jean-claud van johnson

Last year’s Amazon Pilot Season included Jean-Claude Van Johnson. Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme plays himself in the self-referential comedy, where Van Damme movies are only the cover for his real mission: he is actually a super spy. The full first season premieres this month on Amazon Prime.

Van Damme has already revealed some mild spoilers in previous appearances. Filip, the Van Damme lookalike with the funny voice whose favorite movie is Timecop, will return and there will be actual time travel. The show’s trailer also showcased part of the epic riverboat fight on the set of Huck, a gritty reboot of Huckleberry Finn, in which real bad guys come after Van Damme and the director mistakes them for stunt men.

Van Damme himself sat down with /Film to discuss Jean-Claude Van Johnson’s take on his epic career in action movies. Show creator Dave Callaham and director Peter Atencio (who spoke with /Film last year) joined Van Damme for our interview. Jean-Claude Van Johnson premieres December 15 on Amazon.

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HBO airplane edit

When you watch a movie on an airplane, you’re not going to get the best quality version of the film. Airplane edits tend to remove scenes and squish the frame down into a letterbox-like format. This might all make sense for a flight, but when you sit down to watch a movie at home, you’d expect a higher level of quality. Yet HBO appears to be airing airplane edits of certain films for some inexplicable reason, and directors Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Peter Atencio aren’t happy about it.

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Jean-Claude Van Johnson trailer

Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme has made a meta film commenting on his career before with 2008’s JCVD, but now the Muscles from Brussels is heading to Amazon for a new action comedy series where he takes it to the next level. Jean-Claude Van Johnson stars JCVD as a version of himself that takes acting gigs as a cover for his real job as an undercover operative.

After the brief teaser trailer that hit last week, a full trailer is here that reveals a lot more of the show’s story and gives a far better sense of the goofy, self-effacing tone they’re going for with the show. Spoiler alert: this looks hilarious.
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Jean-Claude Van Johnson teaser

“My name is Jean-Claude Van Damme. I used to be super famous.”

These are the opening lines of the pilot for Jean-Claude Van Johnson, an upcoming Amazon original series we exclusively told you about early last year. The pilot performed well enough with viewers to warrant a series order, and the first season is officially on the way.

In the series, the action movie star plays a version of himself who takes jobs in crappy direct-to-video movies in far-flung countries as a cover for his real work as a private contractor. As that line of dialogue above indicates, JCVD is certainly willing to poke fun at his own career (see also: the 2008 movie JCVD), and he continues to do exactly that in this comedy series, which is being helmed by Keanu and Key & Peele director Peter Atencio, one of the most versatile up-and-coming filmmakers working today.

Now a new teaser trailer has debuted for Jean-Claude Van Johnson, and it continues to poke fun at itself as JCVD undercuts the primary subject of the teaser. Check it out below.
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Interview: Jean-Claude Van Johnson Director Peter Atencio

Amazon’s pilot for Jean-Claude Van Johnson not only seems like Jean-Claude Van Damme’s guaranteed comeback, but it is a love letter to JCVD’s loyal fans for decades. With references to his splits, his movies from Bloodsport to Timecop and even a twin, Jean-Claude Van Johnson leaves fans wanting more. It will be up to the fans whether or not Amazon orders a full series, as they can vote on Amazon’s pilot season.

Van Johnson stars Van Damme as himself, a retired actor who comes back not only to Hollywood but to his true job as an undercover agent. Thanks to his agent Jane (Phylicia Rashad), Van Damme takes a role on the action-packed Huckleberry Finn reboot Huck as a cover for his latest mission. We spoke with the pilot’s director and potential series executive producer Peter Atencio about where Jean-Claude Van Johnson could go and how he made the ultimate Van Damme movie in the pilot. Hit the jump to read our interview with Interview: Jean-Claude Van Johnson director Peter Atencio.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Jean Claude Van Johnson Trailer - Jean Claude Van Damme

This weekend brings Amazon’s new pilots to their website for viewers to vote which ones get turned into full fledged series. If there’s any good in this universe, everyone will support the new pilot for Jean-Claude Van Johnson. You might remember we broke the exclusive on the series at Amazon following a contractor named Jean-Claude Van Johnson who lives a cover life under the guise of washed up action star Jean-Claude Van Damme. Now the Jean Claude Van Johnson trailer has arrived to convince you to watch the show, and it’s simultaneously hilarious and depressing. Read More »

Keanu Green Band Trailer

At the end of April, the first feature comedy led by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele hit theaters. Unfortunately, it went by the wayside in its second week of release when Captain America: Civil War stormed into theaters and took all the glory. The film only pulled in $20 million on a $15 million budget here in the United States, which isn’t a failure exactly, but it’s not much of a success. Now director Peter Atencio has placed the blame for the film’s unimpressive reception on the film’s marketing.

In a series of posts on Twitter that have since been deleted, the filmmaker revealed his dissatisfaction with the film’s marketing focusing on the adorable title cat instead of accurately representing the R-rated comedy within the movie. However, he doesn’t only point fingers elsewhere, because he considers the film itself a failure of his own doing.

Read what Peter Atencio had to say about the Keanu marketing campaign after the jump. Read More »

Yes, Keanu Reeves Voices Keanu the Cat in ‘Keanu’

keanu voice

The kidnapped kitten at the center of the new comedy Keanu is obviously named after Keanu Reeves, the seemingly immortal star of Speed, Point Break, The Matrix, and John Wick, but we now know that the actor himself has a tiny cameo in the film. Keanu Reeves plays Keanu the cat. Well, technically he voices Keanu the cat in a scene where a character hallucinates during a crazy drug trip. However, this cameo almost didn’t happen and we have Mr. Reeves’ sister to thank for its existence.

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keanu review

This is not a review of Keanu. The version that screened at SXSW was described as a work-in-progress cut and changes, both significant and minor, can still occur between now and when the film arrives in theaters. Jokes can be be swapped, sequences can be tightened, and entire scenes can still be excised or added. To say something definitive right now would be unfair.

However, the cut of director Peter Atencio‘s new comedy that played before a packed house at the Paramount Theater in downtown Austin certainly felt like a finished movie…and that’s a bit of a mixed bag. So let’s break out the questions. Is the big screen debut of beloved comedy Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele funny? Yeah, of course it is. These two can’t not be funny. If the trailer made you giggle, there is plenty to enjoy here and you’re in for a good time at the movies. But is the film more than the sum of its best jokes? No. At least not in this particular version.

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keanu trailer

South by Southwest is only days away now. Sadly, I won’t be attending the very fun Austin-based festival this year, but our own Jacob Hall will be in attendance to cover the wide array of films premiering there this year, including some high-profile films. Last week an unfinished cut of Sausage Party was added to this year’s lineup, but another addition just has been made to the SXSW schedule: Keanu will play at the festival.

Learn more about the Keanu screening below.

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