Elliot Scott was a Canadian martial artist you probably wouldn’t have heard of had two documentary filmmakers not started making a movie about him. Scott had completed two homemade films, They Killed My Cat and The Stalker and the Hero, which he sold to people at malls. Jaret Belliveau and Matthew Bauckman started filming him as he tried to make his third film, Blood Fight.
We’re going to talk about Elliot’s present and future, which could be considered a SPOILER for the movie. But nothing can prepare you for how weird Kung Fu Elliot is and once you see it you’ll want to know more. Elliot lived with his girlfriend Linda, who grew tired of Elliot spending money and time on these movies when she wanted him to marry her. As of now, Elliot no longer lives in Canada or even North America. Belliveau and Bauckman filled me in in a phone call this week. You can see Kung Fu Elliot in select theaters Friday, February 20 and more theaters on Feb. 27 and VOD on Feb. 24.
Nuke the Fridge: I saw Kung Elliot at Fantastic Fest last year. Has Elliot resurfaced since then?
Jaret Belliveau: Well, he’s still in Inner Mongolia. He did email us recently asking us if we could bring him to America to come to some of the openings of the film. We haven’t been able to hear back from him since, so we were thinking about it and then he just dropped off the map again. So we’re just waiting for the next e-mail.
Nuke: At what point when you were following Elliot did you become aware that he might not be who he says he is?
Jaret Belliveau: I guess at the start, Matt and I had an inkling that maybe he wasn’t telling us the entire truth. I would say when we first heard about the Asian Martial Arts Film Festival that he won in Vancouver, we checked to see if the film festival existed, which it didn’t. There were hints that things weren’t exactly what he was saying, but to us he was really interesting as an underdog still trying to make a movie. He had such an interesting cast around him that we were kind of giving him the benefit of the doubt with some things. And we were also thinking, what’s the real harm if he made up a film festival to try to sell his movies? When the stalker appeared in the movie, and that’s probably a year and a bit in is when we started getting concerned that some of these things that he was saying were hurtful to others.
Nuke: Besides the moment everyone will remember from the film, were there any other volatile moments with Elliot?
Matthew Bauckman: Elliot didn’t ever seem like a violent person, so there was never really any clue that Elliot would actually react the way he did once he was confronted. It was hard to tell what Elliot was going to do because obviously he had made up these stories. Truth isn’t his first go to, so it was always hard to tell where Elliot was going with certain things.
Jaret Belliveau: He had never been violent before. Obviously his movies are all about violence and things like that, but in his real life he was a really chill kind of guy that never really showed any signs of aggression. So that just came out of the blue when that happened.
Nuke: When that happened, was that clearly the end of the film?
Jaret Belliveau: Well, we felt like it was the end. We lost all connection and contact with Linda at that point, and Elliot. So for us it was the end of filming him and her. We didn’t know where to go from there. There was just no real way to get in contact with him anymore. The police were involved and it got really messy, so we were forced to stop shooting.
Nuke: Do you have access to the entire films and however much of Blood Fight he completed to put on the DVD of Kung Fu Elliot?
Matthew Bauckman: We have a cut of Blood Fight that I don’t think is a finished version, Elliot showed us. We actually shot kind of our own version of Blood Fight. While we were filming our movie, we were shooting all these takes Elliot was doing, so we almost had our own version of Blood Fight.
Jaret Belliveau: We have a couple scenes but his Blood Fight was finished right before he went to Inner Mongolia. There’s probably three or four copies in existence. Blake Zwicker who’s in the movie has a copy. But we would have to figure out the deal to put Blood Fight on the Blu-ray, which we’d love to. Again, it’s just trying to talk to Linda about it and she’s still pretty hurt from everything and also spent lots and lots of money to make these movies, They Killed My Cat and The Stalker and the Hero. So she’s probably going to look for some sort of financial deal that we probably won’t be able to provide for her at the moment to be able to include the movie.
And just to let you know, from what we’ve seen of Blood Fight, it is unbearable in places. It would be an interesting thing to release because I think there’s a half an hour of him just walking around China, just walking.
Nuke: How unbearable are the first two movies?
Jaret Belliveau: They seem to have gotten a little worse. They Killed My Cat seems like the best one. Stalker and the Hero is pretty awesome as well and has a lot of charm, but from what we can see and have seen of Blood Fight, it seems like it almost got a little worse, as much as we hoped that it would get better.
Matthew Bauckman: It seems like it had a lot of problems.
Jaret Belliveau: The thing with Blood Fight itself, Elliot had a lot of people that were working with him and had big momentum behind the movie in the start. Then slowly as people worked with Elliot longer, they all kind of left except the key, core group of people like Blake, Blair and Linda. They all stuck around to the end, and another guy who doesn’t really appear [in Kung Fu Elliot]. The majority of the cast has all given up on Elliot well before the movie had come to a wrap.
Nuke: What outrageous Elliot moments didn’t make it into the film?
Matthew Bauckman: There’s a lot of explicit things that didn’t make it in there.
Jaret Belliveau: Elliot in China really opened up to us and at points had conversations about his and Linda’s sex life and the kinky nature of what they get up to, those kinds of things that we just didn’t think was our business to be sharing with the world. That kind of stuff as well as some of his other bigger lies that just couldn’t make it in. Elliot at first explained to us that there was the Japanese Film Society that was paying for his movies to be shot, who were giving him a budget. The thing was that he could only pay Asian actors, so a lot of the problems on his set were the fact that anybody who wasn’t Asian wasn’t getting paid. He was saying it was all because of this funding agency, so there’s this huge story that went through the whole movie that we had to cut about these funding agencies. He would say he couldn’t do a certain scene because the Japanese Film Society won’t let him, or the Asian Film Association. There’s two different ones that appeared over the course of the shooting that were funding bodies. That had to be cut.
Matthew Bauckman: Some of the cuts were just they had taken place at certain points in the plotline where we didn’t want to reveal certain things about Elliot. Like when Elliot talks about when he was a child and the tree fell on him. The extended version of that is him talking about essentially that he almost got superpowers. He was talking about when he was a kid, after the tree fell on him, he could jump off buildings and land on his butt on ice and he’d be fine. Another kid tried it and went to the hospital. Essentially he was crafting it as a superhero origin story. We just didn’t feel it was a good place to put it.
Jaret Belliveau: Some stuff we’d have to hold back on depending where we were. One crazy thing that we’re going to be releasing as an extended feature is actually a moment with Blake where Blake talks about meeting an apparition in his building. He’s convinced Satanists brought this evil spirit into his building, they conjured the devil’s daughter. He describes the woman that he saw with a serpent’s head on a staff and a big dark robe.
Matthew Bauckman: Who chases him through his building.
Jaret Belliveau: Also he started naming her and he had several different names. The one that really sticks is the Banshee Bitch. That was a pretty hard thing to cut out of the movie because it’s actually unbelievable. It’s very bizarre and very funny, and most definitely a little spooky.
Nuke: Why do you think Elliot lied rather than ask people to help him make a movie?
Matthew Bauckman: There’s lots of guesses that we had over the course of editing and just thinking about it and watching Elliot. It really is anyone’s guess. It could be rooted in the fact that after he had an accident as a kid, he had to wear a helmet for a year and he was ridiculed a lot. We found out he was bullied a lot throughout school so maybe he felt like he had to lie to make himself larger than life to boost his own ego, his own self-image.
Jaret Belliveau: We did find out that Elliot had other lives, like other make-believe fantasy lives that he would tell people about since high school. So it seems like it was a recurring patten in Elliot’s life that we found out about a lot later after starting to shoot. Elliot would tell people in high school that he was in a famous rock band, and he actually had groupies that would follow him around when he would walk around town with his guitar. It just seems like this is the fantasy that became the most real for him, and largely because of Linda. The main thing we found out from making the movie and as we were editing, Linda was the key to the story. With no Linda, we wouldn’t have made a feature film about Elliot. So her support and her understanding for him really brings him to a different place that he would’ve never gotten to without her. He would just be telling stories, but with Linda’s help, he was able to make some of these things a reality.
Matthew Bauckman: And who knows what kind of life he’s living right now in China, what kind of characters he’s created for himself? I think this one will maybe last the longest because obviously now he’s gone the farthest. We also talk and joke and wonder, we’re obviously making him a lot more famous than his movies would ever have made him. So in a way we’re helping Elliot.
Jaret Belliveau: I think that one of the main things for us, as we grew to understand that Elliot might not be telling us the exact truth, or maybe anything truthful, as documentarians, it really interested us to have a very untrustworthy narrator. I think most documentarians and documentaries look for a truth, or to try to get down to something. We also thought it was pretty interesting to make a documentary where for one thing, it’s truthful as in all these things happened. But there are so many questions that make people feel like it’s a mockumentary. That’s a lot to do with the character we chose to follow because he’s untrustworthy. As it came down to unraveling, there was an interest there just for the kind of statement we were making with the movie and what we were trying to do with the film.
Matthew Bauckman: More or less, the whole film is somewhat of a lie. It’s made up in Elliot’s head, a lot of it. But it’s truthful. Everything did happen. We didn’t manipulate anything. We didn’t start the fighting. We didn’t make things happen. We were following a group of people and all these wild things happened. In one way, it is not true as in everything Elliot tells you in the movie is not truthful except that a tree did fall on him and he did go into a coma for a short amount of time. That is the only thing we can say is 100% true in the movie, besides what we witnessed through the filming of it. The re-enactment, we re-enacted Elliot’s story the way he said it happened. It turns out that that didn’t happen the way Elliot said. So in a sense we’re playing off that by re-enacting a lot. There’s a lot of layers that we’re playing with in the film. Even the film starts with the first line in the film, that the first filmmakers were magicians and they were looking how to trick an audience. So we really did try to bring that through in the movie in subtle ways. It’s been interesting to see people really react strongly to believing it’s not true and being convinced it’s a fake, which I can assure you all of it happened and was all real to us.