Van Damme Turned Down Roles in Rush Hour 3, New Street Fighter?

"Muscles from Brussels" possibly better at picking scripts than previously believed.

by | March 5, 2008 | Comments

We’ve all had our share of fun at Jean-Claude Van Damme‘s expense over the years — never in front of him, of course — but perhaps the DVD-friendly action star has always been sharper than we gave him credit for being.

In a recently published interview with MTV Movies, Van Damme gave a refreshingly candid assessment of his life’s work, reportedly “admitting he’s only ever made a couple of decent films” and staring down what he figures to be the last 10 years of his acting career.

Don’t feel too bad for Van Damme, though — he recently filmed Mabrouk El Mechri’s J.C.V.D., which the actor says will premiere at Cannes, and easily sounds like the most interesting project he’s ever made:

[It’s] about a guy who was arrested too many times in the U.S. Being drunk, my [character’s] life was from success to failure. And this guy is now leaving the States to refresh himself, to go back to Brussels to see his parents. He’s got no money and he’s looking for any type of movie to pay his lawyers for child custody. And then he shows up in a post office where a heist is happening, and people think I’m part of it. And then it becomes very “Dog Day Afternoon.” I think it’s the best film I’ve done in my career. I didn’t take any salary for it. I’ve got to respect my fanbase, the people who made me famous, but I’m trying to bring them something different. With me playing me, it was a very shocking experience. When I saw the movie a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t able to function for a few days. After 37 movies, I said, “I will never do another movie I would not like.” What Mabrouk did to me, it’s like Scorsese did to De Niro years ago. It’s a very different picture for Jean-Claude Van Damme.

That doesn’t mean Van Damme is done with his more traditional fare — he’s promoting a new picture, titled The Shepherd: Border Patrol, in which he plays a border patrol agent who discovers that “the new drug lords are controlled by ex-Navy Seals” — but he does seem to have turned over a new leaf. He tells MTV that his next order of business is financing and directing a picture called Full Love (“I know it’s not a Van Damme title, but it’s a strong story”), and he also opened up about turning down two sizeable paydays. Asked about rumors that Brett Ratner wanted Van Damme to appear in Rush Hour 3, the star responds:

Yeah, I was approached. But if I do an action movie today I cannot walk through the streets and do karate moves. I would not believe it anymore. It’s hard for me to say that. I cannot go and do three somersaults. I would feel like a monkey. So “Rush Hour,” even though I would have been well paid, would have been difficult for me to accept.

The follow-up question, naturally, is how Van Damme feels about the upcoming Street Fighter reboot — and wouldn’t you know it, he was offered a role in that, too:

In fact they called me for that movie, to do the sequel. Again, I would have been well paid but I didn’t want to do it. I’ve made enough money. I don’t want to make a movie and then come home and be unhappy about it. Life is short. I’m 47 years old. I’ve got 10 years to go where I can be the best I can be. I want those 10 years to be precious, not like before, cranking two or three movies a year. I’ve made a ton of movies in my life, but so what? It’s time for me to do things I like so I will be happy, my wife will be happy, my friends will be happy. I just want to do something I’m proud of. It’s time for me to change. I could sign with a company for 10 movies and I’m the king of video and so what?

So what, indeed. To read more about Jean-Claude Van Damme’s latest, follow the link below!

Source: MTV Movies

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