Movie first, family later for Jackie Chan

 Movie first, family later for Jackie Chan
The cast of period action film Dragon Blade

Action superstar Jackie Chan's son Jaycee, who was sentenced to six months in jail for a drug offence by a China court, is expected to be released soon.

But there will not be a family reunion at Chinese New Year, including with his wife, former actress Lin Feng-jiao.

Chan, 60, who is promoting his new movie, Dragon Blade, will be travelling in China.

He says: "Movies are more important than meeting up with family. Once the movie is over, it's gone. But after it's all over, I'll see him sooner or later."

In Singapore for Dragon Blade events, he adds that he has nothing more to say to Jaycee upon his release.

"I won't say anything to him. I believe he has reflected on what he's done and will face his life positively from now on. He has received the punishment he deserved and I don't want to hurt him again."

Still, he acknowledges that 2015 is a good year for him because the "xiao wang ba dan" (little b******) will be released from jail.

Prior to Jaycee's jail term, father and son had been working together on Chan's album.

"Seven songs were recorded in 2013, so the album was stuck there when he went in. So I want him to complete the remaining five songs as soon as possible when he gets out," says Chan.

The East-meets-West period action movie Dragon Blade boasts an international cast of stars from Asia and Hollywood.

In the film, set in the Han dynasty, Chan plays the commander of the Silk Road Protection Squad who forms an unlikely friendship with actor John Cusack's Lucius, a Roman general on the run from the villainous Tiberius, played by Adrien Brody.

There is no question, though, who the "da ge" (big brother) holding court is.

At the press conference yesterday, which also saw the attendance of American actors Cusack and Brody, Korean hunk Choi Si Won from boyband Super Junior and China actresses Lin Peng and Mika Wang, it was clear that Chan was the boss.

When media crowds the front of the stage to take pictures at the beginning, he says: "Hello, everyone, let's take a seat, okay? We're not leaving. Thank you, now, much much better."

And when Lin, 28, speaks about her shooting experience, Chan launches into a lecture on how actors have it easy and that it is the crew that works the hardest. "Actors need to appreciate the director and scriptwriter and be thankful to the crew because they are the ones who are most rested, arriving late and leaving early," he says.

At the end of it, Lin says she no longer dares to answer the question about how tough filming was for her.

The reverence for Chan extends to the American actors, who both profess to be fans of the veteran action star, saying they had watched his old Golden Harvest movies and practised the moves of Chan and Bruce Lee.

Brody, 41, says: "I've been a fan of Jackie my whole life. It is beyond a thrill to have learnt from Jackie and to have been able to play together, that was very, very exciting."

To which Cusack, 48, adds: "If you can work with Jackie, that's the peak. I started doing martial arts when I was 21, it's like I worked my whole life to get to this point."

When Chan asks him, "What's my name?", Cusack's immediate response is "Da ge".

The US$65 million (S$88 million) film was shot on location in the harsh Gobi Desert and the massive undertaking involved 350 crew members, 800 extras and 200 horses.

"We finished 2,000 cases of water in five days," notes Chan.

Temperatures fluctuated from below freezing in the morning to a brutal 50-plus deg C in the afternoon.

Chan adds: "We ate a lot of sand during lunch. When the sandstorm came, we needed to cover up immediately because in a second or two, your hair would turn white and you couldn't even wash it off."

The shoot might have been tough, but it was also inspirational for Cusack.

"The crew, the actors and the director don't want to be anywhere else and they're so passionate and they work so hard that you get very inspired. It makes me want to go back to China and make more movies.



This article was first published on Feb 11, 2015.
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