In a posting on his official blog at Alivenotdead.com, Jet Li sheds light on his character(s) in the highly anticipated movie "The Forbidden Kingdom," in which he pairs (finally!) with Jackie Chan in a Westernized take on the classic "Journey to the West" tale.
In this re-telling, an American teenager (Michael Angarano) discovers a staff which transports him to ancient China where he joins in a quest to return the staff to the Monkey King. Jet Li plays the dual role of the Monkey King and Silent Monk while Jackie Chan will play a kung fu master named Lu Yan.
"[W]hen I first received the script three years ago the producer approached me to play the role of the Monkey King, but at that time there were problems with the script … At that time they portrayed the Monk as a great fighter [which is a huge departure from the original story]," he writes.
Feeling Asian audiences would not accept this drastic of a change, Jet suggested they have the Monkey King transform into the monk. "Since the Monkey King knows the 72 ‘earthly methods for transformations,’ he can pull one of his hairs out and transform himself into the Monk."
Other than that, Jet suggested to the producer they take more liberties with the story saying, "This is a dream of this American kid’s interpretation of these characters so there is a lot of room for creativity."
As for "Fearless" being billed as Jet Li’s final martial arts movie, you wouldn’t believe in all that marketing spin, would you?
Jet Li will host a live chat Sunday, July 15, 2007 at 14:00. (+8:00 GMT – China). Details here.