INT: Jet Li
Jet Li may be a master of
martial arts with a stone cold stare onscreen, but in person, heís
a gentle giant. A
practicing Buddhist, Jet is the exact opposite of his onscreen
persona, a sensitive and soft spoken guy, who seems like he should
be running a class on spiritual healing rather then going after
Asian mobs, like he does in his new film ROGUE.
The always interesting, Jet talked about playing the title
character, an assassin, his departure from strictly martial arts
movies, and how he is able to meditate with such a busy schedule.
Since this film isnít a martial arts movie, but more an action film, how different is ROGUE for you?
never played this kind of character before, because for myself, I
donít know if heís good or bad.
It really depends later, when the audience sees the movie,
they decide. I only know
this character is very violent for some reason.
The other movies I played a lot of characters, itís very
clear heís a good guy, or a cop, or a mobster in Chinese films.
Itís very different, a martial arts movie and this kind of
movie. Recently I made a
movie FEARLESS, itís not just martial arts, it also has a
philosophy, how to use martial arts, just for violence to kill
people, or you can use martial arts to help people, how to use them.
Just like a weapon. A
weapon isnít good or bad, depends on the person who uses it.
So martial arts, a lot of culture behind physical moves.
I donít think itís a martial arts movie, itís an action
Given that you seem like such a gentle person and youíre so philosophical, how hard is it for you to play a character like Rogue, who is so violent?
difficult. Before it was
easy, before youíre an actor, you just do the job, the acting.
I played a lot of different characters, even in LETHAL WEAPON
4, I played the bad guy. And
eight years ago when I became Buddhist, I always see that violence
is not the only solution. A
few movies, DANNY THE DOG (UNLEASHED in the US), FEARLESS, I think
these movies continue to talk about my personal beliefs.
Violence is not the only solution.
To suddenly go back to a very violent character, itís a
struggle. I got to the
set and forget Iím Jet Li and Iím right there in that world.
And I go back, I go home and think Iím doing this, but
itís not me.
When youíre going through fight choreography, do you ever go too far and actually hit another person by accident?
that tells you theyíre making an action movie doesnít hurt the
other, is lying. (laughs)
For sure, for sure. For
an action actor, usually if they got injured, that means you go to
the hospital, the production stops.
is it true that youíre stepping away from doing martial arts
movies and trying to do films that showcase your acting talent?
I think I saidÖI said FEARLESS is my last martial arts movie.
Because I put my heart in it, all my beliefs, the physical
part, the mental part, everythingís in that movie.
You know, Iíve been learning martial arts since I was eight
years old and the character I played, heís a martial artist, great
martial artist. So I put
a lot of my life experiences in that film.
But thatís the last one, martial arts movie.
Martial arts is in my mind, itís totally different.
The Chinese character, how you write martial arts, its stop,
war. Stop the war, stop
the fighting. Two words
put together itís martial. But
this kind of film, an action film, I will continue to make.
time you were in Vancouver, you were shooting ROMEO MUST DIE, how do
you feel about working here again with
I have a lot of memories, itís a very beautiful city and a lot of people work very professionally, but I still makes me think about Aaliyah (his co-star in ROMEO who died in a plane crash at the young age of 22), you know. That feeling is still there, we worked together here for a few months, she was just a very talented girl and some locations, when I pass by, everyday I think about her.
projects you want to do on a personal level?
I want to do something nobody will agree, so I cannot do it. Like THE MONK IN NY, I talk about it for seven years, because no action, no violence, so no studio, nobody wants to be involved. So I push myself. Maybe make some commercial movies, save some money, later put it into making it, I believe.
website is very much about a leading a spiritual lifestyle.
With such a busy schedule, how do you find time for mind,
body, and spirit?
I wake up, I go to the set, I go to the car, I pray.
Everywhere I go, if that day is busy, I still have time to
meditate. People think
meditating is sitting there, nobody bothering you, but you can even
talk and still meditate, in my mind, in my heart.
You can talk about weather, sports, movies and still can
meditate. Make my mind
do you like driving the fast cars in this movie?
(smiles) love it. Jet Li