It comes as no surprise that the country’s first world kickboxing champion and sporting hero has been cast in a Hollywood film. Soon after he retired from professional kickboxing, in 2009, ABC’s PNG correspondent Liam Fox did an interview with him.
LIAM FOX: It’s a balmy afternoon at the army barracks in Port Moresby and Stanley Nandex is talking his elite fighters through their paces.
STANLEY NANDEX: These kids are off the streets and I’m also trying to give them some kind of opportunity, you know, keep them busy and learn something positive for themselves and for their futures.
LIAM FOX: As a child in a remote village in the country’s highlands, Nandex was inspired by movie stars like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme. At age 13 he took up martial arts when many of his friends were turning to crime. After studying several fighting styles he turned to kickboxing, found his niche and became known as “The Headhunter”. In a professional career spanning 48 fights, there were 41 victories – 30 of them by knockout – and seven world titles.
STANLEY NANDEX: I have also won four times knockout of the year awards, hall of fame and I think also I was awarded by the Queen as MBE and then I won in PNG two times sportsman of the year. And yeah I’ve achieved a fair bit.
LIAM FOX: Nandex is the country’s first world champion and his last fight in Port Moresby earlier this year prompted a national outpouring of thanks. Instead of resting on his laurels he’s using his profile to continue to inspire young Papua New Guineans. He’s training what he hopes will be the next generation of world champion kickboxers. He’s also become a motivational speaker and recently addressed young inmates at the Bomana prison outside Port Moresby.
STANLEY NANDEX: I think you know we as leaders and whatever roles that we play in society, I think we’ve got an obligation to you know see them and be part of them and we can’t reject them because they are in a prison camp, I think. It’s about building something confident and bringing back to the society and community so that they can able to do something. So what I like to involve is also to help a lot of kids to be positive; that’s all I want. And also they can see themselves the potential they have and, you know if we can be as role model as leaders to inspire them, to direct them to right part I reckon they can achieve a lot of things in life. So that’s what I want to contribute in this country.
LIAM FOX: In the fickle world of PNG politics Nandex’s profile would almost certainly guarantee him a career as a Member of Parliament. There are many who’d like to see him deliver a few swift kicks to the country’s politicians. But while there have been offers, The Headhunter has his sights set on Hollywood.
STANLEY NANDEX: In my sporting career I’ve met a lot of people like Van Damme himself as well as well as Don Wilson and after my retirement I did actually ask them if there’s anything that I can do in terms of you know movies and all that. And they said yep, we’ll definitely put you in some of our filming within Papua New Guinea. So at this stage we are actually doing up a script and planning for a story to work on it. So yeah it’s all happening.
LIAM FOX: To be filmed in Papua New Guinea?
STANLEY NANDEX: Yes, most of the film will be here and also in LA. Like I said, I actually said to most of my members and myself, I said well, sky’s the limit and I said Hollywood is not in heaven, it’s on planet Earth, so let’s get up there. There’s a lot of opportunity we can do.
LIAM FOX: Watch out Hollywood, The Headhunter cometh.
- Stanley ‘The Headhunter’ Nandex Cast in Hollywood Film (pngwarrior.wordpress.com)
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