Jackie Chan teams with John Woo
The action star's 'Twin Dragons' was shot by three directors -- and is helping to employ many more
In mainstream moviemaking, there’s low budget and then there’s low budget. Just ask Jackie Chan, who used some pretty extreme cost-cutting measures to make ”Twin Dragons” (new in theaters). ”Everyone worked for free,” the action-film legend tells EW Online. ”We even brought our own lunch boxes and water!” Members of the Hong Kong Film Directors Guild originally made the film in 1992 for a pittance — $1.3 million — to help fund their newly formed union.
The project posed one problematic question, though: How do 100 or so directors make one movie without killing each other? ”We realized that everyone cannot be director, so Tsui Hark did the drama scenes, Ringo Lam directed explosion scenes, and I directed the fighting scenes,” Chan explains. ”The other directors supported us. Some were producers, some got the tea, and most everyone appeared in the movie as extras.” Among the director stand-ins: John Woo (”Face/Off”), who plays a priest in the film.
Seven years later, the Hong Kong Film Directors Guild is prospering. Thanks to the money it made with ”Twin Dragons” — a No. 1 box office hit in Asia — the Guild has established a directing school that trains more than 300 aspiring moviemakers. And even though Chan realizes the career importance of making American movies — he has plans to make a sequel to ”Rush Hour” — Hong Kong films are still his priority. Shortly after finishing ”Rush Hour,” he hurried back to Hong Kong to make ”Gorgeous,” and he just started shooting ”Shanghai Noon,” a movie about a Chinese buckaroo who heads for the Wild West to rescue a princess. “Asia made me famous,” says Chan. ”I cannot just turn my back on my fans there.” Smart move, Jackie. Never turn your back on anyone with a passion for lethal chops and roundhouse kicks.