He’s the knight-errant possessing unique skills in Gao Qunshu’s Wind Blast, he’s the mutant hunter in Benny Chan’s City Under Siege, while in Shaolin, he has turned into a warrior monk. No matter where he goes, Wu Jing has never left behind the words “kung fu”, yet this status also confines his acting career within certain shackles.
On the last day of October, when Wu Jing, travelling with director Gao Qun Shu to promote Wind Blast, on the one hand remarked how he’s not used to life in the entertainment circle, on the other hand, fielded all kinds of interviews and questions thrown at him with ease and aplomb.
In the peaks of martial arts films, we can use “hundred flowers blossoming freely” to describe the action stars, however, now, everyone just wants to see Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan, or Jet Li. When they start thinking that there is also a Wu Jing, and in terms of strengths, he is very good too. Here comes this question, why no one thinks of Wu Jing first when talking about kungfu films?
Wu Jing: I have no idea, I could only try to find the reasons within myself, perhaps I’m still lacking in life experience, but I think that is is a good thing, for it allows me to lay more groundwork.
Donnie Yen has waited for more than ten years before reaching his current status, how long must you wait?
Wu Jing: Some says times make hero, but other also says hero makes times. Definitely, I would wish to create an era that belongs to me, but this has much to do with chance, timing, people, affinity, and personal criteria, I feel that I should not dwell too much upon it, when the time has arrived, it would erupt unstoppably.
As Jet Li’s junior, since the day you stepped into this field, you’ve always been compared to this Emperor of Kungfu, there are still many people who see you as the successor to Jet Li.
Wu Jing: Jet Li is my idol, all his achievements are worthy of my learning. But I won’t be his successor. I succeed my own self! Director Benny Chan told me that movie-making is like a marathon, I just have to keep on going along the path I’m taking.
Many people have difficulty understanding why you’re always going to Hong Kong to shoot films?
Wu Jing: I’m not that fond of going to Hong Kong either, but there are hardly any Mainland kungfu films being produced. Don’t you think that going to Hong Kong is such a glorious matter, I was forced by circumstances, I have no other options.
As a result of this helplessness, you would just accept any films? Based on your works in the recent years, the best are SPL and Fatal Contact, other films are trashed by people, many don’t understand why would Wu Jing be doing so many bad films?
Wu Jing: You must have watched Fatal Contact on home video. The film was not released theatrically in Mainland. Actually, regarding the bad films that everyone says, it’s not something that is within the control of an actor, every time I get a script, as an actor, I just do my part playing my part well, as to how the film turns out, it’s beyond my control.
Are your kungfu film dreams in Hong Kong fulfilled yet?
Wu Jing: There is still some distance away from fulfilling my pursuits of kungfu film dreams, actually, life was not a bed of roses during those days of working in Hong Kong, I faced countless restrictions, and often encountered obstacles arising from language issues, cultural differences. There are some experiences that I really could not say, some things are far too dark. So, there was a time when I often listened to Guo De Gang’s standup comedies to ease myself, to soothe my nerves.
Yet knowing fully well that this is a path of hardships, no matter what kind of roles, and the size of the roles, I always abide by this maxim – seriousness. Really, there is nothing that cannot be persisted, since I started training in wushu at the age of 6, I have broken my nose bridge, hurt my knee-joint, pulled my muscles, all these were part and parcel of my life. All these pains and injuries were my experiences, what else is there that I couldn’t prevail over? Anyhow, I’m still young, I could afford to dawdle.
Invisible Target earned you a nomination for 44th Golden Horse Awards’ best supporting role award. But ultimately, it didn’t manage to break the curse that kungfu stars and awards are mutually exclusive, any regrets?
Wu Jing: No, opportunities would always be accorded to those who have done their homework, I believe that as long as I persevere, one day, I’ll get my payoffs.
These days, many action stars, including Jet Li and Jackie Chan, are “putting aside military for civility”, have you ever considered this?
Wu Jing: I have not thought of this for now, I better excel as an action actor first.
Since Legendary Assassin, you’ve started working as a director, are you intending to accumulate experiences before returning to Mainland to shoot kungfu films, or do you wish to work behind the scenes as you’re tired of fighting?
Wu Jing: I have never ever been tired of fighting, I am just beginning to get to the thrills of it, actually, I do wish to gain experiences, so that I could direct my own kungfu films. When you direct and act in the same film, to put it nicely, you’re the decision maker, but the stress is tremendous as well.
While shooting Legendary Assassin, I was in a state of delirium. What kind of direction is action genre heading? Where is the market? At a Nanjiang farm, I was sitting depressed in a trance, my best friend’s wife consoled me, “Little Wu, it’s alright.” The protective layer in my heart was poked through, I cried out loudly. After that, I thought, I could even recover from paralysis, what else were there that I couldn’t surmount?
So, you would continue directing your own works?
Wu Jing: Definitely, I have already made enough preparation works for my next subject matter, it’s a military themed film, set in modern days, but I can’t reveal too much right now.
Those who know you say you’re deranged, why?
Wu Jing: Haha, I’m indeed deranged, I dare toy with death, car stunts, explosions, doing all these myself, without stunt doubles.
So, in Wind Blast, you’ve been madcap as well?
Wu Jing: Yes, there was a scene, I had to brake just before the edge of cliff, when filming, I was completely immersed in acting. Screeeeech, the car stopped, I was almost tossed out by the force of the sudden brake. It did matter if I was the only deranged, but Charlie Yeung was also implicated, her pregnancy throw up was actually due to carsickness, for I swerved too violently, drove too fast. In the end, every time Charlie Yeung got out of the car, after vomitting, she would begrudgingly tell me, “Thank you so much for helping me get me into my character!” Haha…
You have gained much from this film?
Wu Jing: Indeed! This is my most thrilling work yet. Duan Yihong and Uncle Ni Dahong came from acting schools, I would often pester them on how to be more focused on acting. Sometimes, we would get together for merriments. Xiaoxiang Morning Herald