Chan: 'Olympics not about politics'
I know you can be very critical of your own work, so are you pleased with the way this turned out?
Every time I make an American film I just trust the American director. I would never make this kind of film, because these kinds of films are ridiculous. It doesn't make sense. The American audience is more interested in this kind of film, this kind of movie.
I am surprised, because it feels very much like you with the "drunken fist." What part do you think didn't make sense?
The whole thing. Why would the Drunken Master mess with the Monkey King? And why Monkey King? Now I hear so many good things about the movie, and everybody talks about it, but I still worry. It's just like Rush Hour; I watch it and I say: "My career is finished."
You are in your 50s; what kind of adjustments have you had to make with martial arts at your age?
I've been changing my style in the last five or six years. Right after Around the World in 80 Days I started work on The Myth, Robin-B-Hood, then Rush Hour 3 and Forbidden Kingdom. Now, I have just finished a movie called The Shinjuku Incident. It's one per cent action. It's heavy, heavy drama. I want a change. I want to be a real actor, not an action star. An action star's life is very short. I'm the myth. Jackie Chan is a myth. I'm still surviving right now, but in 30 years, how am I going to keep fighting? I have to change, change, and change.
You got a little bit injured in this movie. Have you found the secret to not getting hurt is doing voice work like you did in the Kung Fu Panda?
Who and what?
Kung Fu Panda? Did you like doing that animation?
How did you get injured?
I can't actually remember. But making a Hollywood film, you don't usually have many injuries. They have insurance for you on the set. Whatever I do I have to check with them first.
The Forbidden Kingdom is a historical film, because you and Jet Li star together. There are also a lot of references to Bruce Lee in the movie. How do you look back and see that era?
Of course, Bruce Lee did help Jet and me bring this great art form to the world market. He introduced martial arts that everybody knows. Twenty years later, they bring me in and later they bring Jet Li.
How do you see the future of martial arts films?
I think that martial arts are not traditional anymore. Now martial arts include acrobatics, high jumps, and high kicks. Now we include special effects to make things look better, but traditionally martial arts are slow.
What does it mean for a director to direct Jackie Chan?
Like Burt Reynolds, he's not the action. I do the action sequences, you just direct the drama or comedy, and that's okay.
Is being humble very important?
Learn more things before you come to direct me, otherwise the crew will be shaking on set.
Will you be in Beijing for the Olympics?
I'm the Olympics Ambassador. The Olympics is the Olympics, and you cannot mix it with politics. Politics for me is love, peace and unity. I just don't know why people come out to oppose it. It happens everywhere, every four years. I just want to say please understand there are some bad countries, but we should enjoy the games for what they are about, which in the end is sport.
Finally, how did it feel to do the "drunken fist" after all these years?
I feel very embarrassed. I refused this movie in the beginning. But then I decided to do it and found that I loved it.
I think the audiences will like it because it looks so special unlike anything else, am I correct?
Really? Okay. That depends on the box office. We will have to wait to see what people think. The next movie will then have to be called the Forbidden Drunken Master.
Hong Kong-born Chan, 54, is one of the best-known names in kung fu and action films worldwide. He is known for his acrobatic fighting style, innovative stunts, his use of improvised training and his comic timing.
An actor since the 1970s, he has appeared in over 100 films, and has received stars on the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He is also famous for portraying the Wushu martial art technique, Zuì Quán, literally translated as Drunken Fist in the 1978 movie Drunken Master, where he played a juvenile delinquent who learns the art. As a Cantopop and Mandopop star, he has released 20 albums, and has sung many of the theme songs for the films in which he has starred.
He is a keen philanthropist and a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador for charitable causes. In June 2006, he announced that he would donate half of his assets to charity upon his death.