Skiptrace

I’m glad you did! Was shooting some scenes in Mandarin a challenge for you?

It wasn’t a challenge. All the scenes that we did in Chinese, we also did in English. So all the actors were able to do them in English. Then I just chose when I was editing the movie, I felt like the Chinese actors were stronger in their scenes when they were speaking their native language, so I chose to do those with subtitles. I thought the performances were much stronger and I felt that it was justified that when there’s Chinese people with Chinese people talking, it makes sense that they use their language. Then when they are dealing with American characters, there are American characters in the scene, then they speak English.

Jackie always shows the outtakes at the end of his movies and you’ve never done that before. Now that you showed outtakes for Skiptrace do you think it could be fun for other movies too?

Yeah, I like the idea. I’ve never copied it before but since this was a Jackie movie, it felt like it belongs there. I would probably consider it. I think it makes sense the best when it’s a comedic movie. If it’s a serious movie, then the screw-ups I feel would have a different effect to show them. There are always those, but in a comedy, because you can laugh at it all, I think it works.

Was it nice to be able to film in real locations and not on a green screen?

It was awesome and it was a great introduction for me to China. We traveled to eight different locations, eight different big moves, airplanes, trains and trucks moving 400 people and all the equipment. It was a big deal. We started in Mongolia and then traveled across China, all the way to Macau and Hong Kong, shot around Beijing and did stage work in Beijing. I picked the locations based on what looks the best. There are still plenty of locations for the sequel but I just wanted to pick some of those locations that we could really show the audience how diverse and how beautiful China is.

Are there plans for a sequel or for you to direct more Asian films?

I can’t confirm it yet but there’s definitely been talk about a sequel. In terms of Asian films, definitely. I’m currently living in Beijing and I’m in preproduction on a movie for Ali Baba Pictures. It’s a big fantasy adventure movie called The Legend of the Ancient Sword. It’s based on one of the biggest video games in China. We are in full prep. We are building sets. We are casting actors. We start shooting in a couple of months so that’s going to keep me in China for more than the next year. I have my company now here. I’m developing a lot of things for me to direct and produce. Currently I’m planning to stay here and work here. I really love it here. I think the crews are great. People are great. There’s so many stories that can be told here, movies that haven’t been made here. Besides the sort of traditional fantasy movies and historical movies and comedies, I think there’s all kinds of interesting action films that can be made here. Also thrillers and horror films. I think it can be kind of a new thing here, so I’m excited about working here.

Eve Torres is a great villain in the movie. Since you directed 12 Rounds with John Cena, what is it about WWE personalities that make them stand out on screen?

Well, they are awesome entertainers. They are used to being in front of people and creating drama, comedy, insanity and are bigger than life characters. They are physically incredibly able bodied. I loved working with John and I see John having a great future also, especially in China now that WWE is becoming a big deal in China as well. I think John can be a big star here. Eve is awesome. She’s just such a great package. She’s incredible physically. She’s beautiful. She’s a good actress. So maybe not all of them but a lot of them have the charisma that it takes to be on the big screen.

It’s funny, John Cena has had a lot of success in comedy now from Trainwreck.

I know. I think he was awesome in it. He was so funny, and I know John pretty well. He’s a very funny guy. He has very funny deadpan comedic timing so I think he can do anything.

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Skiptrace is in select theaters Friday, September 2 or on DirecTV now.

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