Syndicate Shoutout: MANEL SOLER

Out with a new reel this week is actor, martial arts performer and stuntman, 32 year old Manel Soler from Barcelona, Spain. A first-dan back belt in Hapkido and TaeKwonDo with a specialty in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts, Soler has been an aspiring martial artist since the age of 11.

For ten years of his life, Soler's training eventually led him in the company of some very imporatant people, working various types of  jobs protecting people, from bouncer to personal bodyguard, until one day he decided it was no longer for him. Eventually, he sold his car and flew to Thailand to pursue a career in competitive fighting, where his career would have remained lucrative until a near-deadly incident with a greedy, machete-wielding cab driver nearly took his life in 2009. And although Soler prevailed, his injuries cost him his fighting career.

As time passed with recovery, Soler had the good fortune of bumping into Jaika Stunts founder, veteran stunt performer and stunt coordinator Kaecha Kampakdee, whose most notable stunt and choreography credits include Daniel Bernhardt's acting debut - Bloodsport 2, the Pou Soi-Chaeng-directed live action manga adaptation - Shamo, Tony Jaa's sequelized epic thriller, Ong Bak 2 and Bollywood actor Allu Arjun's latest, Iddaramayilatho. And upon his crossing of paths with Kampakdee, the rest would soon fall into place, with Soler working on a number of films doing stuntwork and other small roles, including Iddaramayilatho and the comedic Hollywood hit, The Hangover 2, to name a few.

Soler's next appearance will be his first-ever lead role in the upcoming short film, Portrait Of An Angry Man, shot by cinematographer Kimbo Kim and Italian writer/director Joe Petrosino. Filmed about a year ago, Soler strongly considers Portrait Of An Angry Man, a "lovely experience" that fully embedded him as an actor. "Without a doubt, I can say that this is the project that made me fall in love with acting and film making as I was involved all the way from the start to finish." he says. "It is what made me realize how beautiful it really is to make a movie, or shortfilm in this case." Soler will also be seen in the upcoming film, A Man Will Rise, which is still pending release. In addition, Soler is expected to fly out to China next week to work with stunt coordinator Brett Chan on actor Nicholas Cage's upcoming 12th century romantic war epic, Outcast, with co-stars Hayden Christensen (Star Wars Episode 2 & 3, Jumper) and Crystial Liu (The Forbidden Kingdom, The Four) under veteran stunt coordinator Nick Powell (The Last Samurai, The Three Musketeers) making his directorial debut.

On another, more personal note, Manel Soler has expressed his own fortitude, looking back on his life with resolve with the philosophy that everything that happened, from bodyguarding and security, to an incident that nearly cost him his life, has happened for a reason. "I'm very pleased that incident happened, as now that it has led me to do stunts and acting." he says "And I'm deeply in love with acting mostly as it is the study of yourself as a person, life and human behavior in all its expression. So I feel very fortunate, for even though I'm an unknown in this industry, at least I can live doing what I'm passionate for-acting and martial arts. And for that, I'm very blessed."

Watch Manel's reel in the embed below, and remember to look for him on Facebook; CLICK HERE for his acting reel. Also, if you're in the Bangkok area and would like to contact Soler for some versatile martial arts training, head on over to his official Hapkido Bangkok Facebook page.


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