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Thread: Big Trouble in Little China

  1. #16
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    Continued from previous post

    As Jack and Wang search for Miao Yin, they’re forced to battle foes ranging from wild monsters to Lo Pan’s goons, the Storms (Carter Wong, Peter Kwong, and James Pax) – but the action sequences presented certain challenges. Dun could claim only limited *martial-arts experience; Russell had none. *Burton and Cattrall got to join in the “fun” when they shot scenes set in the waterlogged channels beneath Chinatown. The movie was filmed largely on the Fox lot in Los Angeles on sets designed by the late John J. Lloyd, with whom Carpenter had worked on The Thing.

    JOHNSON: Probably the most complicated [thing we did on the film] – and I think it may have been one of the most complicated things ever at that time – was the flying eye. The general idea is that it’s this mythological Chinese creature that is Lo Pan’s way of seeing remotely. So, this flying eye will go out and get information and bring it back to Lo Pan. It was just a huge, surrealistic ball of eyes. The challenge was, How do you make a ball of eyes look realistic and be able to emote? The only way to do it was with a huge animatronic puppet. But imagine how many motors had to go inside of it. The eyes all had to have upper and lower blinks, some of the eyeballs were actually on stalks which could retract into it and poke out, and then of course, he had a face, he had a mouth, he had a tongue. We had so many motors in that.

    CARPENTER: I just remember all of it being fun. Fond memories. The John Lloyd sets were incredible.

    HONG: I told Carpenter, he should get an Academy Award for the sets. He said, “How ‘bout you? Your acting?” So, I was very flattered by that.

    CARPENTER: Dennis could fake martial arts really well.

    DUN: I had dabbled in it since I was a kid. [Actor and stuntman] Jeff [Imada], he said, “Well you have to work on some things.”So, the stunt guys would teach me things, and I’d practice between takes. I learned how to use the tachi sword, which is what I use in the film. Even though I didn’t shoot a lot of that stuff until near the end [of production], I worked out every day…. I knew I had to make it seem like I was an expert!

    CARPENTER: Rather than try to make it look like our American Caucasian lead knew what he was doing with martial arts, we just went ahead and made him an idiot.

    RUSSELL: I couldn’t do the chop-sockey. I had to come up with ways to not be involved. So, I said to John, “How about if we come in here, and I’m all excited, and hit the machine gun, and rocks fall on my face, and I’m out? Jack’s out for the first two minutes of the fight that’s 10 minutes long, whatever. And then he gets into the fray, and sure enough he stabs this big guy, but the guy falls in a way that’s crushing Jack, and he can’t move.” I was just constantly finding things like that… I did learn how to drive an 18-wheeler. I forgot about that. It was pretty easy.

    BURTON: We spent a lot of time swimming underground. I spent most of the movie soaking wet. I think I was dry, like, two scenes in the movie. Every day, I would come into work and go into hair and makeup and look absolutely stunning. Then the next thing that would happen is that someone would throw a bucket of water on my head.

    RUSSELL: It’s wet – you get wet. That’s what it’s like getting in water. You should try it sometime! [Laughs]

    DUN: That’s a Kurt Russell answer… I know some people got sick. There’s water, bacteria, people running through, something came out of their sock. I was so healthy from working out all the time, I didn’t get sick.

    RUSSELL: One time, Kim and I kissed…. Then I noticed that the crew was smirking. I had lipstick all over my face. I said, “You know, I’ve always wondered about that. [In kissing scenes] how come that big red lipstick is always magically not there when the guy pulls back?” I looked at John, and I started laughing…. I said, “[Let’s leave the lipstick on] at least for a couple of scenes!” And he said, “All right.” I always admired John for that, because the audience is going to go, “What the f—?”

    HONG: The director did not really know exactly how we should portray the battle scene between [Victor] and I. But Victor and I had seen all these old Chinese films, where the two opponents would fight each other with this hand magic, where things would come out of their hands. That’s an old Chinese fable-type of magic-fighting. So, Victor decided to throw balls at me of fire, and I invented that I would cross my little fingers and little rays would come out. And Carpenter put that in the film.

    CARPENTER: The soundtrack was a lot of fun to do. And also, my little group at the time, the Coup de Villes, we sang the title song. [Laughs]. Then we did a music video! Unbelievable! It was all unbelievable times.

    Despite the casting of Dun, Hong, and Wong in prominent roles, the film became a point of controversy for Asian-American activists concerned the movie was trafficking in racist stereotypes. At one point during production, 25 protesters arrived at one of the movie’s locations to distribute leaflets complaining that film concerned “a macho, smart-aleck truckdriver and his Chinese ‘yes’ man.”

    CARPENTER: It was a San Francisco guy who said, “Now, this is a movie for white people.” It was really unpleasant. What are you going to do? You’re right, I am Caucasian! You’re right! And then we were picketed. It was unbelievable. What a world!

    DUN: They were already writing letters to Carpenter with concerns about some things in the script even before we started. I knew I had a responsibility, being an Asian-American actor. I talked with John Carpenter, and you could tell that he didn’t want a disparaging image of Asians. I’ve been on sets where you go there and you feel like you’re a second class citizen sometimes. But on that set you felt like you were part of the team.

    Big Trouble in Little China received mixed reviews, with Roger Ebert complaining that the characters “often seem to exist only to fill up the foregrounds.” Released on July 2, 1986, the film earned $11.1 million, one eighth of the gross of James Cameron’s Aliens, which opened later that month.

    RUSSELL: A lot of the people on the junket said, “How does it feel to be in a movie that you know is going to be a massive hit?” And I would be falsely humble and say, “Well, hey, you never know, you’ve just got to see how it does.” But inside I was going, “Yeah! I’m so happy!” And then it came out.

    HONG: The critics didn’t like it. They slashed it to pieces.

    RUSSELL: Without opening up old wounds, that picture really suffered a strange [marketing plan]. It was all on Jack Burton. It was all based on trying to theoretically get the audience interested in “Who is this guy?” And the answer was, “I’ve got no f—ing idea!”

    GOLDMAN: I have a different view of what happened. We gave them something like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Romancing the Stone and they made the decision to turn it into something like Buckaroo Banzai. Buckaroo Banzai was a really interesting movie and I like it a lot. But it was a bomb.

    DUN: I thought it was my big chance – I’m in this big film, and maybe it’ll take off, and my goals will keep expanding, and I’ll keep getting more interesting roles that are beyond the stereotypes of Asians. But it didn’t happen.

    RICHTER: Was I disappointed? [With deep sarcasm] No, I always love to have things tank. It’s so satisfying! Who wants to entertain hundreds of millions of people?

    CARPENTER: What do you think?

    RUSSELL: Fortunately for us, tapes and DVDs were just beginning to come out and Big Trouble in Little China found its life anyway. That one really grabbed a hold of the audience.

    Like Carpenter’s The Thing – now regarded as among the greatest horror movies ever made – Big Trouble slowly began to find fans via home video. By 2012 it was a full-fledged cult phenomenon. A “Gangnam Style” parody video called “Lo Pan Style” went viral. In 2015 the company Funko released a line of Big Trouble vinyl figures, and later this year BOOM! Studios will publish two books about the film, The Official Making of “Big Trouble in Little China” and The Official Art of “Big Trouble in Little China.”

    BURTON: I teach a lot and I do a lot of masterclasses at my two universities, Brown and Yale. I’m always inundated by kids who go, “Oh my god, you were in Big Trouble in Little China!”

    JOHNSON: I think audiences have gotten a little bit more sophisticated since the movie was put out. I think it was difficult for people to categorize it back then. What the hell is this thing? But it’s incredibly unique. Aside from certain Korean or Chinese films, I can’t think of another American film that comes close to touching the unique quality of that film.

    HONG: I’ve been to autograph conventions, and this film – let’s just say it this way: The production stills from this film have sold more than all the other ones combined, including Blade Runner, Seinfeld, and Balls of Fury, all those other ones. I just hope they don’t ruin it with this sequel, or prequel, or whatever they’re doing.

    CARPENTER: Oh god help us, I don’t know. We’ll see!

    RUSSELL: Dwayne Johnson as Jack Burton? Hey, I’m sure he’ll come up with a good take on it. I’ve got no problem with that. Movies are movies. You throw the dice and see what happens… At the end of the day, all that ever matters is you make a movie that holds up. And John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China holds up.
    The remake is still on track for next year sometime.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #17
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    When do studio execs ever 'get it'?

    This is what makes cult films so classic. They are all outside that box where studio execs live.

    OCTOBER 06, 2016 12:43pm PT by Nicole Piper
    Kurt Russell Looks Back at 'Big Trouble in Little China': Studio Execs "Did Not Get It"
    The star also weighs in on the Rock's upcoming version: "I don't think there's anything too precious to make a remake of. However, you have to have a pretty good reason for making it."


    @BeyondFest/Twitter
    James Gunn and Kurt Russell

    The star also weighs in on the Rock's upcoming version: "I don't think there's anything too precious to make a remake of. However, you have to have a pretty good reason for making it."
    Kurt Russell spent Wednesday evening looking back at one of his all-time classics.

    Director John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China has become a cult classic in the 30 years since its original theatrical release. Hollywood festival BeyondFest screened the movie Wednesday night to an audience that knew the film by heart, cheering and laughing the whole way through. Russell, who played bumbling hero Jack Burton in the film, said reactions were different when studio executives watched the film for the first time in 1986.

    “It was just too cool for school. It was literally terminally hip,” said Russell in a Q&A after the screening, moderated by James Gunn, who directed the actor in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. “It’s just great to see it, because, man, they did not get it.”

    In the film, Russell’s macho truck driver Burton arrives in San Francisco’s Chinatown and gets involved in a mythical battle between ancient spirits after his friend Wang Chi’s wife is mysteriously kidnapped. Burton and Wang, played by Dennis Dun, set out to save her and battle monsters, Chinese street gangs and sorcerers along the way.

    Gunn and Russell credited the movie with introducing Hong Kong cinema to American audiences. Russell was one of the few white actors in the film, alongside Kim Cattrall and Scandal’s Kate Burton, and he defended early criticism of how the film portrays the racial divide.

    “It was a tribute to it! It was John bringing it to America,” he said. “I always saw Wang sort of as the lead. And I thought that could be fun, because then we could have the guy who’s usually the sidekick really doing all the things that the lead does, but what really makes it fun is that the lead doesn’t know that.”

    When asked about a potential remake of the film — with his Fast 8 costar Dwayne Johnson in the role of Burton — Russell said they had not discussed the character on set, but predicted a remake could be successful if the director had the right vision.

    “I don’t think there’s anything too precious to make a remake of. However, you have to have a pretty good reason for making it,” said Russell. “I think there’s a lot more of a challenge on the director than on the actor. There was a lot of innovation here. There was a lot of firsts, and again, all John Carpenter.”

    Russell reminisced about his career working with Carpenter on films like Elvis, Escape From New York and The Thing. He said the director gave him the freedom to create characters that have become classic to audiences like the one at BeyondFest.

    “I can’t tell you how much fun it is to watch that movie with this audience! I hope John Carpenter does that sometime because — I haven’t seen John for a while — but it’s just all John,” said Russell. “If you like that movie and if you have as much fun as you did, that’s all John.”
    Gene Ching
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  3. #18
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    Comic

    Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack Series Launching In September
    By Rob Keyes 06.14.2017



    Forget the chatter and reports about a Big Trouble in Little China movie remake. We’ve already met Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) in John Carptenter’s 1986 classic and his story ain’t done yet!

    Earlier this year we were able to debut pages from the Official Art of Big Trouble in Little China book and today we’re please to exclusively announce a brand new comic series from BOOM! Studios exploring Jack Burton’s final ride in the Pork-Chop Express. Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack is a new series launching in September written by John Carpenter and Anthony Burch (Borderlands 2).

    Below is official info on the #1 issue, the main cover art, and some info on the first story arc of Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack.

    BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA: OLD MAN JACK #1




    Writers: John Carpenter, Anthony Burch

    Artist: Jorge Corona

    Cover Artists:

    Main Cover: Stephane Roux

    Movie Poster Intermix Cover: Sam Bosma

    Action Figure Subscription Cover: Michael Adams with Marco D’Alfonso

    Connecting Variant Cover: Will Robson

    Variant Cover: Paul Pope

    Publisher: BOOM! Studios

    Format: 32 pages, full color

    Price: $3.99

    Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack Synopsis:

    From John Carpenter (director of Big Trouble in Little China, Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York) and Anthony Burch (writer of Borderlands 2) comes the story of old man Jack Burton’s final ride in the Pork-Chop Express.
    The year is 2020, and hell is literally on Earth. Ching Dai, sick of relying on screw-ups like Lo Pan to do his bidding, has broken the barriers between Earth and the infinite hells, and declared himself ruler of all.
    Sixty-year-old Jack Burton is alone in a tiny corner of Florida with only his broken radio to talk to, until one day it manages to pick up a message. Someone is out there in the hellscape, and they know a way to stop Ching Dai.
    We’ve seen Carpenter help out on previous Jack Burton comics with BOOM! including the exciting crossover with other Kurt Russell ’80s action icon Snake Plissken in Big Trouble in Little China/Escape from New York comic. The first story arc of the Old Man Jack series features four issues and introduces an older Jack trying to ignore a certain awfulness around him and he’s unexpected called into action, reuniting with a familiar not-so-friendly face. Hilariously weird foes, strange luck, and unexpected allegiances make this series must-read for fans of the film looking for that sequel.

    We can only hope Carpenter’s involvement in the series helps Hollywood decide on a film sequel instead of a film reboot. This story deserves a big screen adaptation!
    Sounds funny.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #19
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    TCEC 2019 report (part 1)

    Gene Ching
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  5. #20

    Online Preview

    BOOM Studios has been publishing BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA for a while now; they have a half dozen collections availables.

    The OLD MAN JACK version is a variation on a growing trend of Old heroes which started with marvel comics' OLD MAN LOGAN which informed the movie Logan (2017). You can find a PDF preview here.

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Size:  102.3 KB I love that John Carpenter himself is writing this . . . in part.

  6. #21
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    Big Trouble Bar

    Big Trouble Bar



    Big Trouble is a bar tucked away above a location of Sichuan Ren, paying homage to its neighbourhood and the heritage of its sibling owners with a creative bilingual menu of baijiu bottles, Tsingtao, and dumplings.

    It’s named for the movie Big Trouble in Little China, and doesn’t shy away from typically Chinese elements, reinterpreting them through a modern North American lens.



    This is wholeheartedly embraced in the design of what was once a raw upper floor space. Moody paper lanterns hang in clusters from the ceiling. Movie posters pasted to walls and murals lend a street feel to the bar, laundry strung in the hallway leading to the washrooms.



    Guacamole ($7) is deceptively simple in appearance, the bar classic amped up considerably with the addition of jicama, red pepper, scallion, ginger, lemongrass and sesame soy. The punchy dip gets another twist served with puffy, crispy wonton chips.



    Spicy Coconut Firecracker Shrimp ($9) come in a crispy spring roll wrapper with a chipotle lime aioli, juicy, crunchy, and crushable. Not bad at about a dollar each.



    Bang Bang Shrimp ($7) are just as addictive and quick to disappear, smothered in a sweet and spicy sauce that’s also surprisingly creamy. I could eat these like candy.



    Pidan Tofu ($9) is something I order because I’m curious about some rarer ingredients. Jiggly tofu sits atop a bed of gravy made from century egg white, the yolk crumbled on either side.

    This lends a slight fermented taste that contrasts with the clean tofu and tobiko, pork floss bringing in another texture and flavour.



    The BT Dumpling Tower is an order of eight or 16 potstickers ($15/$28) layered up with melted Muenster, salsa and (wait for it) arugula, finished off with house gochujang spicy drizzle.

    The concoction reminds me a little of something I’d whip up late at night with whatever’s in the fridge, but that said it’d probably follow up a bottle of baijiu nicely.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  7. #22
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    Continued from previous post




    We go with aromatic spicy ginger butternut squash potstickers, the other options being pork and leek or cheeseburger.



    A 10-ounce baijiu bottle mixed with mangosteen and lemon runs for $24. Baijiu is a clear Chinese liquor typically made from grain, “baijiu” translating to “white liquor.”



    “Served in shot glasses to share, strong & dangerous!” reads the menu and it’s not false advertising: just a whiff of it is enough to put a little hair on your chest, and while it has a potent boozy flavour it’s too easy to polish off in those little shots.

    I admit I feel a little tingly in the extremities after just a little of the stuff.



    Happy hours are Thursday 5:30 - 8, food served until midnight weekdays and 1 on weekends.



    Photos by Jesse Milns
    THREADS
    Kung Fu Restaurants & Bars
    Big Trouble in Little China
    Gene Ching
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  8. #23
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    Part of the 100th Anniversary of the Castro theater celebration

    'Big Trouble in Little China,' the most San Francisco of the '80s movies, returns
    By Jeffrey M. Anderson | Special to The Examiner | Aug 16, 2022 Updated Aug 17, 2022



    Of all the movies shot in San Francisco in the 1980s — from “Star Trek IV” to “A View to a Kill,” from “48 Hrs.” to “Innerspace” — none feels quite like they belong to the Bay as much as “Big Trouble in Little China.”

    A box office disappointment that amassed a cult following after it was released on video, the weird, wacky film simply isn’t afraid to let its freak flag fly.

    The 1986 film, directed by John Carpenter, screens 7 p.m. Saturday at the Castro Theatre. Critic/curator Jesse Hawthorne Ficks hosts a Q&A with actor Peter Kwong, who plays Rain, one of three weather-themed warriors in the film’s standout fight scene.

    Whren the film rolls, after a prologue, we are introduced to Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), driving his big rig through the Marin Headlands and across the Golden Gate Bridge, narrating his own life in his John Wayne-like drawl and cramming a giant sandwich down his maw.

    He delivers his load in Chinatown and spends the night gambling with the locals, and especially his friend Wang Chi (Stockton-born Dennis Dun, who began acting in San Francisco at the Asian American Theater Company).

    In the morning, they head to the airport to pick up Wang’s green-eyed fiancee, Miao Yin (Suzee Pai). There, Jack flirts with lawyer Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall), just before a band of villains called the Lords of Death storm the airport and kidnap Miao Yin. The heroes jump in Jack’s truck and head to Chinatown to rescue her.

    On the freeway, they pass the Mariposa Street exit, although, according to a 2001 DVD audio commentary track by Carpenter and Russell, Carpenter says this was a “process shot” and Russell and Dun weren’t actually there.

    Cut to the famous Chinatown Dragon Gate at Bush Street and Grant Avenue, where Egg Shen (Victor Wong) is driving his rattletrap “Egg Foo Yong” tour bus. He motors through the gate and up Grant for a few blocks.

    In the background, we can see the Far East Flea Market and the Four Seas Restaurant, both of which survived well past 1986 but closed recently. We also see a sign for the New Hoa Thai Trading Company, which looks to have been merely set design for the movie.

    Egg makes a right turn on Commercial Street, a tiny lane situated between Clay and Sacramento, that runs about four blocks. He starts heading downhill, and who should be coming uphill but Jack and his big rig!

    We know that Russell did learn to drive the big rig; more likely it’s a stunt driver behind the wheel during this sequence.

    After a near-collision, Jack steers off of Commercial, and Wang tells him to “turn into that alley.” From this point on, we’re on a set in Los Angeles, as Jack and Wang descend into a mystical underworld to face the evil sorcerer Lo Pan (James Hong).

    The stuff that happens there is exhilarating, strange, mind-blowing and often hilarious, and the mishmash of styles echoes San Francisco itself, with its patchwork neighborhoods changing radically every few blocks.

    This dynamic — a jagged, dislocating sense of place — is one of the things that drew Alfred Hitchcock to the Bay Area for several of his films, including “Vertigo” (1958) and “The Birds” (1963).

    Carpenter himself, who is a devotee of Hitchcock’s work, returned to The City six years later for “Memoirs of an Invisible Man” (1992).

    For its time, “Big Trouble in Little China” was also fairly strong on representation, with its mostly Asian cast.

    Of course, the two top-billed actors were white, but as Russell and Carpenter pointed out in their legendary audio commentary track, they both considered Jack the sidekick and Wang the real hero.

    Jack is full of swagger but relatively incompetent, at one point spending an entire fight trying to retrieve his lost knife — and even passes an entire scene with Cattrall’s lipstick smeared on his face — while Wang is the one who consistently knows where to go and what to do.

    Oddly, the film was originally written as a Western, in which a cowboy rides into old-time San Francisco and spends the story trying to get his horse back.

    Screenwriter W.D. Richter, who wrote the San Francisco-set “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978) and directed another cult classic, “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension,” was brought in to make changes.

    He suggested moving the story to the modern day. This pleased Carpenter, who is a confessed fan of martial arts films and, working with choreographer James Lew, was thrilled to stage some fight scenes of his own. (Apparently, Jackie Chan was briefly considered for a role.)

    Carpenter and Russell both reported that the early response to the film was off the charts, and many were expecting it to be a huge hit. But 20th Century Fox did little to promote it — focusing instead on the upcoming “Aliens” — and it earned only $11.1 million (in North America) against an estimated $25 million budget.

    But just like the best of San Francisco, the movie was eventually discovered by weirdos and outcasts and finally became the classic it deserved to be.

    As Russell says on the commentary track, “People either love it, or they never saw it!”

    IF YOU GO:

    ”Big Trouble in Little China”

    Where: Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.

    When: 7-9 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) Saturday

    Tickets: $25.00

    Contact: apeconcerts.com
    Sorry I missed this..
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  9. #24
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    Academy Museum: Big Trouble in Little China's James Hong w/ Arthur Dong, Dennis Dun..

    Gene Ching
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