ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

When you give a movie the title "The Martial Arts Kid", it's pretty obvious who you get to play the role of the "Kid" is pretty crucial.

So, when Jansen Panettiere was cast as the titular lead shortly before filming began in June, there was a lot riding on his shoulders.

However according to martial arts/action-movie legend Cynthia Rothrock - who plays Panettiere's aunt in the film - the young, rising star has shown he is "perfect" for the role.

"When I met him, i just fell in love with him", says Rothrock. "He's such a nice, young kid (and) he has charisma."

Rothrock says one of the things that most impressed her about Panettiere was his work ethic.

"He was willing to learn", says Rothrock. "He was willing to learn (how to do) some action."

Rothrock admits she was worried a bit at first about who would be cast as her nephew Robbie the "Kid", but her fears were immediately put to rest when she met Panettiere.

"I didn't know who was going to play 'The Martial Arts Kid' and I was a little concerned about it - about who could play it", says Rothrock. "But the minute I met him, I said to James (Wilson, who is producing the film with Cheryl Wheeler-Duncan): 'Perfect. He is the Martial Arts Kid'."

"So I'm very excited for him and excited that he's part of our group", Rothrock concludes. "I feared if the the The Martial Arts Kid was someone that wasn't exactly perfect for that part, the movie might not be so good because it all revolves, you know, around him."


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