Thursday, May 15, 2014

Interesting Old Interviews Part 3

Jackie interview with actor/writer Mike Leeder. Year : 1995

Mike:...Looking back at the film (DM2) two years later, are you happy with it?

Not really...I am not 100% satisfied with the film. If from the beginning I had been the director myself, it would have been a better film and very different in style to the released one...I invited Lau Chia-liang direct. He is very good director...I wasn't always in China during the early part of filming...I had very high expectations of Lau Chia-liang, so later when I saw the footage I was disappointed and thought that the film would not do too well at the box office and the audiences would be very disappointed. But, I respect Lau Chia-liang so I did not say anything and we continued filming.You know that we were making the film for the Hong Kong Stuntman's Association (HKSA), but when the members of the HKSA Board of Directors see the film, they are shocked, they say that there is no way they can release the film as it is....So they (HKSA board) sat down with Lau Chia-liang and told him that they were not satisfied with the film, but it's not like they were firing him...

Mike: It's strange, because certain elements of the Hong Kong press and some Western Magazines/writers tried to accuse you of firing him, pushing him off the set.

Jackie: No, it was the decision of the HKSA, not me. They asked me to take over...Lau Chia-liang had shot over 9000 feet of film by the time he finished. I cut 4000 and reshot...I know that Lau Chia-liang is not happy with the HKSA decision, but it's not my fault... ...after I finished the re-shoots on Drunken Master 2, and showed it to the HKSA, they gave me a standing ovation. I am very happy that they and the audience
are happy with the film.

Mike: Fireman's Story is one project that I know you have been wanting to do for a very long time....The film was to feature little fighting, a lot of drama and emotion and some incredibe fire stunts...Peter Pau and your former assistant director P'ng Kialed ...both told me how the special effects crew from Backdraft were attached to the project and that several incredible fire sequences had been planned. What is the status of the film?

Jackie: I'll make it one day! I promise! You know we have already spent several million HK$ on the film's pre-production. I first had the idea a long time ago, and when I saw Ron Howard's movie I know that we could do the special effects we needed, but it will be bigger than Backdraft. Then just when we are ready to
begin production, ATV (Hong Kong's second TV channel) made a drama series Flame about the firemen. So I put the film on the backburner. I know that one day I will make it.

Mike:...What about your Eastern Western?

Jackie: (Laughing) This one is coming too!

Mike: I know that for this project...Willie told us that it would be your next project after DM2 and that he was worried about you shaving your head for the role. What happened?

Jackie: (Shrugs shoulders) I don't know? It's going to be made though, you know I had the idea for Rumble In The Bronx several years ago. So many times I get ready to start one of these films and then something happens and I end up doing another project.

Mike: Do you ever find it strange that despite you being Jackie Chan, and our position in the film industry you can't always make the films you want to?

Jackie: The whole film industry is very strange! (laughing) I know some of the prblems, for my Eastern Western the script isn't finalized. And if we make this film, we will have to film it in the U.S. and deal with so many unions and things. will be using a lot of Americans for cast and crew, they won't work like a Hong Kong crew and just take ten minutes for lunch, they have set times for everything and I can't afford to be like in Hong Kong and spend three months doing the ending. Even when we filmed in Canada, the crew is very good but as soon as it's time for lunch, everybody stops! In Hong Kong, the crew will sometimes work and eat at the same time. For this movie, I have to make a very good plan and schedule or else I will be in a lot of trouble when we are filming, but wait and see Mike, one day you will get to see all these movies!

Mike: When I was at your birthday party in April 1994, you and Samo Hung seemed to reconcile after some years of disagreements. Then at the Hong Kong Film Awards, you, Samo and Yuen Biao reunited to present a lifetime achievement award to Golden Harvest founder Raymong Chow, and at the Hong Kong Stuntman's Association Ball, the three of you seemed to be getting along fine. As a team, the three of you made some great films together, Dragons Forever, Wheels on Meals, Project A, etc. And I know that a lot of people including myself would very much love to see another triple-header from the three of you. What are the chances?

Jackie: (Laughing) It's going to happen again! Soon! Samo, Biao and me are more than friends; we are like brothers. But when we were all together at Golden Harvest, because I was very involved with my projects I couldn't always spend time with them. I don't always have the time to do films with them, even when I want to. So while their faces seem happy when they see me, I think inside they aren't always happy with me. Then when they both left Golden Harvest, I missed them and try and get the three of us back together again. But I can't do it all myself. They have to make the effort too. I can't make them be my friends again. As I've said, they are just like my brothers. I love and respect them like my brothers. And now we are talking about some projects to work together on soon. I gave one script to Samo and he will direct me soon.

Mike: When I've spoken to your fellow classmate, Yuen Wah ( Bruce Lee's stuntdouble in Enter the Dragon) about his lifelong relationship with you, Samo and Biao, he describes it as a brotherhood, just like a family and that just like any family, sometimes people disagree and have arguments.

Jackie: He is right! We're all human, sometimes we get angry with each other but not forever. Eventually we start talking again. We have known each other for so long, but we don't always want to or have to talk to each other. There is rivalry between us, expecially between Samo and me because we both always want to be the leader. Samo always treats me like I'm still this little boy from when we were at Opera school together, he is my big brother, I respect him and I just want him to respect me, too.

Mike: If you don't mind, can we talk a little about the man behind the myth? The real Jackie Chan. You're very much a role model and public figure, a spokesman for Aids Concern, the Royal Hong Kong Police Force uses your Police Story thene tune in its recruitment ads, you're the tourist ambassador for Hong Kong. Do you find that because of your position in the public eye, you have to be that bit more responsible?

Jackie: You know that I don't ask for any of these things. People observe the way I behave and then ask me to assume these duties...I'm like a goodwill ambassador...I feel very proud when people refer to me as a role model or think highly of me, so I try harder to be responsible and not let people down.

Mike: Jackie, you are held in very high regard by many noted American actors and directors such as Michael Douglas, Oliver Stone and especially Sylvester Stallone, who not only borrowed the bus stunt from Police Story for his Tango & Cash, but also name-checked you in Demolition Man. The rumors relating to the two of you working together are getting stronger and stronger. Will the two of you be teaming up for a forthcoming project?

Jackie: We hope so. I have been a fan of Sylvester Stallone since the first Rocky movie...I feel happy and honored to have him as a friend. We're just waiting for the right script, he knows the Western market far better than I do, so I said to him that if he finds a script that is good for u, then we'll do it. I think it will be a very good combination if we work together.

Mike: How do you feel when people re-use your action scenes and stunts for their movies?

Jackie: I feel very happy and very proud. You see when I first started out, I was influenced by a lot of people....Now people are turning the tables on me, they are copying us. I am happy that my work is good enough for them to want to copy it, I feel very flattered.

Mike: I know that you damaged your ankle quite badly during the making ofRumble in the Bronx. What happened?

Jackie: It was a pretty easy stunt. (laughing) For some reason I always seem to get hurt doing the easy stunts!...When I'm doing a big stunt I'm more careful, but the stunt in Rumble when I broke two bones was pretty small I jumped from a bridge onto the deck of a hovercraft. When I landed I was falling forward and would have banged my head on the cabin, so I turned as I landed. But the deck of the hovercraft is covered in non-slip material, so while my body turned, my ankle didn't (laughing)! Go see the movie, it is much easier to see than to talk about it!

Mike: Do you have any messages for your fans worldwide?

Jackie: Thank you very much for all your support and your friendship. I am very happy that you like me and appreciate your support. I hope you continue to support me and enjoy my films, I hope that we can all meet sometime. All the best!

Jackie interview about Gen-X Cops project Click2Asia

How did you get involved in the Gen-X Cops project? (Click2Asia)

My partners, Willie Chan and Solon So, and I, are share-holders in the company that produced 'Gen-X Cops', Media Asia. Therefore, I was involved in developing 'Gen-X Cops' from the very beginning. Also, I know the director, Benny Chan, very well, because he directed my film 'Who Am I?'. I always said, in interviews, that I want to bring some new blood into Hong Kong action movies. When I read the script for 'Gen-X Cops', I realised that this would be the best chance to do that. I produced the film, and lent them some members of my JC Stunt Team to arrange the action. (Jackie Chan)

Had you ever worked with the actors from 'Gen-X Cops' prior to the project? In what capacity?

Actually, most of the stars of the film are so young, they only made a few films before! I never had the chance to work with them. Talking about the young actors, I really got to know them for the first time on this film, and I was very impressed that they were so brave and hard-working. I'm sure that they all have a bright future. I know Eric Tsang, who played 'Inspector Chan', very well. He actually started out as a stuntman, you know! We worked on many films, including the 'My Lucky Stars' series, together. He was also the producer of my film 'Armour Of God'.

What is your favourite scene in 'Gen-X Cops'? Why?

I would probably have to say the blowing up of the Hong Kong Convention Centre, because no Hong Kong film has featured this kind of effect before. I really felt proud that we can get an Oscar-winning special effects expert, Joe Viskocil, to work on our film. I also liked the end fighting sequence, because I feel happy to see the new generation use the same style of action that I invented. I think Hong Kong action is unique. No-one can copy it. Acting-wise, I like the scene where Eric Tsang really stands up to the tall, mean cop (Moses Chan). Eric Tsang is a really good actor, and I think the audience is really rooting for him.

Did you have any input on the stunt scenes in the movie?

As I mentioned, my stunt team, led by Nikki Li, were responsible for the action in the film. I came to the set sometimes, but just to visit. I know I trained my team well. Nikki has followed me so many years, he can direct any kind of physical action scene. I really think he did a great job, especially when you think that none of the actors had any experience making this kind
of film.

Did any of the principle talent look to you for advice on performing stunts?

All the boys did most of their own action. Before filming started, I talked with them about doing stunts. I told them that, henever you do a stunt, you have to give a hundred percent. Let's say you have to do a jump from a high place. If you don't jump, okay. If you jump with all your energy, okay. If you half-way jump, and pull back at the last minute, then you can get hurt. I told them that, physically, of course, you have to be ready, but that you have to be ready in your mind, as well. Of the young guys in the film, Daniel Wu was the most experienced, because he's trained in kung fu for over 18 years.

To date, what has been your most exciting film project? Why?

For action, after all these years, I still have to say the first 'Police Story'. If you look back, that film really changed everything. No-one had made a modern day action movie like this. It was on this film that I developed my new style. This was the first film where my stuntmen really showed what they could do. The beginning scene, with the car chase down through the village, and the ending, the fight in the shopping mall¡| After all these years, they're still the best! However, just talking about film-making, I'm very proud of 'Miracles'. I made this film after I heard someone say "Oh, Jackie Chan can't really direct, he just directs action." I made this film just to show I could make a REAL movie. I really spent a lot of time and money on this production. I was the first one to use Steadicam in Hong Kong! When I look at that film today, I think it still looks beautiful.

What type of film projects are you working on now?

Right now, I am making a film called 'The Accidental Spy'. It is being directed by Teddy Chen. Teddy directed another film that I produced for Media Asia, called 'Purple Storm'. He is very talented. We are shooting on location in Hong Kong, Korea and Turkey. After this film, we start to prepare 'Rush Hour 2', which we will shoot partly on location in Hong Kong.

A large part of your career has been spent in front of the camera. How do you like working behind the scenes? What do you not like about working behind-the-scenes?

Honestly, I enjoy directing and producing. You can have much more control of the finished product than if you're just an actor. Maybe when I finally retire from acting, I'll miss it. At the moment, I can still star in films, and also produce films for other people. I'm someone who enjoys every part of film-making. In my own films, sometimes I'm the camera-man, sometimes I'm an extra, sometimes even sweeping the floor! I just love every part of making movies.

Do you prefer shooting in Asia or the US? Why

I'd like to have the kind of control I have in my Asian films and the kind of budget I have for my US films. When you make movies in Hollywood, you really can't do everything you want to do, and, when you make movies in Hong Kong, you sometimes can't afford to do everything you want to do. So, I want to bring the two sides together, and take the best from east and west. Then we won't make a Hong Kong movie or an American movie. Just a Jackie Chan movie!

Will you be involved in the sequel, 'Gen-Y Cops'?

The team for 'Gen-Y Cops' is the same : same producers, including me, same director, most of the same stars. The difference is that everything will be even better! Better script, better stunts, better special effects. We have a new star, Edison Chen, who is managed by our company. My nickname for him is 'my secret weapon for the new century'! It won't be just another sequel. You'll see!


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