Small Screen: Fight enthusiast goes globe-trotting for Netflix

NEW YORK — Most travellers to new places usually aren’t looking for a fight. Frank Grillo definitely is.

Fightworld, a new Netflix docu-series, follows Grillo, an actor and self-described “fight enthusiast,” as he goes globe-trotting to explore fighting styles and the cultures behind them.

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“I immerse myself in certain fight cultures” said Grillo. “And through the eyes of the fighters, we explore the culture of that place in a very different way. It’s very similar to what Anthony Bourdain did, but instead of food, it was fighters.”

Grillo travels to places such as Mexico, Thailand and Senegal, locations chosen based on his familiarity with those countries’ various fighting disciplines, such as Muay Thai, wrestling and boxing. “I know these things well, so I could go there and immediately embed myself,” he said.

Grillo also visited Israel, where citizens are required to join the army since the country is surrounded by hostile nations. He asked the mayor of Jerusalem to define Israelis in one word.

“He said ‘fight’ because that’s in their DNA, that’s in their blood.”

Grillo has had film roles in Zero Dark Thirty and End of Watch and plays Brock Rumlow in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. He hears lots of rumours about the next Captain America, even that the iconic character may not look like previous versions of the superhero.

“I don’t know what will happen with Captain America. But wouldn’t it be great if Captain America was African-American?” Grillo remarked. “Or a woman?” Then he said: “Or an African-American woman?”

He also saids that instead of asking people of colour to portray traditional superheros, it might be better to create new, diverse characters.

“Superman was a white guy with black hair and who has a curl, right? So that’s kind of the iconic look of Superman. Could Superman be Anthony Mackie? Yeah, sure. But I’d rather see Anthony Mackie do something else,” said Grillo. “Where are the new characters who represent certain people?”

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