This is a week late, but I’ve got about half a dozen half-written articles, more I want to write but no time for, and thus nothing actually gets published, because I don’t finish writing one before starting on the next one.
Jackie Chan showed off his cast for his new movie “Big Soldier Small General” (with a script that he himself penned) at a press conference about a week ago. The movie is set during the Warring States Period and is an action-comedy road movie about an old solider who kidnaps the younger general played by Leehom.
I mentioned the possibility of this pairing a long, long time ago, when Leehom was simply offered the role, and was worried that I was getting everyone’s hopes up because he hadn’t accepted it yet. But I needn’t have worried, because Wang Leehom is Asian-American and there are few Asian Americans who would turn down the chance to work with Jackie. Besides Wang Leehom however, the cast seems extremely randomly picked…mostly unknowns without much acting experience.
First there’s Lin Peng, who was at the Beijing Opening Ceremonies as the teacher who lead the students. She apparently caught his eye there with her looks. In my opinion, if he wanted to choose someone in the Olympics for their looks he should have chosen the “conductor” in the Paralympics performance with the little ballet girl Li Yue. She was really mesmerizing and the camera was fixated on her as well.
Then there’s Yoo Seungjun, a Korean-American, who launched a very sucessful career in Korea as a singer, until he was to be sent into military service, and then he became a US citizen, and was banned by the Korean government from entering South Korea ever again. He then launched a singing career in China, although not as successful as his Korean one. I get when Koreans/Japanese are picked for Chinese films in order to market them towards a greater audience, but if he is banned from even physically entering South Korea, then it doesn’t seem he’ll pull in those foreign viewers. I guess Jackie Chan just really likes him because he’s got a 15-year contract with Jackie’s company.
And finally, there’s Xu Dongmei, who’ve I’ve mentioned was one of the top sixteen from Jackie’s reality show contest “The Disciple”. Jackie must like her too giving her a role in one of his projects before his top three from that show. She’s also as you may remember, starring in Le Huo Nan Hai as “the girl with the braids” (dubbed this until I know her character’s name in the movie). I think she looks cooler with braids, but she’s very pretty without them too.
The randomness of the cast worries me a bit. It seems as if besides Leehom, Jackie just took random people from his company and then watched the Olympics for inspiration, and thought, hey, she could work as my lead. Recently, Jackie Chan has been increasingly diving into new projects and forming new ideas, and I’m not sure how many of those ideas are truly well-thought out or just whimsies of his. Jackie, please don’t screw Wang Leehom over like Ang Lee did with Lust, Caution by giving Leehom a crappy meaningless role.
I also wonder at the casting, because it was originally said there were four main stars, one of which is a horse. Who amongst these people is the horse? Which star is not even getting the role of the horse? (there’s five actors here by my count). Ah…questions to ponder.
Ding Sheng, of the Underdog Knight, is directing. The Underdog Knight was dark and completely different from a Jackie Chan comedy so it’ll be interesting to see how this movie will turn out. Good luck to Leehom and everyone else in the cast.
Source (Actually the source for this is not just one, but a bunch of articles I read a week ago, bunch didn’t save and don’t remember. Sorry.)