Rising Star David Cheung On What It Takes To Shine In The Entertainment Industry

An Interview With Edward Sylvan


You will work harder than you expect to: stunt acting work is physically and mentally challenging. I always knew it would be hard work but add in long hours on set and frequent travelling — it’s full on, it’s lucky I love what I do.

As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing David Cheung.

David Cheung is a stunt actor starring in the Andor Star Wars series, airing on Disney+. His talent has landed him roles acting alongside Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany and Taylor Lautner, with film credits including Batgirl, Gangs Of London 2, Tom Hardy’s Havoc, Michael Bay’s 6 Underground & Final Fantasy XV. David is a member of the elite British Stunt Register.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born and bred in London. My parents are from Hong Kong and China and migrated to the UK for a better life. My Chinese Grandfather was a martial arts teacher who taught me kung fu skills from a young age.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I secretly always wanted to be like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, but my parents expected me to go to university and be a doctor, banker or lawyer. Eventually, I went to uni to make my parents proud — but I spent all my spare time looked for more action-packed and physically challenging opportunities. Then I got a part in the Keanu Reeves film 47 Ronin. I was still at university at the time.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I was on set with Robert Downey junior (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of shadows) and was practicing some close-quarter martial arts with another stunt friend. In between takes, Robert spotted us and came over to me, he said he also practiced the same martial arts style as me, a style called Wing Chun. You see this style used a lot in his Marvel movies and the Sherlock Holmes films. It was one of my first films, and I was super star-struck talking about martial arts and Wing Chun with him, as that was one of the style that was taught to me by my grandad before he passed away.

It has been said that mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I think that in life we are always learning, mistakes teach us things. I made some mistakes in my early days of martial arts and sustained some minor injuries — it taught me to focus more!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I star in the brand new Andor Star Wars series, currently airing on Disney Plus. The Andor series is a prequel to the Star Wars spin-off film Rogue One. I play West 2, a member of the Pre-Mor Enforcement or corporate tactical force (West Team), who is sent on a mission to

Ferrix in Tac pods to track down Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).

You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Keep your eye on the ball, stay focussed, everyday is a day to improve yourself either physically or mentally or financially to help fund your career. Talk to your successful friends and ask questions. Make a plan and stick to it. Stay positive because if you don’t believe in yourself, then others won’t believe in you.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

The industry has changed; it’s encouraging that more movies and TV shows are giving ethnic minorities better parts rather than favouring stereotypical roles. Films nowadays offer better opportunities for a diverse cast to make it onto the screen; I hope it continues to move in such a positive direction. Seeing a Chinese Marvel character, ‘Shangchi’ — played by an East Asian actor Simiu Liu was amazing. It’s given actors like myself the inspiration to keep on performing and never give up on our dreams.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

You will work harder than you expect to: stunt acting work is physically and mentally challenging. I always knew it would be hard work but add in long hours on set and frequent travelling — it’s full on, it's lucky I love what I do.

Self-care is important: Rest and recovery has to happen, otherwise, you won’t be physically and mentally healthy enough to continue. I make sure I don’t burn out by making time to take rest, go on holiday, etc.

Stay Motivated — you have to love what you do and keep that motivation and fire in your belly! Since I saw Bruce Lee & Jackie Chan on TV as a kid this is all I have wanted to do. Sometimes I think back to that, and I realise how far I’ve come…and how much more I have to do.

Learn to say NO. It’s OK to say No sometimes. With acting work, the temptation is to say Yes to everything.

Learn to relax — I’m not saying be a couch potato 😉 but downtime is important.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take time out and go on holiday, spend time relaxing and eating healthy and get enough sleep. It's okay to say no to work. A day off is also a day to recharge and come back stronger and better and more focused.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Inspire the new generation to stay away from social media but instead work on being a better version of themselves everyday. Martial arts was my life growing up and it taught discipline and respect which is important.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My Grandfather, who first taught me taught me Wing Chun martial arts.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Positive thinking is very important. If you believe you can’t do it, you already lost.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

Keanu Reeves was the first actor I met on set when we filmed 47 Ronin and I watched him in the Matrix as a kid. He’s so humble and awesome when I worked with him and would be amazing to have lunch with him.

How can our readers follow you online?

Follow me on Instagram @davidcheungofficial


This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!



Edward Sylvan CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group
Authority Magazine

Edward Sylvan is the Founder and CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc. He is committed to telling stories that speak to equity, diversity, and inclusion.