Free tick­ets to Jackie Chan’s 1911

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By CH­ERYL TAN 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.

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