JACKIE Chan is proud of his latest project, Dragon Blade. It is China’s first historic film that has grossed over $1,000 million just after two weeks of its release. This historic epic has John Cusack, Adrien Brody and Chan in lead roles. In a recent interview the 62-year-old Kung Fu star who began his career as a stunt man in a Bruce Lee film, admits that he now cares more about the quality of the film, than just breaking box office records. With more than 150 movies under his belt, Chan has given us some memorable performances in Rush Hour, The Karate Kid and Shanghai Knights. Meanwhile, the actor also plans to record a song to back Beijing’s campaign to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. He tells us more about Dragon Blade, for which he is also the producer.
Can you tell us about the characters
in this movie?
This is a very masculine movie, and it’s very me. The story, the philosophy and the messages in the movie are what I want to share with the the world. I play Huo Qubing’s adopted son. Both the Han Dynasty and the Huns refuse to accept me. So I become a commander of the Protection Squad at the west border; leading people from different ethnics to keep the peace on the Silk Road.
How was it working with John Cusack?
In terms of the action choreography, he is good at kickboxing but not very experienced with swords or blades, so I taught him how to fight with weapons. He teaches me English; sometimes I have to ask him how to say my line and how to best act. He’s a very good teacher.
And Adrien Brody?
He said, ‘I’m a big fan of yours, and so is my girlfriend. I really hope that one day we can work together. How can we collaborate?’ I said, ‘Collaborate? We can do it right now. I am preparing to make a movie and we can work together right away.’ I sent a synopsys to him at once and got a call from him the next evening. He said ‘When should I be there?’
What was it like being the producer of this movie, were there challenges?
I’m one of the investors as well as the executive producer. Other than starring in the movie, I’m also the action choreographer, and I have more than 700 people in my team. If you’re an actor, it’s fine for you to travel all the way to the location and rest in the trailer. When you’re needed on set, you go on set. But I can’t do that. I need to be on set all the time; I hope to take the best from Chinese and American films, combining them to make a Jackie Chan style film.
How have you evolved as an actor?
All I had in mind was the fighting techniques, how to choreograph the action sequences. If you had asked the audiences to watch Jackie Chan act they would have fallen asleep. Now the audiences are different. They love not only action but also a film’s story.
The importance of a big budget?
Film making is a huge investment, either make it really big or don’t do it at all. I don’t cut the budget. I can make a film with a lower budget. But if you want to make a film that will still be talked about after decades, you have to put in so much effort.
Dragon Blade is scheduled to release on March 27.