Jackie Chan's latest outing, 'Dragon Blade', hit Indian theatres last week. In an email interview, the actor talks about the film, his evolution as an actor, his favourite Bollywood film and future projects
With a career spanning 50 years, Jackie Chan has not only made a mark with his skills as a martial arts expert but also dabbled in production, direction and singing in films. His latest film, 'Dragon Blade', has the actor playing a commander who aims at maintaining peace between 36 warring nations and the Silk Road region during the era of the Hun Dynasty.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Tell us about your role in 'Dragon Blade'? What made you take it up?
A. In 'Dragon Blade', I play Huo An, the adopted son of famous general Huo Qubing. I am the Commander of the Protection Squad on the Western border of China who leads people of different ethnicities and helps maintain peace on the Silk Road. Huo An is a man who loves peace, and believes in the possibility of turning his enemies into friends. 'Dragon Blade' is very me. The story, the philosophy and the messages in the movie are what I want to share with the audience, the world, my movie fans, the cineastes and people who love peace.
Jackie Chan, who has worked in over 150 films, says that the audience will enjoy Dragon Blade's storyline, fight sequences and songs
Q. Most of your films are an amalgamation of comedy and martial arts. Except for 'Shinjuku Incident' and 'The Karate Kid', you haven't really experimented with drama. Have you ever been accused of repetitiveness?
A. Through these years, the audience seems to enjoy all my movies because I always try doing something new in each film. I like surprising the audience. In a nutshell, I really look forward to trying different techniques.
Q. Tell us about your experience of working in 'Dragon Blade' with John Cusack and Adrien Brody.
A. It was great working with them as they both are very professional. John is a brilliant actor and came up with a lot of ideas while on the set. I remember teaching him to fight with weapons, as he isn't experienced with swords or blades though he is great at kickboxing. He, on the other hand, taught me how to deliver dialogues in fluent English. I must tell you, he is a great teacher. To talk of Adrien, he is so humble and has a quest to learn. This one time, he asked me to send a few videotapes for him to learn action choreography and he practiced with a rod or a broom. He doesn't need an assistant and never asks for anything extra. He eats whatever is served and lives wherever the others live. Everyone on the set loves him.
A still from 'Dragon Blade' where Chan plays a commander
Q. What, according to you, sets 'Dragon Blade' apart?
A. I believe that the audience will enjoy the film's intriguing story, its fight sequences and the songs.
Q. You have starred in over 150 films, how do you think have you evolved as an actor?
A. While working in The Young Master and Rumble in the Bronx, I didn't get into the skin of the character. All I thought about were the fighting techniques, choreographing the action sequences and pulling off dangerous stunts. But that was way back when we didn't have the time for the camera to zoom in on me. If you had asked the audience to watch Jackie Chan act back then, they would have fallen asleep. They enjoyed the 'jumping' Jackie Chan. Now the audience is different. Both the story and action sequences are equally important to them. Nowadays, I don't need to jump from tall buildings and I won't do that either (laughs). The audience knows that I have performed these stunts earlier and they have already recognised me for that. So I now put more effort into acting.
John Cusack and Adrien Brody also star in the film
Q. Having broken every bone in your body because of doing your own stunts, dabbling with most aspects of filmmaking and being the goodwill ambassador at UNICEF, what else is left to achieve?
A. There are too many things that I still want to do, but life is too short. So I'd rather concentrate on making good movies and my charity work.
Q. What are your future projects?
A. The next five years are busy with films such as 'Kungfu Yoga' and a 'CZ12' sequel coming up.
Q. You have worked with Mallika Sherawat in 'The Myth'. What about starring in a Bollywood film?
A. I watch very few Bollywood movies. But I loved '3 Idiots', which was a big success in Hong Kong. I became Aamir Khan's fan overnight. I am planning to shoot 'Kungfu Yoga' in India this year.