Interview – Jackie Chan is a Superstar | Latino Review

Posted: January 13, 2010 in ACTORS, INTERVIEWS

Interview: Jackie Chan Is The Spy Next Door

Jackie Chan is the most recognized superstar on the planet. Hands down. Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Cruise. None of them hold a candle to how popular Jackie Chan is all around the world. Everyone knows who he is because he’s been making movies in so many different countries and has been involved with so many charities and organizations, that his cinematic success cannot be matched.

I’ve been a fan of Jackie’s since I was nine years old, and being able to finally meet the man in person was one of the greatest perks I’ll ever get being in this business. Whenever anyone asks me who my favorite star is, I always answer “Jackie Chan.” The man puts his heart, soul and broken body into each movie to entertain us. And that’s usually not the case with most action stars. I’m such a fan that I knew the American name of his movie when he didn’t know it in this conversation. I’ve even got the poster on my wall. So it was pretty cool when he smacked me on the arm after I answered his query. (Actually, most of the questions about his HK stuff and the sequels was from me.)

I really wanted to Guapo Cam this, but once again, studios won’t allow us to do that for roundtables, which is a shame because the man was so animated that I’m afraid much of this interview will get lost in translation. Still, Jackie talks about a lot of things like censorship, why he’s now doing family films, why Drunken Master III never happened, if we’ll ever see another Project A film and why we won’t see him in another Rush Hour.

Did you enjoy being a part of The Rose Parade?

Chan: Yes. Neat. I got up the next morning. I brush my teeth and my hand, three hours, was like, ‘Ahh!’ The audience was so warm, like, ‘Jackie, we love you!’

No one told you to do this?

Chan: No. I just tried to do the best that I can. The audience is so great. They’d been there two nights.

Sometimes it’s raining and they’re there.

Chan: Before I came it was raining, the day that I came in it stopped raining. It was because of me.

On ‘The Tonight Show’ you said you like fighting and action but not violence. Why do you think other performers can’t separate the two because you’re really the only guy who does fight scenes with a smile?

Chan: There was a long time when I realized when I went to Africa, Egypt, the children do these kinds of things to learn from. Said, ‘Wow. I have to be careful because so many children learn from me.’ Whatever I do, whatever I make I have to think about the children. Before I might’ve done some dirty movement but now I don’t do this. Maybe before some bad word and now, ‘Okay, no more F word.’ Slowly, all those years changed me today. I do action, comedy, humor, movement. I use all kinds of things. Sometimes I do the gun like this in a serious police story. ‘Boom. Cut.’ You don’t have to show boom, the guy [getting hit]. Making a movie there’s so many ways to do it. Another thing that people do is cigarette. Cut. Hundredth cigarette. Okay that means that I wait for two hours. There’s another way. In the old days I did the same thing that I learned from the American movies. ‘That’s cool.’ But slowly, slowly you know that it’s wrong. I don’t know if you see it or not but in so many movies I educate all the audience. In ‘First Strike’ I was wanted and when I was walking around the park and the girl sees me, she stands up and runs away. The newspaper dropped. In the movie I picked up the newspaper and I throw it into the trashcan. Look at the movie again. You throw the trashcan and boom then you see my picture. I don’t see my picture. I’m just like, ‘No money, nothing.’ I see the newspaper, pick it up and put it in the trashcan and boom. I don’t even see myself. ‘Wanted’. Slowly, bit by bit I hope the audience can recognize what I’m doing. If they don’t it’s okay, it’s still entertainment. If they do I’m really happy. If some genius, some people talking about it, like, ‘Oh, like that movie. My son really liked it.’ That makes me happy. I do help children. I’m not just going to give you action, comedy, humor. I give the children an education. In every movie I do have a dialogue. Not an American movies. I don’t have the rights to change the lyric, but when I’m making a Chinese movie you can tell that there’s so many philosophies inside. I believe that’s my responsibility. I have to do it. So this is why I’m happy with what I’m doing right now.

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Is that why your last Hong Kong movie was ‘Rob-B-Hood’?

Chan: Yeah. See, the funny thing is that when I made that movie the Chinese government refused it. ‘No. You cannot do this. Jackie Chan cannot be a thief.’ I said, ‘Please look at the script.’ After they slowly looked at the script they said, ‘Okay, good education.’ Sometimes I want to do something and I cannot do it. Even the government won’t let me do it because you have image problems. ‘If not 1.3 billion people at least 500 million children watch you. You cannot do this.’ Then after they look at it they say, ‘Okay,’ and they let me do it.

But didn’t China ban your last one, too?

Chan: No. I pulled it. It’s why I wanted to make ‘Shinjuku’ because so many people want immigrate to America but they don’t realize that no country is better than your own country. You come to America or you go to Korea or you go to Japan you speak no Japanese. You speak no English. You have nothing to do. You have no identity. You have to hide for so many years. Then after so many years you learn English, the poor English and then you’ve got a green card. If you’ve got a green card you can find a job. You’re wasting your life. How many Chinese go to Japan and do these kinds of things so bad? I made that movie and I wanted to show the Chinese people, not only Japan, ‘Don’t go anywhere. Don’t listen to bad people say that Europe is good. Japan is good. You can make money.’ People give a thousand to the – what – snake hand. In Paris and Italy I see so many people from China. They’ve been cheated. ‘We cannot go back. We don’t have an identity. We have to do the black job.’ Suppose you deliver Coca-Cola for $200. Now they give you $10. ‘Come on, you do it.’ You have to do it. You have no money but you have to hide and this black [market] guy gets a $190. I wanted to make that message to show them. But somehow we get into the drugs, killing people, chopping their hands and these kind of things. Then I found out the true violence and then I just pulled that.

What do you think about martial arts in this country and things like the UFC? Do you watch mixed martial arts, do you respect it at all?

Chan: Mixed martial arts, yes. Sometimes I just don’t like to see the Ultimate Fighting. As a martial artist I just find that too violent. Putting in the cage. At the end it’s not a fight anymore. That’s not martial arts. Martial arts is about respect. Someone is knocked out you stop. So this is why sometime I really respect Sugar Ray Leonard and some boxer, I forget. Look at Sugar Ray Leonard. ‘Come on, stop. Come on, stop. Don’t fight.’ That’s the spirit. You knock someone down, ‘Come on, get up. I grab you up. You okay? You want to continue? Make sure. Okay, come on.’ That’s the martial arts spirit. That’s what I want. Boxing, yes, but not this kind of…mixed martial arts competition is okay. I just don’t like these kinds of things.

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Your background is in kung fu.

Chan: Yeah. We learn martial arts to help the weakness. You never fight people to get hurt. You’re always helping people. Respect. We learned these kinds of things. It’s not some going down and you getting two more kicks. No. I made a movie that I just talked about. I talked about when I fight with a guy and I get down and the bad guy had a lot of bodyguards. ‘Oh, check it out. Lets go to the game.’ Every movie I have my philosophy. I say, ‘This is not the hero. That’s a coward.’ If you see that movie, you’d know. It’s about a girl who picked up a bottle and come to Hong Kong to find –

‘Gorgeous’.

Chan: ‘Gorgeous’! You see what I’m doing? My students, they give me the glove. ‘Come on, wait. Okay. Come on, again.’ We’re talking about the martial arts spirit.

You talked about that on the DVD, that there’s no swear words.

Chan: Yes. Not even one. Nothing.

How many schools have you built with your Dragon Heart Foundation?

Chan: Twenty four already.

What’s your focus for 2010?

Chan: I want to stop a little bit and maybe just build one more or two more and I want to send…I’m planning on maybe fifty students to volunteer and at the same time drive a car to send all the computer and clothing to every school where everybody has a DVD to do like a show. Not a show but to ask the students what they want, how the school is. ‘Anything broken? Come back to show me.’ If you do a good job then $100 and then the number two $300 or something like that. I want more students to get involved. That’s the whole point of the school and then coming back to tell me. I want the school to tell me, ‘Okay, the pipes don’t work. The table is now broken.’

You want the students to videotape this first hand?

Chan: I want the students to go to school and ask the students what they have and then go to every corner and shoot and shoot themselves. It’s like a documentary but they will show me and I will choose which students are the best and then you get the $100. If the $100 is given to you, you have to do charity.

A $100 U.S. or a $100 Chinese?

Chan: Chinese.

And then you want them to give that money to a charity?

Chan: Whatever they want but for a charity, yeah.

In this film, were the stunts harder than the acting or was it opposite?

Chan: English. English is very difficult especially if all the children can’t follow the dialogue. They just speak so fast and also the dialect coach and the director wanted me to speak all the S’s with D. In conversation it’s okay. You don’t care but in a movie with children. ‘No, no, no. You missed the S.’ ‘What?’ The more you emphasize it the more it drives me crazy. Suppose I’m very natural and then it’s like, ‘No, no, no.’ Then the more that I get nervous. Stunt choreographing is easy. I’ve been doing that for so many years.

The stunt in the mall reminded me of ‘Police Story’.

Chan: That was crazy. I wish at that time we shot all with documentary. We don’t have enough money to waste on the film, not like in America where we’re just talking. There are so many stories.

 

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Did this stunt remind you of that for this movie?

Chan: No, not really. Now there’s more safety. They make sure that inside there’s a wire and it’s stronger. There are so many things and I’m just so confident and I just jump. Yes, you’re scared but you’re safe. On ‘Police Story’ you die. You’re gonna die. At the end I’m yelling, just dying. It’s like, ‘Okay, suicide.’ I just committed suicide. It’s like ‘Why did you survive?’ It’s stupid, very stupid.

You’ve done a million movies. How do you keep it fun?

Chan: Every movie, if I continue to make ‘Rush Hour’ one, two, three, four, five it’s not fun at all because every movie is different. My last movie before this is ‘Shinjuku Story’. It was too heavy and so then I make ‘Spy Next Door’ and then I go back to China to make my own movie which is called ‘Little Big Soldier’. I hope that you can see it. I have so many choices when I’m making a Chinese movie but very few chances that I can change an American movie because they choose me. In China I want to make this and I want to make that. In America they would never let me make ‘Shinjuku’ story. They would let Robert DeNiro do this kind of character. Not me. But I can do it. So this is why I’m so happy to make the movie called ‘Karate Kid’. Mustache. White hair. Old man like this. I want the audience to know that I’m not the action star. I’m the actor. I can act, but I can fight. I can do my own stunts. So this is why every movie is different, a different location, a different character, different people. That makes it fun. The most fun job in the world is making a movie, really. I think your job pretty boring. Just ask a different actor. For us, today it’s America. Tomorrow Beijing. Tomorrow Hong Kong. You see different people. Then you see different movie, a different costume and everyday is a different challenge. It’s fun. Really, really fun and people pay you a lot.

Would you ever do another ‘Project A’?

Chan: Yes. I tried to make ‘Drunken Master III’. I ran out of story. You can’t think about a story. Like ‘Police Story’ is easy. There’s so many drug dealers. Hawaii. Brazil. But ‘Drunken Master’, when I made number one I know that it was wrong. I looked at it and said, ‘No. I should correct this.’ ‘Drunken Master I’ told the audience to drink and fight, drink more and fight. Then I know that’s the wrong message. So then I make ‘Drunken Master II’ and it’s don’t drink, don’t fight. If you drink you’ll pass out and then you’re naked. In the movie I was naked because I drank too much. That’s the message that you’re telling people. Not the first one. In the first one I just make money and made the audience smile. Who cares. So you smiled, okay. Drink, drink, drink. The audience is laughing. Now that I’m grown up and I look at it it’s wrong, the wrong message. I corrected myself. ‘Project A’ maybe yes. You have story, but ‘Drunken Master’ two and three are difficult.

No more ‘Rush Hours’ either?

Chan: I don’t think so. If it happens it would be a miracle, a real miracle. If ‘Rush Hour’ four happens it’s a miracle.

How did you like working with Amber Valletta?

Chan: She’s great, really. She’s a true actress. She helped me a lot because of my English. Before shooting she’d go, ‘Again, again.’ That makes me comfortable. In the action sequences she’s so tough.

How was her slapping you?

Chan: I said to slap me but I didn’t know the director was going to do it so many times. Shoulder shot. Funny shot. Side shot. Every time. Crack! I just pretend. I think that no actor can stand this kind of pain except for me. Ask Amber how many times she slapped me.

 

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The Spy Next Door sneaks into theaters this Friday.

Posted via web from MovieDriver – Hollywood Teamster

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