Jackie Chan will never quit movies

Jackie Chan will never quit movies

The very friendly Jackie Chan answers our questions with a constant smile on his face.
Attention surrounds "CZ12" as the purported last movie of Jackie Chan's career but the superstar, who was in Kuala Lumpur recently, clarifies his film star status which will still continue to shine. As he sits down with Cinema Online, the action star speaks freely without any inhibitions as he talks about making the movie as well as revealing personal thoughts about retirement and death. At times joking, at times serious, one thing is for sure, you will never cease to be entertained by Jackie Chan, even out of the silver screen.

Cinema Online's interview with Jackie Chan was conducted on 16 December at The Ritz-Carlton, KL.

Q: Jackie, good to see you again! It's been such a long time since the last time you were in Malaysia. We were all so sad to hear that "CZ12" was going to be your last movie, it's not really going to be your last movie, right?
Jackie: No, definitely not. I think it's a misunderstanding by the media, it's my last big action movie, that's all. I'm still going to do action movies but with less involvement with the stunts. Maybe I would use stunt doubles or special effects. After such a big movie, maybe the judges (fans) will forgive me for doing something smaller in scale.

Q: We recall that being Superman has been at the top of your list for quite a while. If a producer comes to you with the offer, would you take it up?
Jackie: Yes! Definitely yes! I will be willing to do it with less salary! Looking at American superhero movies like the "Superman" and "Batman" franchises, the star always put on the mask, make a movement and then the director goes "cut!". All they need to do is continue the acting after all the heavy stunts and special effects are done. They take off the mask, look tired and it's done. The American production teams are very smart, they can really turn anyone into an action star by utilising technology which looks better than what we are doing. It's so clever and easy! I don't know how to use these things and it's sad that I have to use my own body to achieve effects. Please do invite me to make movies like that so I don't need to risk my life to do all kinds of dangerous stunts.

Q: A signature of Jackie Chan movies is that you do every one of your stunts. It would be sad for fans that you won't be able to do that anymore but at the same time, we are happy that you won't be risking your life too much anymore. How many bones have you broken making "CZ12"?
Jackie: Too many. I can't really remember. I've accumulated a lot of broken bones along the years that I can't keep track anymore.

Q: You've had such a rich experience doing stunts all your life. Have you had any trouble with any stunts in this movie?
Jackie: Yes. Quite a number. The rollerblading suit in the opening scene, the skydiving and all the action sequences were a challenge. It wasn't just two people in an empty room exchanging hands. It's a different era now. You have to use so many other side elements mixed with action or it will bore the audience. I always tell people that I am always scared when doing stunts. My heart beats rapidly with the fear that I might die, or break my head or hands. But somehow, I just do it. I guess I'm just used to coping with the pain. If I knew beforehand I would break an ankle, I probably would never do a stunt. But since you never know what happens until you do it, I guess, I just do it. I consider myself lucky for never ending up in a wheelchair throughout my action stunt career.

Q: You have a lot of friends who cameo in the movie. Jonathan Lee, for example, who is your long time friend. Plus the additional new female stars by your side. How do you go about casting which roles to who?
Jackie: Well, Zhang Lanxin was picked by my stunt team while Yao Xintong was picked by my art director. I'm not used to picking my own cast but I trust my casting director to do it. If you watch the old Jackie Chan movies, you will notice that all the female leads look similar with the same skirts with white socks and white shoes. I don't want a repeat of the same girl appearing over and over in my movies so I hire people to work on casting. But when it comes to the less important, smaller roles, I will cast my friends like Jonathan Lee and Kenny G, who plays the airplane pilot.

Q: Your wife, Joan Lin actually makes an appearance in the movie. What made you decide to cast her?
Jackie: When the movie was nearly finished, I realised that I wanted more elements added into the film. I wanted a comedy action movie that had a warm feeling of family. That's why I used Jiang Wen as a voiceover in the beginning and also a cameo by Daniel Wu in the movie. Then, I started thinking about who I wanted to use at the end of the movie and the thought about using Joan crossed my mind. It wasn't an easy job, mind you. I was begging her to do it for almost a year and she finally agreed to one shot. I promised her to only use 0.1 second of her footage.

Q: It took you seven years to finish the film. Which part took you the longest to prepare?
The research. It took me quite a while to conduct a proper research on fake national treasures are manufactured and which world treasures are still currently missing. I had to go into detail on how the forgery is done in order to make the movie a solid one. I also had to find out what happened to the other five zodiac heads. Are they really missing? Or is someone keeping it? I had to go through so many people to find out, even auction houses. They confirmed that only seven heads surfaced while five were indeed still missing. It was only after making sure that I can start filming. If not, it would be quite awkward to find out that the dragon head, for instance, is in broad daylight while my film claimed it to be missing. That was the most difficult part.

Q: What was it like working with French actress, Laura Weissbecker, who plays Katherine in the movie?
Jackie: She's amazing. She's currently learning Mandarin now. When we were on the set, everyone was either speaking in Mandarin or Cantonese. We always forget that she doesn't understand the language and she was always saying: "English! English, please!" And one day, she suddenly sprouted out a "Thank you, Big Brother!" in Mandarin to me. I was very surprised by that. I ended up using a similar scene in the movie.

Q: We read that you also won a Guinness World Record for "Most Stunts Performed by a Living Actor" and "Most Credits in One Movie". How do you feel about that?
Jackie: Well, I was also cameraman, lighting man, and so many other roles that I can't remember. It was easy for me to help the crew out because I was born in the studio. I was hands-on with everything. But it never occurred to me that I will be listed in the Guinness World Record. I never thought much about it. I just thought it would be good to provide the younger generation of film crews some pointers.

Q: There is a particular scene where you were soaring in the sky. We heard the flying scene in the movie alone cost RMB1 million to make.
Jackie: Actually, it was RMB1 million a day for 15 days. The aerial fighting scenes were done in Australia, the flying scenes I did was filmed in Latvia, the volcano featured in the scene was in Vanuatu while the clothes we had on were from Hong Kong. A total of four cities featured in a four and a half minute scene. Other countries we filmed at include Shanghai, Paris, Beijing and Taiwan. Just travelling alone took up a big chunk of the budget. It wasn't just about transport, it was also about paying for the hotels, the crew's pocket money etc. In China alone, we had 350 people on the set everyday, Paris had around 200 people, Latvia was around 100 while Vanuatu had around 60 and Australia around 80. Even in Hong Kong we used around 100 people.

Jackie takes "CZ12" very seriously as his biggest tribute to fans.
Q: Is there a story you wished you had done but never before?
Jackie: A love story, drama, bed scenes with kissing (laughs). Slow motion running at the beach! That would be good. Michelle Yeoh would be a good choice (laughs again). In all my years of making films, I never had a single kissing scene with my dragon ladies. No one ever hired me for a love story. Call me for that!

Q: Is there any chance you might consider making "Rumble in the Bronx 2", considering it was your US breakout movie?
Jackie: I have no idea how long have I been in the industry nor how many movies I've made so far. All I know is that I just do it everyday with the best I can. So, a sequel to "Rumble in the Bronx", I don't know. Everyday, I would think about new movie ideas, who knows, I might have an idea about the sequel on a Saturday. Maybe it will happen. But definitely not now.

Q: What would you consider to be your most memorable moment all these years in the film industry?
More than 50 years making movies, right? There are just too many to handpick a moment. There was the moment when I got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. That was quite a memorable one.

Q: Is there any point in your career where you considered giving up making movies?
Jackie: (Thinks) Yes. You know, in all my years making movies, I have never shed a single tear. But while I was filming "CZ12" in Latvia, the first assistant director suddenly announced that it was the last shot. He called out to me: "Big brother, last shot and we finish the whole movie!". And I just suddenly cried, with big droplets of tears falling down my face. If you asked me why I cried, I really don't know. I just did. I was actually contemplating retirement and planning for this to be my last movie. Retirement has always been on my mind all this while. I have never stopped thinking about when should be the right time for me to quit making movies.

Q: But by what you told us just now, this isn't really your last.
Jackie: I should be saying that this is my last movie, but I love the film industry too much to give it up, which explains why I changed my mind to amend my statement and tell my fans instead that this is my last big action movie. If you asked for my opinion on which is my best movie, I would say it's "CZ12". Would I do something like this in the future? Probably not. When I was in Vanuatu, I was standing right at the edge of the volcano taking a photo and doing some research for the movie. Suddenly the volcano erupted. My assistant was shouting for me to run away but I just stood there watching the lava. The thought crossed my mind that if I were to die at this moment, it wouldn't be a bad thing.

Q: That does sound a little extreme for a death wish. Wouldn't it be better to consider retirement and take time off from your busy life?
Jackie: Well, I don't really like to die nor am I looking forward to retirement. So, let me put it this way, take James Dean and Bruce Lee for example, the both of them died at the peak of their careers and became instant legends of the film industry. They died young. If something hits me at the volcano, it would be a great way to go, with people going "Wow, Jackie died doing a movie." If you are talking about retirement, to tell the truth, I wouldn't know what to do with the rest of my life if I stopped making movies. With "Police Story 2013", which also will be an action movie, you might spot a stunt double or special effects, but you will forgive me, right? Because I said this is my 'last big action movie'.

Q: You are Jackie Chan! Of course we would forgive you especially if you decide to keep churning out movies. Would you be using a lot of computer graphics for "Police Story 2013"?
Jackie: I think special effects would be very tough to include in the movie. But at least maybe I won't need to personally do all the stunts myself.

Q: With so many years of experience in the industry, what are your thoughts about your career so far?
Jackie: When I was young and making movies, all decisions were made by the director. I wasn't in control of the movies I starred in. Rather, I was controlled by the money. I did what I was paid to do. When the movies came out, it wasn't Jackie Chan movies. I could see it, the audience could see it. When I gained more fame, I wrote my own scripts and directed myself because I know me best. And sure enough, the audience agrees that those are my best work. The best Jackie Chan movies like the "Police Story" franchise, "Rumble in the Bronx" and "Drunken Master 2" attests to that. Those are Jackie Chan style movies.

Q: Would you be shooting in Malaysia again anytime soon?
Jackie: Hmmmm...I really don't know.

Q: We don't want to take too much of your time anymore. But thanks for sitting down with us for a chat!
Jackie: No problem. And thank you Cinema Online!

Related Movies:
CZ12 (English / Mandarin / Cantonese) (20 Dec 2012)

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