Free tickets to Jackie Chan’s 1911
Unlike his past comedic roles, Jackie chan is taking on a serious, historical character in his 100th film.
Do not let his onscreen clowning antics fool you. Jackie Chan knows history. He also knows how to weave his personal history into the larger picture.
For the milestone 100th movie of his almost four-decade career, the Hong Kong action star has chosen to make 1911, a movie about the Xinhai Revolution that toppled the Qing Dynasty and established the Republic of China, for release in the centenary of the historical event.
“I pushed away all my other film projects just to finish 1911 because the film would lose its significance if it were to be released later,” he said in Cantonese at a press conference in Hong Kong recently.
Chan, 57, had been due to start production on his other upcoming movie Chinese Zodiac, the third and final instalment of the Armor Of God movies, which is due out next year and co-stars South Korean star Kwon Sang Woo, and the sequel to his Hollywood project The Karate Kid last year, starring Jaden Smith.
In awe of the revolution’s place in history, he added: “Go and watch the movie, understand how our ancestors fought for what we have right now and treasure it. It’s important for all Chinese, both in China and overseas, to understand our own Chinese culture and remember that what we have today is due to the sacrifices our ancestors made. That is the reason I chose to do this.”
Clearly, in the face of such a momentous anniversary, his comedic kungfu side has to take a back seat.
In 1911, which he co-directed, he plays military commander Huang Xing, Dr Sun Yat Sen’s partner who helps the revolutionary leader overthrow the corrupt Qing government. It is his first attempt at portraying a historical character in a film and he had to stretch acting muscles in ways he had not known before.
Whereas in countless previous movies, he did not think twice about jumping off a tall building in a single bound and taking a punch in the face for the sake of physical comedy, here, Chan had to pause and take stock of emotional and dramatic nuances.
Perhaps his biggest challenge during the film shoot was a bedroom scene, a rarity in his career.
The man has never complained about the numerous life-threatening injuries he suffered while making movies. Yet his confidence wavered when asked to get intimate with Chinese actress Li Bingbing, who plays nurse Xu Zonghan, Huang Xing’s wife.
“I didn’t think it was necessary and I’m not used to acting in such romantic scenes in movies,” he said during an interview.
But his co-director Zhang Li – the cinematographer of Red Cliff (2008) and Red Cliff II (2009) – insisted on mixing history with a bit of romance. So he went reluctantly along with the suggestion, unsure of whether it would make the final cut.
Chan described his mental state before the scene: “I was extremely nervous and put a lot of thought into the entire process, including whether to place my hands – behind her head, buttocks or back – during the kiss.”
Li, on the other hand, was a total professional and took charge, he said with a laugh. “She came up to me and said, ‘ We’re no longer Jackie Chan or Li Bingbing. You’re my husband and I’m your wife, we must enjoy this moment.’ ’’
Whether or not Chan finally immersed himself in the scene and enjoyed the moment is not something audiences will get to see: That passionate smooch did not make the final cut.
His sentimental side, if not his lothario skills in front of the camera, impressed Li, though. The 38-yearold star, who won Best Actress at the Golden Horse Awards in 2009 for The Message, said: “I saw an emotional side of Jackie in this film. He can cry on cue anytime, he’s that good.”
1911 marks another milestone, a smaller one, for Chan: It is the first movie that features him and his son Jaycee, 29, who has a minor role as an army officer on the side of the rebels.
Chan senior does not share screen time with Chan junior, but found time to talk to him on set.
Before 1911, Chan was unwilling to engage in nepotism and help boost Jaycee’s career. The strict father was intent on pushing his son to earn his own spurs.
His slight change of heart was inspired by Hollywood actor Will Smith, who openly throws his weight behind the roles that his son Jaden and daughter Willow play in Tinseltown. Smith is a producer on The Karate Kid, where Jaden plays the titular lead role.
The Chan household, however, operates differently. Chan said: “I can’t put aside my career just to support Jaycee. It might just turn out to be nought.”
Even after more than 35 years in the film business, he shows no signs of slowing down HERE is a chance to watch Jackie Chan’s 100th movie, 1911, a day before it opens in local cinemas nationwide.
GSC Movies is giving away 106 pairs of free passes to The Star readers. Redemption and screening is only for those aged 18 and above. n 1911 opens in Malaysian cinemas on Oct 13. and credits his busy schedule, regular exercise and many film projects for helping him stay in shape.
And he is in shape. Chan being Chan, he is probably still best at being a man in action in 1911, such as in a small action scene of fistfights and nimble footwork.
Far trickier for him was the need to wield sharp knives while emoting and reciting the script’s traditional style of spoken Chinese.
He described an emotional scene with Li, who rushes towards him to wrestle a long, sharp knife from him: “You’re doing so many things at one time and the knife wasn’t a prop. There was a danger that I could have stabbed her accidentally.”
Thankfully, Li was not hurt during filming – traumatised, maybe. She recalled her greatest challenge was having to spend hours crawlinging in a cold, muddy field for a scene where her character had to pull out the mangled bodies of revolutionary soldiers, after they suffered a crushing defeat by the Qing government’s forces.
“I got stuck calf-deep wherever I stepped. There was mud all over my face and hair and it was so cold. I forgot I was acting, I felt like I was transported back in time and living in the time of war.” Chan agreed that the recreation of the brutal battle scenes felt all too real. “I cannot imagine if it were real life. At that moment I felt, let’s not have war anymore. We must treasure peace.”
The lengths they went to would be worth it, he added, if the movie makes an impact on audiences.
“I want this film to be really worth remembering, not the type where audiences come to watch me, laugh and go home.” – The Straits Times/ Asia News Network
Details and conditions
Date: oct 12 (Wednesday) Redemption: 7pm Screening: 9pm Venue: GSC Mid Valley, Kuala Lumpur > Just cut out this coupon and redeem your tickets at the cinema stated above. > only original coupons will be accepted (no photocopies, please). > Each coupon redeems two tickets, on a first-come, firstserved basis, while stocks last. > Each person is entitled to redeem one coupon only.