."

So what was it like working with Matt?

"He's one of the most affable, everyday cool guys you’re likely to meet. After talking to him for five minutes you feel like you've known him for months."

He said he had to beg you to stop kicking him around...

"Being an avid martial artist for most of my life, when I was given this opportunity to lay down an awesome movie fight I wanted to make it something that would go down in history. So I was willing to push him harder than he had been before.

"But Matt's very modest. He was actually really up for it. He got stuck in and gave a fantastic performance."

Did you really do your own stunts in the film?

"I wasn't doubled for a single frame in that film. Every single hit, blow and punch was me. It had to be as realistic as possible. When Matt was strangling me I told him: 'Strangle me for real; if I feel I'm going to black out I'll tap your leg'. I didn't want to short-change the audience."

You're renowned for your fitness levels, though...

"I spent part of my childhood in Ghana, where my dad's from, and there I studied tae kwon do - a Korean discipline based on kicking and ninjitsu - the art of the Ninja. That was like a dream come true."

Have you ever broken anything?

"My ribs, I've dislocated both shoulders and smashed my two front teeth. I've also broken my kneecaps and my leg."

When Bourne came out there were reports you were having housing problems. Have you got somewhere to live now?

"Yes I have. The day before the world premiere of Bourne I was told there'd been some mix-up with my rental contract and I was being evicted. But I'm living in West London now. I just managed to avoid the cardboard box!"

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