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JACKIE CHAN RESEARCH PROJECT


JACKIE CHAN:
Short interview with Jackie regarding Shanghai Noon
From 10th May edition of Next Magazine:

Title : Clashing with Cruise - "It's My Honour" Said Jackie Chan

Prologue:
Jackie Chan's new film Shanghai Noon opens early in the States on May 26, on a direct course to clash with Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible II, which opens on May 24. "Disney is very confident of using this film to compete with Cruise. As I'm a newcomer in Hollywood, whether I win or loose it doesnt matter." That's true. With Jackie's current price, why cant he challenge Cruise, who also receives US$20m a film?

Cowboy Dream

Witnessing how cool John Wayne and Clint Eastwood play with guns, imitation came naturally. "I always wanted to be a cowboy from very young. But I couldn't be one in real life, so I made Shanghai Noon." And this Chinese cowboy is just as cool: from The Forbidden City to train explosions, to having an Indian wife, and even fell in love with the princess.

The Power Game

"In Rush Hour I was only an actor, the crew didn't listen to me much, which was no fun. This time I supplied the script, I executive produced the film, I can even choose the actors. Things were much better this time." Why didn't he use Michelle Regis or Hsu Qi? " I wanted to introduce more Hong Kong and Taiwanese actresses, but Spy Glass wanted Lucy Liu. I though I supplied the story, so I asked to be included in the credit as script writer, but Disney refused. Even my Jackie Chan Stunt Team cannot be credited!" The power game is not an easy one.

It feels good to ride a horse
Insisting of performing everything himself, and getting injured frequently, why Jackie still try as hard? "They (Hollywood) need my stuff - the Jackie Chan style (no special effects). They couldn't do it, and that's Hong Kong's advantage!" Dangerous stunts were daily routine for Jackie, but horse riding did give him headaches. "I was worried when I knew I have to ride horses - a female jockey was killed falling from a horse, and Christopher Reeves got paralysed from the same type of accident!" After a month long training, Jackie had overcome the fear and learnt something along the way: "you just cant get that feeling of riding on horseback through vast landscape in the city!"

Epilogue:

The interview took place at the 48th floor of a hotel in Admiralty, Hong Kong.

With no reason, Jackie, who is still suffering from back injury, sang an old TV song: "You think you're at the mountain's top, but there's still higher places..." Only God and he knows why someone at the peak of his career would suddenly feel that way.

To tell you the truth, it does look scary from the 48th floor up.

Photo captions:
The ever considerate Jackie changed his clothing after every interview, so each magazine would have different photos to print.

Train robber Owen Wilson escaped prison with Jackie, and managed to save the princess in the end.

The JC Stunt Team, who followed Jackie to the States, designed action sequences that had won the praise of the US crew.

After spending months with horses, Jackie has become an expert on the animal.

Lawrence
(lawmak@hk.super.net)
This is another interview Jackie gave to the East Magazine, appeared in its 9th May edition:

Title:

Breaking the Tradition -
Jackie Had Every Say in Hollywood


Prologue:
Jackie Chan's second Hollywood feature, Shanghai Noon, which had already won high praises in screenings, has already broken traditional Hollywood production model even before official release. Not only did Jackie had firm control on the film,the movie studio even

accepted his way of making dynamic, ad-hoc changes to the story, which was unheard of in Hollywood. When released in US, it will come head to head with Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible II. Jackie admitted: " I'm honoured even if I lost at the box office."

Winning Trust with Real Stuff
The success of Jackie's first film had seen him changing the production model in Hollywood. When interviewed, Jackie said: "All this was mainly due to the success of Rush Hour. When you do things, you must have something that you are better than others before they trust you. In Rush Hour, the producer did not trust me wholeheartedly. But when the film was a box office hit, he came to me and said, ' Jackie, you were right!'

I told him, I wouldn't just cut and paste the Hong Kong production model to US. I would bring the smart stuff from Hong Kong, and blend it with Hollywood's systematic production model. That makes my movie dynamic. Like the axe throwing scene in Shanghai Noon; they trusted me 100%. In the past, they wouldn't let me do that. Now we use real axe, and they would say: 'Jackie, are you sure?' I said I can, so they threw the axes at me! I would calculate how far I have to move back, when to turn, and when to jump... and it all worked. So they trusted me completely."

Making Additions as He Sees Fit
"They wouldn't let me to do this in the past, but now they listen to me. After I finished the scene, everyone was stunned. Think how much money I just saved on special effects! All the green and blue screen! And it looked real! And through this, I began to bring my style of half-death-defying style to US, and they accepted them. Because if they didn't, they couldn't make it any other way. Now, whenever I have some new idea about a scene, I would ask for one or more extra days to try it out, and they will give me the time. In the past, if I asked for some ad-hoc stuff, they'll get real scared, because their system doesn't allow them to do so. Now it really is much better, and they've become accustomed to my dynamic style."

Old Tricks as New
For Shanghai Noon, Jackie added lots of specially designed action sequences, some originally reserved for Rush Hour II, some borrowed from Druken Master II. "There is a really interesting Drinking Game scene in Shanghai Noon, which originated from the producer watching me and Samo played it at a party. He wanted to put it in the film, and I wanted to reserve it for Rush Hour II. But the producer liked it so much he said he couldn't wait. So we put it in. They've also watched Druken Master II, and also liked the scene where I blew the bubbles, so we put one in as well. Although everyone who saw the scenes liked them, they were pretty hard to do."

Filming wasn't the only tough part: Jackie was suffering from an old back injury on the day of interview, and couldn't sit for any extended period of time. But he still perservered till the end of interview. But the second he talked about the best sequences in the film, he smiled: "In US I'm against Tom Cruise; his film opens on Wednesday, and mine on Friday. I'm honoured even if I loose. Think about it: Tom Cruise is a super star; now I'm head to head against him, so I'm also a super star!! Ha ha!!"

Sidebar 1
Photo 1: Jackie Jumping from cabin to cabin
Photo 2: Jackie holding onto rails on the cabin
Photo 3: Jackie and Owen playing the Drinking Game
Photo 4: Jackie blowing bubbles, again
Photos 5: Jackie ordering fido the horse. The fim used two similar looking horses for different scenes.

Sidebar 2
The ever changing looks of Jackie in Shanghai Noon
Photo 1: Soldier
Photo 2: Prison
Photo 3: in Ching Dynasty costume
Photo 4: Cowboy

Main Photo 1 Caption: The story of Shanghai Noon came from twenty years ago, when Jackie was making The Big Brawl in US.
Main Photo 2 caption : The axe throwing scene had stunned the US crew.
Main Photo 3 caption: Suffering from old back injury, it took the normally agile Jackie minutes jus to walk a short distance, with the need of help from others. Fame does come at a price.

Lawrence
lawmak@hk.super.net

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