I went to theater school in Canada and at the Royal Academy in England. I not only studied stage combat and fencing, but was a competitive fencer. Later at Stratford, I apprenticed to the famous fight master Paddy Crean for four years. I began to travel to Europe and England in 1980, to study with the English fight directors such as Bill Hobbs and to do studies of arms and armour and period texts in museums and castles. I’ve spent almost 20 years doing research into my art and took advantage of the four years of Highlander’s Paris sojourn to pillage the Sorbonne, LEs Invidides, etc…even in Romania I was sniffing our steel. I’ve also studied in Germany, Austria, Bavaria, Italy, and of course, the US in may fine museums; don’t neglect them.
I’ve also had occasion to act as a consultant for film and TV on the subject of arms and armour, military uniforms, medals, heraldry, and related subjects. I even acted as the cast drill instructor when I did the lead in Sergeant Musgrave’s Dance. I have had a reasonably extensive military background, having been an NCO in combat infantry, the airborne and Long Range Patrols and an Officer in armoured recon and military intelligence.
Eastern Martial Arts was also a large part of Highlander, and I have choreographed a fair bit for unarmed combat. Over the years I’ve studied Tae Kwon Do, Hwa Rang Do, Judo, Jujitsu, Shotokan, Gojo Ryu, Hung Gar and Choy Li Fut kung fu, Balintawak Arnis, Aikido, Iaido, and others..
A while back, I wrote a semi – regular column for a Vancouver newspaper – social and political humour and satire, which ran under the byline Gonzo. I’ve written for several national papers, plus several magazines, including Blade, Military History, American Dramatics, Canadian Stage, and National Lampoon. Apart from my contribution to An Evening at Joe’s (where I stand with pretty hefty competition, writing – wise – some of the stuff is really top-drawer).
I recently finished a book which is seeking publication “The Right Wing Lexicon- Words and Phrases as Understood by the Right Wing with Real-World Translations”.
My book on stage and film combat and historical weapons is out and can be bought via Amazon here, and I am developing a full-sized novel based on the historical Dracula. (This is a non-Highlander work, but like Death Shall Have No Dominion, my Highlander novella, it takes real history and apocrypha and fills in the grey areas.)
I also have a DVD available – “The Actors Blade” which highlights the fine points of stage combat.
The Sir Tyrone Guthrie Award
The Stratford Theater Award
The Theatre Ontario Award
The Ontario Arts Council Award
Canada Council for the Arts Research Grant
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal (1977)
A member of the Canadian Actor’s Equity, the Union of B.C. Performers, ACTRA, the Society of Canadian Fight Directors (which I co-founded in 1981) and am a Maitre En Faite D’Armes
Braun’s Credits Include:
Film and Television:
Highlander (four roles)
Highlander IV: Endgame
Call of the Wild
The New Twilight Zone
The Black Stallion
V. H. Adderly
The Right of the People
Gorrillas in the Mist
The Return of Perry Mason
War of the Worlds
Barbie and the Three Musketeers – animated feature – RainMaker Studios
Stage productions, including 53 Shakespeares. Obviously several of Big Bill the Bard’s productions are repeats, as the following selection will make clear:
Richard III (3 productions)
Romeo and Juliet (13 productions, including Gounod opera)
Titus Andronicus (2 productions)
Henry IV(parts I and II)
Henry VI (parts I, II and III)
All’s Well that Ends Well
Much Ado About Nothing
A Midsummernight’s dream
Love’s Labour Lost
The Winter’s Tale
The Merchant of Venice, etc, etc,
Juno and the Paycock
The Ruling Class
The Three Musketeers
A view from the Bridge
My Sister Eileen
You Know I Can’t Hear you when the Water’s Running
The Incredible Murder of Cardinal Tosca
Le Medcin Malgre Lui
A Man for All Seasons
Under Milk Wood
The Importance of Being Earnest
Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Cue for Treason….
I’ve staged almost 80 episodes of Highlander (What a surprise! duh…) plus the upcoming movie Endgame. I’ve also choreographed about 100 other productions, stage, film and TV.
The Three Musketeers
The Prisoner of Zenda
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dreaming and Duelling
Beau Strategem – Red Dot Theatre
I was a member of the acting company at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival for four years, and began my professional career as a fight director there in my last season. I also spent two seasons at the Shaw Festival. I also choreographed films and TV Shows prior to Highlander, I hadn’t worked a lot in front of the cameras as a choreographer for the simple reason that there wasn’t much work in the genre. Highlander was very much a seminal series in that regard. I’ve also taught fight technique (and improv, script analysis, and Shakespearean text) in over 30 theater Schools. I’ve also choreographed for the Canadian Opera Company, Andrea Chenier, Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk
and others; an entirely different realm of fight direction and very challenging.
He’s also worked in politics.
My favorite colour is plaid….