Jet Li Talks About Forbbiden Kingdom
On March 5, Huayi Brothers signed an agreement with One Foundation, a charity organisation founded by Jet Li that aims at raising funds to help those in need. For the next 10 years starting from the release Forbidden Kingdom, which opens on April 17, for the sales of each ticket to any films that Huayi Brothers produces, excluding films they distribute, the company will donate 10 cents (in Chinese yuan) to One Foundation. Four major Huayi Brothers’ cinema operator partners will also be contributing 1 cent (in yuan) for the sales of each Forbidden Kingdom film ticket.
While the main theme of the event was charity, everyone’s more concerned about the upcoming release US$70m Forbidden Kingdom, which sees the two highest paid Chinese actors and martial arts superstars Jet Li and Jackie Chan finally pairing up and squaring off on the silver screen, after 15 years of talks, proposals, and incubations.
Under Yuen Wo Ping’s meticulous and creative martial arts choreography, Forbidden Kingdom lends a brand new interpretation to Jet Li and Jackie’s martial arts scenes and roles, the whole film is lively, bathed in fantastical colours.
Jet Li’s rather surprised by Li Bing Bing’s command of English, “Big brother Jackie and I are hoary doughsticks, especially pertaining to Hollywood productions. When we have scenes opposite each other, we’d paste our lines on the other’s costumes. Both our memories are failing and we are too lazy to memorise our lines. We may appear to be assessing, sizing up, looking daggers at each other, but in reality, we are looking for our lines.”
“Initially, I was worried about Li Bing Bing’s English, for unlike Liu Yi Fei, she has never stayed abroad before. Unexpectedly, Li Bing Bing spoke so decently, and her lines were all very long. I was very amazed.” Even Yuen Wo Ping would often make use of Li Bing Bing, who strives to do everything herself, as an example to edify these two antiquated doughsticks, Jet Li says, “It’s time I reflected on this hoary doughstick’s manner of doing things.”
While both Jackie Chan and Jet Li are martial artists, Jet Li laments that he shot the works and risked too much when younger, resulting in countless injuries, some of which developed complications. Now both Jet Li and Jackie Chan would not take as much risks, and would depend on stuntmen to complete more demanding action, “Often, we’re loath to handle some actions personally. On thinking of having to jump down from such great heights, and having to be suspended by wires, we’d have second thoughts.”
Jet Li also dispels rumours of he and Jackie Chan not getting along with each other due to competition. They have known each other for many years. They got acquainted on 1985, when Jet Li just arrived in Hong Kong. They became close friends, but they’d only meet privately, without letting the media know.
“When filming Hollywood productions, they give you money, you have to stay on the set, even if you aren’t shooting. So, we’re often on the set. When the environmentally conscious big brother Jackie’s free, he would clean up the place, vacuuming the dust.” says Jet Li, who has already grown accustomed to the way Hollywood shoots a film.
“We are more laidback nowadays. Neither of us would compare or compete with each other, we are old hands, we’ve looked past all these, we know that this is but a commercial film, it’s fine as long as we are all happy working together.”
Jet Li smiles, adding that Jackie Chan treats him very nicely, “I’m more introverted, merely provide ideas in my heart. He’s more outgoing, he often brings many items to the set and distributes to everyone. He gives me 40 to 50 items, including protective gears, very considerate. So, I call him ‘auntie’. He is very fastidious, like a well-equipped supermarket, he has everything, from umbrellas, glasses, to backpacks. Whenever I am short of anything, I would ask from him.”
As to the most anticipated “Battle of Two Js”, Jet Li feels that they have a strong connection, when they fought, they felt a sense of familiarity, for they have had years of training in martial arts. They hit it off very well. They got very thrilled the more they fight. Alas, two weeks weren’t enough for them to fully relish the moment. However, Jet Li hopes that the audience would treat this movie ordinarily, “Don’t get your expectations too high up for the major brawl between me and Jackie Chan, this is but a fulfilment of our wishes to collaborate with each other, to spar against each other.” Tianjin Daily, The Beijing News | Photos: MOP, Sina