Mike Kai chatted with Jet Li at a press roundtable the day before
the world premiere of his latest movie Cradle 2 the Grave
produced by Joel Silver (Lethal Weapon 4, Romeo Must Die).
2 the Grave features a blend of East meets West where kung fu
meets street fighting, choreographed by legendary martial arts director
Corey Yuen (Lethal Weapon 4, Romeo Must Die). Jet
talks about how Buddhism and his fans at his website JetLi.com
are influencing his work, and his next film as a break away from
the official site at Cradle2theGrave.com.
Also, the Cradle 2 the Grave contest has been extended with new
to win at RottenTomatoes.com!
Li in Cradle 2 the Grave
attracted you to do this role?
was working in China making the movie, Hero. Joel
[Producer Joel Silver] called me [saying] we had another film to
work together. I worked with him with Romeo Must Die, several
years ago so I said ok, lets do it for fun.
you are the only good guy in this movie? You’re the only one on
the side of justice and the law in the whole movie.
think that he [my character] also tries to do bad things, like revenge,
that is not right. He tries to find the bad guy and bring back
what’s the trick to making these work as "movie" movies
and action movies at the same time? Some movies get one part right
and not the other part right. And obviously you want to get both
right at the same time.
think for martial arts and film, [it's] composing. We try to make
them together. Sometimes martial arts and story do not work. It
is really difficult to make use the right way, so that film can
help the whole story.
you think it works with this film?
film is entertainment right? (laughs) Music, Fight!...Some
movies work very serious. Because you believe the director and
the story, like Hero… we worked for six months, everyone
believes the director, we worked very hard, many details. With
Cradle 2 the Grave, its kind of just… go there and work.
I know the story but you just do the acting part, something you
believe that is right, just do what the producer says. Just do it
you done a film that you think is your best film, your favorite?
movies are very good that change my career, like Shaolin Temple,
Once Upon a time Chine, Fist of Legend, Hero. But I always work
very hard each time. Some, you just do your job, but these are
people ever challenge you to fight?
no. Because I never say I’m the best fighter in the world. I just
do martial arts, an athlete, and I make movies. Just a normal guy
who plays a role. I’m not a tough guy, everyone could beat me pretty
important is it for you to succeed in the States? What does that
mean to you?
the beginning, of course you are happy because the Hollywood production
model is much bigger than the Hong Kong films. They spend more money
and distribute the films around the world and reach more audience. I
think since five years I’ve studied Buddhism. Right now I try to
do my best in each film, I don’t care too much about the future
because the future is not coming yet. And the past is already past. So
I focus on today. Today I do my best.
did your becoming Buddhist influence your decision to make specific
films and how did it influence the kind of character that you choose
to play and your relationship with martial arts and acting?
think that some movies you really want to make it, you believe the
story but its difficult to make it because you have to prove to
the studio that it will work because (the character) is different
than the normal you. Like right now I am working on a film called
Danny the Dog, with Morgan Freeman, a break out of action
movies. I’ve made thirty one films where I always am the hero and
save everyone, the city, country, everyone. This is the first film
where I am saved by an individual, Morgan Freedom. [My character]
is physically built, but doesn’t know much about life mentally,
like a dog, what life means. I learn compassion, love, family, responsibility
and become a normal human. This kind of story I really enjoy.
you talk a little about how your fan’s feedback influences your
fighting style in your films? I know that you used your website’s
chatroom to determine who you fight against in this film.
my website is like family. A big family, a lot of people talk about
movies, love. I
share my life experiences and they share their lives. Like family.
So this time we make this film I asked them who would be the best
fighter that they want to see in this film. So we voted and Mark
[Dacascos] was the highest guy.
long did it take you to shoot the fight challenge scene in the cage
when you go in with Tom Arnold?
8 to 10 days. In Hong Kong we might spend two months on action sequences.
anyone get hurt, kicked or punched accidentally?
course, everytime. You punch someone and just say sorry, sorry!
was it like working with the cast. You have DMX, Drag-on, which
are all kind of new actors and I know they haven’t done many action
or stunt scenes. What was it like working with them?
fun, everyone has their own personality. Some work this way, some
work the other way…and I think its cool.