and Isaiah. Congratulations on "Romeo Must Die." Good job!
Once it starts, from the beginning to the end you're glued right there.
You don't lose it. Will you both agree that it does follow to a certain
extent, Shakespeare's basic plot of "Romeo and Juliet?" The two families?
Washington: Oh yes, definitely.
Wong: In that sense, yeah. Both families at war.
the Asian and black families.
Wong: Perceived to be against each other.
there are other subplots. Usually, in Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet,"
it was the uncles that did all the dirty work. So your characters,
Mak and Kai....
Washington: Sort of taken from "Othello" and "Julius
Caesar" and kind of borrowed from some other wonderful pieces. If
you noticed that. (Laughter)
think it's important that we see Jet Li, an Asian in a romantic
lead, would you agree Russell?
Wong: I would agree. I think it's a good opportunity
for him. A good opportunity for a lot of Asian American actors and
love the football scene. The scene in the part with Jet. Was
Washington: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of
fun. And Jet is a lot of fun. He was very very open. Still is.
Very very generous. You know, I had a good time with him last night
with Mr. Chow at the party, that Joel Silver put together for everyone.
And all the people from the soundtrack were there. And he's going
to be a very formidable star. He's going to move into the
system pretty easy.
like the film in the sense that it was kind of a clash between two
cultures. What's this hip hop Oakland stuff, Isaiah?
Washington: Oh, it's very powerful. Hip hop is
a multi-billion dollar industry. I mean, the guys that are hip hop
artists were wearing jewellery that was probably my weekly salary
on this movie. (Laughter) You know, so it's worth a lot, it's very
powerful and very dynamic. So it's definitely a huge marketing
tool which Joel Silver was smart enough and innovative enough to
realize, "let's get the studio to put some powerhouse talents behind
this and make this kind of movie, and bring both these elements
together called hip hop culture and action and music, mix it up,
and throw it up on the screen and see what happens." And I think
we are all going to know what's going to happen.
yeah. And Aaliyah is just beautiful. I couldn't believe
it was her film debut. You have one great fight scene. There's
a couple, but I mean, a lot of choreography involved in that, Russell,
is it a lot of rehearsal and hard work?
Wong: Yeah, it is a lot of rehearsal. I started
out in martial arts about 17 years ago, on and off over the last
17 years, and had met the fight choreographer, Corey Yuen in Hong
Kong. So kind of planted the seed back then, and was always
looking forward to working with the Hong Kong martial arts directors
and Jet Li. It was always kind of like on my wish list and
it kind of finally manifested. I've been working on other
things in dance and acting and martial arts, and the opportunity
sort of presented itself, and so I put a lot of time and a lot of
rehearsal into the fight scenes.
Jim Ferguson: You looked pretty cool with the sun glasses.
Washington: Oh, he was always cool. He was always
Wong: Kai, Kai is cool. You know? The hair didn't
Isaiah Washington: I had for the first time,
actually I saw the first 25 minutes of the film, and I didn't realize
how much I was missing of him. Yesterday I was going on and
on and on about him, and how he looked in the final scene, not realizing
how he looked in the beginning and the middle, and the end. So,
I was like, wow, this is great!
these are the bad guys, believe it or not, in this film. But
they are really not so bad, you can tell that, Russell and Isaiah,
and again, congratulations. Don't miss "Romeo Must Die."