GayCalgary® Magazine [copy]

Flash Gordon

Sam J Jones, saving the world on screen and off

Celebrity Interview by Janine Eva Trotta (From GayCalgary® Magazine, April 2014, page 45)
Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon

The reception was fuzzy and clarity drifted in and out for the voice of actor Sam J Jones, better known as cult icon Flash Gordon. He was speaking to GayCalgary Magazine from Mexico, though not working on a movie set.

Aside from starring in action films the actor runs his own company, offering private security services for executives and VIPs working in dangerous areas. This brings him often to border towns like Tijuana and Mexicali.

"I’m one of the few guys in the film industry who, when I’m making a movie, I can actually hire myself to protect myself," Jones says. "We look after a lot of executives and high profile people who either have threats on their lives or live in a high risk environment where their lives need to be protected, or their assets."

"We do the same thing the secret service does," he says. "It’s something I just really enjoy doing."

Ironically, it was Jones that could have used some security just a week and a half before the shooting of Flash Gordon began back in 1979, London, UK.

Gordon was walking down a street one evening during ‘football season’ when he was jumped by 12 men. He says he was wearing a baseball cap that said ‘Los Angeles’ when the attack happened.

"They attacked me first; I had no choice but to defend myself," he says. "I was holding my own against six, but another six came behind me that I didn’t know was there."

"They pretty much took me down after about 60 seconds," he goes on. "They just took me down when my back was exposed."

Not unlike the character Jones was set to play less than two weeks later, he was literally fighting for his life. His background in martial arts was help but not help enough to take on 12 men. Restaurant and shop owners on the street heard the ruckus and came out to help.

"Thank God there was some English guys there...they didn’t know me at all... and assisted me and probably saved my life," Jones says.

His face was a mess. He describes the damage to his tongue, and the bone that was exposed in his chin.

"The doctor sewed me up really good and I was ready to’s kind of a miracle," he says.

A thick layer of makeup was applied to his chin and movie viewers were none the wiser of their campy film hero’s sustained injuries.

Since the film, based on the Flash Gordon comic strip created by Alex Raymond, was released in 1980, Jones has become a staple name at comic and sci-fi conventions around the world. This month he will appear at the Calgary Expo and promises nothing rehearsed - just some honest Q&A’s adlib.

"I just go with it," he says. "[Flash Gordon] is a character I’ve always represented, I feel, in a good way."

Jones has never tired of the role. In fact, he is proud to have seen the character span several decades and generations of fans.

Most recently Jones played Flash in the Mark Wahlberg, Seth MacFarlane comedy/fantasy Ted, and will do so again in June when Ted 2 starts filming (slated for release in 2015). This appearance, Jones says, has spawned resurgence in fans young and old.

"What I’m grateful for is to have such a huge following; such a diverse group of people," he says. "It’s an exciting character. I enjoy it."

An oddity fans may not know about is that over half of the Flash Gordon film is dubbed over with another actor’s voice. Jones says it’s standard to go back into the audio booth after filming is wrapped and make changes, but since he had returned to the States to shoot a TV series he was unable to do the vocal edits himself. Thus an English actor was called in to perform the task.

These, and perhaps other revelations and stories of heroic feats, should be the stuff Jones’ appearance at the Calgary Expo will be about. The actor says he bears no shame for playing the same role going on now some 35 years; it has become a part of him.

"Flash is one of the few [super heroes] who doesn’t have super powers so it’s all about him," he says. "When people say hey Flash ...I’m not going to turn my back and run. I’m going to say hello."


Comments on this Article