Als het cliché van veni, vidi, vici in recente jaren ooit ergens op van toepassing is geweest, dan is het wel op Jackie Chan's
kortstondige bezoek aan Rotterdam tijdens het filmfestival. Zijn fans stroomden in grote getalen toe en degenen die nog nooit
van hem gehoord hadden waren snel van dat euvel verholpen. Het ereburgerschap van Rotterdam werd hem dan door de neus
geboord, met de eerbetuigingen op het filmfestival was hij meer dan content: "That's a great honour to me. I at least get some
approval for what I've done all those years, they really gave me a bit of recognition. Not only as the action star, but also as
producer, director, everything." En die rol als producer/director/everything is er een die hij koestert, zo blijkt uit het nu
Hier, in een vorm van Engels zoals alleen hij dat spreekt (onvertaald en behouden in al zijn glorie), is Jackie Chan over zijn nieuwe projecten, filmen in Nederland, de onvermijdelijke hereniging van Hong Kong met China en zijn pensioen.
Could you tell us something about your latest film?
The new film was shot in Australia, Melbourne, it's called A Nice Guy. I'ts directed by Sammo Hung. This time I really didn't control anything, I just let Sammo Hung do everything. This time I'm not the policeman anymore, I'm a cook, but a cook who can fight. Of course there's a lot of action and comedy going on, especially in the ending, where we used the world's biggest truck, 250 tons. Under the truck we're doing some stunts.
It openend really good in Hong Kong. We broke the all-time record on the midnight shows, the opening in Taiwan is already very good, it opened well everywhere. Of course now in America and Canada it's First Strike, in Asia A Nice Guy, and some parts of Europe are showing Supercop. That means half the world is showing Jackie Chan movies right now.
If you were to describe yourself to a new audience, the way you combine action with comedy, how would you do that?
I think, tough like Stallone, comedy like Charlie Chaplin, stunts like Buster Keaton, fighting like Gene Kelly. A little bit of everything, and now that's called Jackie Chan-style.
Especially when I totally control my movie, you can tell. There's a lot of action, but no violence. I don't like to show after the punch some blood comes out from the nose and the mouth, or like a guy who has a shot wound in the stomach, it opens and all the blood comes out. I do have have kicking and punches, but when I fight it's like dancing. There's no sex scenes, no love scenes, rude words, dirty jokes. Always happy-go-lucky. That's the Jackie Chan philosophy, 'cause there are too many children that watch my movies.
Is that a reason for you to direct your own movies, to keep that philosophy in your films?
I've been directing myself for many years. Actually all those years I didn't stop, I always directed, on every movie. I totally control directing, producing, even my own company. This is why you can see Jackie Chan films, because I know what I want. The credit for me is not important anymore, you already know who I am. I have to let some other new talents come up. So on every new movie you can see I use new actresses and actors and new directors. Let some other new talent have a chance to work with me. Right now I've written a script, the title is Who Am I?. I'll use a director called Benny Chan to direct it with me.
You mentioned you were thinking about shooting some parts of that movie in Holland?
One month ago, I went to South Africa, Johannesburg to look for locations. I do have the idea to film in Johannesburg. After the safari, I wanted some of the modern things, so I went to the middle of Johannesburg, there was not enough, I went to the middle of Cape Town, but I didn't find the right location. Then I fly back to Hong Kong for a meeting at my office. Suddenly I see on the tv a documentary about Holland. Then I see the Holland people fighting against the water, how you build the gates, and highway bridges. I said that's interesting. I asked a contact in Holland and he said we have a film festival going on there. I said good, then I can do both.
After we came off the airplane, we were in a traffic jam and the car stops in front of the red light. I had a look around the city, what I could use, what I could explode in the city. Then suddenly I see the wooden shoes, that gave me a very good idea: one scene there's three guys, six foot tall, two hundred pounds, they fight me. I fight them and they don't feel hurt. They fight me and I hurt, so I turn around, run run away. Then I see the wooden shoes. I take off my shoes, and I just wear the wooden shoes. Now when they come and I give them a kick, it hurts them. After I turn around and walk in the street, even the sound is good: klak-klak-klak-klak, I'm running. I run to the museum, everybody's reading the newspapers, books, very quiet. Then suddenly the door opens, pow!, and I come running in on the wooden shoes. Then everybody turns around, a hundred people going shhh!, and I'm like: sorry, and then I go on very slowly.
I thought, that's very good comedy, where I just use something about Holland. I think that's a great idea. I like to use those kinds of things in my movies, so I believe we'll be filming here, because of the wooden shoes.
What are your views on the handover of Hong Kong to China? What effect do you think it will have on the Hong Kong film industry?
I think that's the question that everybody wants to ask. It did effect a lot of people, a lot of good friends of mine, they left for Canada, America, Australia. Myself I'm a film maker, not a politician, so in my movie, you don't see a lot of politics, besides I hate politics. All those years even my movies that were not made in China, the Chinese government let them be released in China. I see myself as a film maker, so that's why I stay in Hong Kong. At least I have to give the six million people the confidence. If I move, they'll go: Jackie's moving, emigrating to Canada, wow, Jackie's gone! I have to stay and besides I have great confidence for the next government.
What about the regulations for film making, censorship and the like, will they change?
I don't think so, because right now the Chinese government have to prove to the whole world that they can be better than Britain. At least they'll have to prove it to Macau and Taiwan. So I think we're getting better by it.
How strong is or was the grip of the triads on the HK movie industry?
It was very strong before. But later on, they killed each other, they killed everybody, that was good. But they now are gone. You know the triads always go with quick money. No matter where the quick money is, they'll go. Before the Hong Kong movie was very popular, so all the triads came in to make quick money. They sell the movie to the whole world, get like eight million back. They spend two million on the movie, so they just stick six million in the pocket. But the audience is very clever. They know what kind of movie is a full-of-shit movie, a rubbish movie. They never go to those movies anymore. This is why the last couple of years the Hong Kong movie drops. Nobody's going to see them anymore. So this is why the traids are gone. They moved to China and karaoke, because in China karaoke is just coming, so they move to karaoke. They are gone.
I think I am the lucky one, because I am not filming in Hong Kong, I always film outside of Hong Kong. Wherever I go, every government helps me. So that's why my movies are different from Hong Kong movies.
You've said before that you wanted to conquer Hollywood. You've already taken the rest of the world and now you're coming to Hollywood.
I've just finished a film with Sylvester Stallone, called An Alan Smithee Film. Stallone called me and said: Jackie, let's do it. It's not for the money, it's for fun. There's Stallone, me, and Whoopi Goldberg. We've finished the film, and we do have this other project going on, but my agency in America, William Morris, told me not to say anything yet. It's top secret. We'll probably announce that in June or July.
In the long term, would you consider going to work on a full-time basis in Hollywood, or would you always want to keep the HK-base in your films?
It's not Hong Kong, it's not Hollywood, it's Jackie Chan. Even now, Hollywood directors say to me: Hey Jackie, we should work together, but don't worry, when the fight scene comes, you're the director. That's what I want. I remember when I was making American movies, the stunt coordinator was teaching me how to fight. I ask him: how long have you been fighting? He says two years. I say I've been doing action scenes for twenty years, and you're teaching me how to fight. But what can you do, that's the union. And after I do the scene, they say: Jackie you've got to do it slower. I said why? Because the stunt man can not do it that fast. I say change the stunt man. We can't change him, that's the union.
So they made me punch real slow and stupid. It's very different from Hong Kong, even the best American stunt men, they can't do it. So this is why I always use my own team.
I treat every American director as a big director. I treat every writer as a big writer. They said:"Yes, I want to change you. You're gonna be a Clint Eastwood." And then, I was only twenty years old, of course now I'm still very young. When the film comes out it's like: Make my day. Twenty years old, how can I say "Make my day"? That is totally not me. So now I just do my own movies. I like my way.
You've done so many action comedies. Have you ever felt the urge to take on a very different type of role?
A lot of people ask me that. I tell you what, if the company would give me the same kind of money to make a love story, I'd like it! You know, slow motion on the beach, hugging a girl, kissing, oh I like it. But I don't think it's gonna happen and besides, I really like action. Because when you finish an all-action scene, of course I get hurt, I broke my ankle, broke my finger, it doesn't matter. That'll last three months, six months, but a movie lasts like a hundred and fifty years. When you look at it, especially in the theatre, you'll see the audience go: "Wow!" That makes me happy, now matter how hurt I am. I believe the audience after they go out and see it, they'll tell their friends: go see Jackie's new movie, there's some great action. If I do a love scene, I don't think the audience will go to their friends: go see Jackie have a good, good love and good kiss. I don't think so, so I still write action. Action is a body language. No matter what kind of people, they'll like it. Action films are the whole world.
How long do you think you can keep on doing all the physical stuff and all the action scenes?
That's what a lot of people ask me: "Don't you feel old? You're already forty". I'm different from other people, no matter physical or mentally, it's a very different body. I've been trainig since I was seven. I have a very good foundation, a basic training, not like some people who are forty years old, and who've been training karate for a few years. So my body is very different from other people. Even you younger than me, I'm faster than you. I believe I still have three or four years to go. After that I will retire, I'll become a stunt-coordinator or director-producer. These last couple of years I'm looking for the new talent, who are now like sixteen or seventeen, to work with me, to learn the basic things. Be a dolly man, just work with me every day, even when I'm editing, they should learn how to edit it. Then I'm training them to be the new Jackie Chan.
Have you found anyone yet?
I've been finding a lot of pretty girls, not the men. I receive a lot of letters from India, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong. I just have to find the right man.