Despite an alarming picture from back in May that made it look like Future Ancient Jet Li had come back through time and taken real Jet Li’s place, the martially arty actor is still alive and (crane) kicking.
In an interview with Weibo (via Abacus), Jet was asked about that time he was offered a role in The Matrix sequels (The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions) by the Wachowskis and he turned them down. Jet must have said “他妈的没有!” because he read the scripts and, like the rest of us who saw those flicks, was completely baffled by the generous portions of word salad. Oracle wants what? Who is Agent Smith being? And that “cliffhanger”…yeesh. They’re lucky Jet didn’t butterfly kick those scripts back in their faces at top speed. Actually, he passed on the sequels because he didn’t want his wushu moves digitally recorded.
The Wachowskis wanted Jet to play the role of Seraph, who functions as the Oracle’s bodyguard in the two sequels. Jet said no, and the role eventually went to actor Collin Chou. Jet said no because he felt that the Wachowskis would squirrel all the footage of him stunt-fighting away in some vault and then eventually superimpose someone’s else’s head over his for a future movie. Wait, what? What drug is he taking for his hyperthyroidism? Mescaline?
“It was a commercial struggle for me. I realized the Americans wanted me to film for three months but be with the crew for nine. And for six months, they wanted to record and copy all my moves into a digital library. By the end of the recording, the right to these moves would go to them.”
Um, ok, go on.
Li said back then, he was already worried that future technology would allow US filmmakers to digitally reproduce his moving body and superimpose the face of any actor onto it.
“I was thinking: I’ve been training my entire life. And we martial artists could only grow older. Yet they could own [my moves] as an intellectual property forever. So I said I couldn’t do that,” Li said.
But couldn’t that happen with ANY of the footage from ANY of his movies?
The Wachowskis were pretty advanced with their film tech back in the day (they were the first ones to shoot bullets in slow motion or whatever), so maybe Jet knows something we don’t know and we were in danger of a Justin Bieber martial arts movies with his punchable face on Jet’s body.
Jet needs to stop with the wacky excuses, though, and just admit that he thought the movies sounded like shit. What the hell is a Merovingian anyway and why was this stupid character stopping all the action to give some chick an orgasm via cake?