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Thread: Big Trouble in Little China

  1. #1
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    Big Trouble in Little China

    We should all be ashamed that there isn't a thread on this film here.

    I'm even more embarrassed to start one now, over a quarter century after BTiLC's release...with this: Lo Pan Style (Gangnam Style Parody)
    Gene Ching
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    ah yeah, that is an awesome parody!! Had that going on a campout just recently before we watched the movie!

  3. #3
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    a dated post from last month

    A ‘Little China’ Reunion
    Cast members of 1986 film gather at JANM.
    Posted On May 7, 2015 Film & TV


    Pictured from left are co-screenwriter Gary Goldman and cast members James Lew, George Cheung, James Hong, Lia Chang, Gerald Okamura, Jeff Imada, Joycelyn Lew and Al Leong. The panelists agreed that the film was a rare opportunity for so many Asian American actors and stuntpeople to work together in Hollywood. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

    By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer

    A sold-out screening of John Carpenter’s 1986 cult classic “Big Trouble in Little China” was held April 8 at the Japanese American National Museum’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum as part of the Big Trouble in Little Tokyo film series, co-presented by Angry Asian Man, First Pond Entertainment and Visual Communications.

    The action-adventure film stars Kurt Russell as truck driver Jack Burton, who helps his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) rescue Wang’s green-eyed fiancee (Suzee Pai) from bandits beneath the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown. The story involves magic, monsters and martial arts. Kim Cattrall, Donald Li, Kate Burton and the late Victor Wong also star.

    A panel following the screening featured 10 cast members and one of the screenwriters. Milton Liu of Visual Communications served as moderator.

    Peter Kwong played Rain, one of three Storms with supernatural powers (James Pax was Lightning and Carter Wong was Thunder). To show that he hasn’t lost his touch, Kwong recreated a scene from the movie in which he wielded two swords.

    Kwong noted that “Big Trouble in Little China” was made around the time that Asian American groups were condemning the 1985 movie “Year of the Dragon” for its negative depictions of Chinese Americans. Community leaders and media were invited to the set during filming to assure them that this was a different kind of movie.


    Peter Kwong as Rain.

    “We of the crew and the cast had to do a lot of work on it in order for us to fight the protests that were going on at that time,” Kwong said. “Not only did it represent fun and games, but it represented a critical point of where the community met Hollywood. John Carpenter was really amazing because he really reached out to cast and crew. He really asked for all of us to put in our input.”

    Kwong’s other credits include the movies “The Golden Child” and “Gleaming the Cube” and the TV shows “JAG” and “General Hospital.”

    Gary Goldman, who co-wrote the original screenplay with David Weinstein, said he was inspired by such films as Tsui Hark’s “The Butterfly Murders,” Jimmy Wang Yu’s “Master of the Flying Guillotine” and the Zatoichi series from Japan. The story was conceived as a western set in a Chinatown in 1899, but the producers decided to change the setting to present-day San Francisco. The main characters, Jack Burton and Wang Chi, were retained.

    The adaptation was done by W.D. Richter (“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”).

    James Lew (Chang Sing #1), whose other movie credits include “Red Sun Rising” and “GI Joe: Retaliation,” created the salute that the good guys used throughout “Big Trouble.” “I was trying to come up with something that would symbolize the respect and brotherhood of the Chang Sings … It actually came from one of my styles,” he explained. ” … People salute to me on the street sometimes.”

    He added, “This was my first shot at becoming a martial arts coordinator. It was a great experience for me.”

    George Cheung (Chang Sing #6), whose credits include “Rush Hour” and “Lethal Weapon 4,” said that many of his “Big Trouble” castmates have gone on to bigger and better things, including Jeff Imada (Needles), who was the fight/stunt coordinator for “Furious 7,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,” and “The Bourne Supremacy,” among other films.

    Cheung introduced James Hong, who played the main villain, David Lo Pan, as “my idol … I knew right from the beginning that I could never be James Hong, so I gave it up.”

    Hong, 86, has been in show business for 61 years. His credits span the 1950s (he played No. 1 Son in “The New Adventures of Charlie Chan”) to the current “Kung Fu Panda” movies, in which he plays Po’s father.

    “There will never be another ‘Big Trouble in Little China,’” he declared. Like East West Players, the Asian American theater company that he co-founded, the movie provided opportunities for a lot of Asian American actors and martial artists, he said. “A few of you here were stunt coordinators, choreographers, and you were promoted to associate producers by the end. That’s how hard they worked … Everybody here put 150 percent of effort into that movie, way beyond what they were paid.”

    However, Hong continued, “Big Trouble” did not open the door wide enough and many Asian American actors have only been offered minor, stereotyped roles instead of principal roles. “Now it’s starting to come up. I hope you people will write the studios and speak up and open up the field for more Asian Americans.”
    continued next post
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    continued from previous post


    James Hong as David Lo Pan.

    Although some of his films have been less than memorable, such as “R.I.P.D.,” Hong said, “Big Trouble” was among his favorites along with “Blade Runner” and “Chinatown.”

    Lia Chang played a Wing Kong guard along with Dian Tanaka, Donna Noguchi and Shinko Isobe. She had previously appeared in another martial arts movie, “The Last Dragon.” Having studied karate and kung fu since the 7th grade, she said, “To be able to come and be part of this was an amazing dream … It was such a role of empowerment for women.”

    Now a photographer and journalist as well as an actor, Chang added, “I’ve come across a lot of Asian American men for whom ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ and ‘The Last Dragon’ are their favorite films, because of how Asian American men and Asian Americans were portrayed.”

    Gerald Okamura, who played one of the Wing Kong hatchet men, said that when he auditioned for Carpenter, he tried to make a good impression. “I did all my stuff, brought one of my students there. I threw him around, threw him on the ground.” But when he got the call and reported to 20th Century Fox Studios, “They give me two gold-plated six-shooters. What kind of martial arts is that? I couldn’t figure it out. They asked me, ‘Do you know how to use the gun?’ I said, ‘No, I’m a martial artist.’”

    On top of that, he was fitted with bandoliers containing bullets that were much too big for the guns. “I’m glad I didn’t run out of bullets … I would have had a hard time trying to get those bullets into the six-shooters,” said Okamura, whose other credits include “Showdown in Little Tokyo” and “GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”

    Imada, who has worked on over 400 films, TV shows, commercials and music videos, and was recently honored by East West Players for his body of work, said it was “a great opportunity” to work with an almost all-Asian cast on a Hollywood film. “And also getting together the greatest martial artists in the area, from Northern California to Southern California … We’d see each other at different events, but to spend a lot of time with everybody on the project, we got to become close, fast friends …

    “I feel really fortunate that I’ve been part of the cast and was fortunate to have been beat up by a lot of the people. In the film, I played eight or 12 different characters … At the time, there weren’t a lot of Asian stuntpeople, so a lot of us did double duty and got beat up several times by each other.”

    Almost 30 years later, Imada said that in his travels around the world, he is amazed to find that “Big Trouble” continues to have a “huge following.”

    Imada is often asked if there will be a sequel to “Big Trouble,” and he mentions this to Carpenter every now and then. He quoted the director as saying, “Fox owns the rights to it, so why don’t you go to Fox and talk to them about it? If you can get them to do it, then I’ll do the project.”

    Joycelyn Lew, whose other credits include “Battle Creek Brawl,” said that “Big Trouble” was the film “where I met all of my martial arts buddies” as well as the late Noel Toy, who gained fame in the 1940s as a fan dancer at San Francisco’s Forbidden City nightclub. In the film, Toy played a madam named Mrs. O’Toole.

    Al Leong, who played a Wing Kong hatchet man, recalled, “John Carpenter actually hired me for the film because I couldn’t get a job on the film. Nobody wanted me on this film. The stunt coordinator, who is no longer alive, a great guy, didn’t know me very well. He knew my dad well, but he didn’t know who I was. I ended up getting a job through John Carpenter himself, which was great. It was fantastic, working with great people, a great story — that’s what makes a great film.”

    Leong has also been seen in such films as “Die Hard” and “The Scorpion King” and such TV shows as “24” and “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.”

    Another Wing Kong hatchet man, Eric Lee, said, “Without this great cast, without the writer here, this would not be possible. I hope we can make it again.”

    Lee’s other credits include “The Master Demon” and “The Accidental Spy.”

    The screening was followed by a Q&A session and an after party around the corner at Far Bar.

    Big Trouble in Little Tokyo continues on Wednesday, May 13, at 7 p.m. with Marion Wong’s silent film “The Curse of Quon Gwon: When the Far East Mingles with the West” (1916-17). Info: www.janm.org.

    TRIVIA CORNER: In addition to “Big Trouble in Little China,” Dennis Dun and Victor Wong both appeared in Michael Cimino’s controversial crime drama “Year of the Dragon,” Bernardo Bertolucci’s historical epic “The Last Emperor,” and John Carpenter’s horror film “Prince of Darkness,” much of which was shot at the old Union Church building in Little Tokyo, now known as Union Center for the Arts and home to East West Players and Visual Communications.


    From left: George Cheung, Milton Liu, Lia Chang, Oliver Ike, Gerald Okamura, Peter Kwong, Eric Lee and Ewart Chin.
    But there's more....wait for it...
    Gene Ching
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    Playing in SF Chinatown tomorrow & Friday



    Big Trouble in Little China - (A)LIVE - Movie, Mayhem & More in San Francisco - May 19-20 2016 7:00PM

    Tickets available here.

    The Great Star Theater's website is lacking.

    I would love to go to this just to see a Kung Fu flick in the Great Star again, but I've got this previous engagement...
    Gene Ching
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    Where to post this....

    ....post here?

    Chin Han interview: ‘Some stories are so effective and universal that they lend themselves to adaptation’
    Hollywood’s first Singaporean star on whitewashing controversies, the growing Asian film market and ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’

    Tim Walker Los Angeles @timwalker 6 hours ago


    Chin Han as Commander Jiang in ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ 20th Century Fox

    By the end of next year, China is expected to overtake North America as the world’s biggest movie market, marking the end of Hollywood’s historic dominance of the global film industry. And with just 34 annual release slots allotted to western movies by the Chinese censors, US studios have become increasingly desperate to tailor their output to East Asian audiences.

    Some fear that effort stifles filmmakers’ creativity, as if the studios haven’t always been motivated by their bottom line. But it has beneficial effects, too, not least bringing greater diversity to the multiplex, by giving screen time to Asian actors such as Chin Han, the first Singaporean star ever to make a splash in Hollywood.

    “There are more opportunities now because international markets are becoming more and more of a consideration, especially for the big-budget films,” agrees Han, who got his Hollywood break in blockbuster Batman sequel The Dark Knight and has subsequently appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Netflix series Marco Polo and now Independence Day: Resurgence.

    As a teenager in Singapore, says Han, some of the American films that most resonated with him were those that featured Asian characters, even when they were criticised in the US for racial stereotyping. “It’s always fun to see faces that are either familiar or resemble yours,” he says. “I was fascinated by movies like Big Trouble in Little China growing up because there were so many Asian people in it! The same with Year of the Dragon or The Last Emperor. It was just so great to see so many Asian actors working.”

    In Independence Day: Resurgence, which opened this weekend, Han plays Commander Jiang, the man in charge of the Moon base that’s the Earth’s first line of defence against alien invasion. Born in Singapore to a Chinese family, the 46-year-old saw the 1996 original at one of Singapore’s first multiplexes. “It blew me and my friends away,” he says. “Even though it has a lot of American references, it has a universal theme, so we found ourselves rooting for Bill Pullman and Will Smith.”

    Already a celebrated actor and director in the Singaporean theatre world, Han was surprised when he got the call to come and read for The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan in 2008. “I jumped on a plane and flew to LA and was incredibly jet-lagged when I did the audition,” he says. The jet-lag may have helped him land the role of Lau, the criminal accountant whom Batman kidnaps in Hong Kong and takes to Gotham to be interrogated.



    With his part in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Han joined an elite club of actors who have had speaking roles in both the Marvel and DC movie universes. A comic book fan as a boy, he’s also psyched that his next project is the live-action adaptation of the cyberpunk manga classic, Ghost in the Shell, which is currently shooting in Hong Kong.

    The film generated accusations of “whitewashing” after Scarlett Johansson was cast as its protagonist, Japanese cyborg cop Major Kusanagi. A petition to replace the star with a Japanese actress such as Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim, Babel) or Tao Okamoto (Wolverine) has attracted more than 100,000 signatures. But Han is level-headed about the controversy.

    “There are some stories that are so effective and universal that they lend themselves to adaptation. Shakespeare has been adapted by Akira Kurosawa, Dangerous Liaisons has been adapted into a Chinese movie. Blood Simple, the Coen brothers movie, was adapted by Zhang Yimou,” he says, suggesting the futuristic Ghost in the Shell falls into the same category.

    “Then again, if we’re talking about Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Marlon Brando in The Teahouse of the August Moon – where they’re actually pretending to be Chinese and Japanese respectively – then that is at best misguided and, at worst, offensive. It would be like casting me in a biopic about [black NBA star] Steph Curry.”
    Gene Ching
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    30 years ago...

    How ‘Big Trouble In Little China’ Opened Doors For Asian-American Actors In Hollywood
    BY: ASHLEY BURNS AND CHLOE SCHILDHAUSE 07.07.16 •


    20TH CENTURY FOX

    In his review of the 1986 film Big Trouble in Little China, Roger Ebert wrote that this movie is “straight out of the era of Charlie Chan and Fu Manchu, with no apologies and all of the usual stereotypes.” He compared it to 1985’s Year of the Dragon, which featured Mickey Rourke taking on a seriously violent Chinese Triads leader and sparked outrage and even protests at the time of its release. Ebert ultimately wondered how Asian-Americans would respond to this film, citing it as “one more example of the way every American ethnic group has been fodder for Hollywood’s mill.”

    The response, as it turns out, was not positive.

    A week after the film debuted in theaters and began its underwhelming box office run, the Los Angeles Times detailed the offenses that some Chinese-American groups had taken with Big Trouble in Little China. Groups like Chinese for Affirmative Action and Chinese Progressive Association were upset that San Francisco’s Chinatown needed to be saved by “a macho, smart-aleck white truck driver,” and they were agitated over 20th Century Fox never giving them an opportunity to review the film’s script. (Perhaps that’s because there were already too many other problems with the script.)

    But the film’s marketing coordinator, Daniel Kwan, told the newspaper at the time that he met with protesters from both groups, and while he wouldn’t share the film’s script with them, they still found a copy but failed to present him with “any specifics of what they wanted changed.” In response, one spokesperson cited the “overall impression of the movie” as the problem, and how Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton “still comes off as the hero at the end,” despite Kwan’s and the studio’s insistence that he’s only a “hero” by dumb luck. Dennis Dun’s Wang Chi and Victor Wong’s Egg Shen are the real heroes of the movie — even if Egg says otherwise is the opening scene — and actor Peter Kwong, who played Rain, told the Times that it was “unfair” and “misleading” to call Dun’s character Jack’s “yes man.”

    Thirty years later, Kwong remains steadfast in his belief that the outrage was much ado about nothing. “They didn’t read the script, they didn’t consider anything, they didn’t look at anything,” he tells us. “It was just subject matter — Chinatown, gangs — ‘Let’s go get them.’ They didn’t care it was a comedy, so that’s why we added the myth, and the substance, and added the fine-tuning of the martial artists, because there were a lot of things I brought to the table.”

    Kwong is highly complimentary of John Carpenter’s work ethic, not just as a director who had a vision for something grand and magical, but because he gave everyone involved with the film the opportunity to contribute and bring things to the table so that Big Trouble in Little China would be more authentic and inoffensive. It may have been a comedy, but it was a special opportunity for Kwong and the other Asian-American actors who contributed to this film. Even if Kwong didn’t even know it was a comedy when he landed the role of Rain.

    John Carpenter’s Bag Of Tricks


    20TH CENTURY FOX
    Peter Kwong as Rain

    When Kwong arrived for his audition, there were more than 100 Asian-American actors on hand, trying to land roles. “It was a huge cattle call of martial artists,” he recalls, and all he knew from word of mouth was that they were looking for authentic martial artists who looked the part and backed it up. The casting call was for extra roles, mostly, as they needed to find the gang members for the airport kidnapping scene, as well as the women for the warehouse fight and members of both the Wing Kong and Chang Sing for the street fight. So, when it came time for him to prove himself to Carpenter, Kwong showed off his martial arts skills and collection of actual weapons. That definitely caught the director’s eye.

    “They contacted my agent and said, ‘We don’t want him as a martial artist. We want him in as an actor and to be part of the Storms,’” he says. “The Three Storms, we had Rain, Thunder, and Lightning. Besides our natural superpower godly talents, we also had specialty weapons. I had the extending claws, Thunder had the sickles with the daggers, and Lightning had the spinning swords in his hands, the blades. Everyone had their own specialties. I was fortunate to be able to be one of the Three Storms.”

    Even when he accepted the role of Rain, Kwong didn’t have a script. His first day of filming Big Trouble in Little China involved a crucial scene – his one-on-one battle with Wang Chi at Lo Pan’s wedding. He recalls the filming process in great detail, pulling back the curtain to reveal how Carpenter used his own magic to make this battle seem so over-the-top and spectacular. When Rain and Wang are leaping through the air and battling with swords, Kwong and Dun were actually standing still. There were no wires. Instead, Carpenter used some camera trickery to make the background move behind his actors, while the stunt team hopped around and flipped through the air on trampolines. But the greatest trick the director used was not letting his bad guy in on the joke.

    “We’re fighting, fighting, fighting and all the sudden we land and Dennis Dun raises his eyebrows,” Kwong says. “I’m looking at him up and down going, ‘What the hell?’ This is a serious drama that’s going on. This is a serious fight. What I didn’t realize, because I didn’t have access to the script at that time, was that it’s a comedy. I had to be the total straight man. So, what’s the best way to be the total straight man? Don’t let them in on it! John Carpenter, that was his little trick. All these little tricks were being pulled, unbeknownst to us.”

    But Kwong and his castmates were hardly in the dark in other respects. In fact, he says Carpenter was extremely inclusive from the beginning, because he cared about making sure that his film wasn’t offensive. Even in an era without the internet, the response to Year of the Dragon was still on everyone’s minds, Carpenter included, and Kwong believes that the anger over that film was simply a matter of “enough is enough.”

    “I really appreciate John Carpenter’s input in this, in that when we were doing this the timing of it was right after the release of Year of the Dragon with Mickey Rourke,” Kwong explains. “Year of the Dragon was a film that came out about New York street gangs, Chinatown street gangs, and it was protested heavily with the Asian Pacific community because it held the Chinese in such negative light. Not like The Godfather, because The Godfather was all about culture, family — it showed colors, it showed dimension of human feelings, as opposed to stereotypes that all Chinese are involved in gangs and being controlled by gangs. Although certain parts of that are real, a lot of it’s based on fiction and stereotypes. And we don’t need more stereotypes about negative, evil, Chinese people. It’s already bad.”
    continued next post
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    Continued from previous post

    Turning A Problem Into Potential


    20TH CENTURY FOX
    James Hong and John Carpenter

    Kwong’s on-screen rival, Dun, was familiar with the outrage over Year of the Dragon, as he made his big screen debut in that film. After Fox shot down the idea of casting Jackie Chan as Wang, Carpenter chose Dun because of his previous role. But Dun’s wife told him not to take Big Trouble in Little China. Instead, she urged him to accept a role in another project that was more positive for Asian-Americans.

    “My wife read it and didn’t really like it,” Dun tells us. “I had an offer to do a TV movie [Blood and Orchid] about a true story in Hawaii, playing a lawyer. My agent wanted me to do that and my wife wasn’t sure because I had just done Year of the Dragon, that was my first film. So, this was only my second film. I didn’t protest it. There were some questions about the script and I saw a lot of possibilities. I was a W.D. Richter fan. I saw Buckaroo Bonzai and liked the way he kind of mixes all these genres and cultures and put them together. Kind of multi-cultural, futuristic. I saw the humor in Big Trouble, it felt like the right thing. It was like a childhood fantasy come true: You get to be a hero, you get be funny and kind of goofy and silly, which I am in real life. It was just fun.”

    As Kwong recalls, the outrage over Big Trouble in Little China began as soon as the plot details leaked. The protesting organizations sent letters to Carpenter and 20th Century Fox officials to express their concerns over what they believed to be offensive portrayals of Chinese characters. Once Dun accepted the role of Wang, Carpenter shared one of the letters with him so that he’d be aware of the real troubles facing the film’s production. Dun refers to that period as “an interesting time,” because if not for these controversial roles, he would have never become an actor.

    “In the mid-’80s, China was just opening up at the end of the cultural revolution of the late ’70s, and there were these things about China [Americans] were curious about,” Dun says. “That’s why I started getting work. Actually, I was going to quit acting. I was doing theater for nothing in San Francisco for about seven or eight years. I had to make a living so I was going to quit and then I got cast in Dragon. Even then I saw there were a lot of things people were going to protest but I thought, ‘I don’t really know anything about this business. I guess I’ll just go back to retail.’ That’s what I was going to do for work. I was doing marketing.”

    Dun was no stranger to racism in the ‘80s, sharing one particular incident that took place around the same time that he was filming Big Trouble in Little China. “Someone would say, ‘Go back to Vietnam,’ and I’m Chinese-American. So I’d say, ‘Well, go back to Chicago!’” he laughs. “There was a big transition starting in the ’80s. People knew there were the Four Asian Tigers, but they didn’t really come on that strong yet. It was a transition for everybody, just awareness of Asia in the presence of America and the world. The ’80s was a time when it was just starting to happen. Japan had come as an economic miracle and I just remember them destroying Japanese cars in Detroit and all that stuff.”

    “All the Asian communities were ready to attack, anything down the line,” Kwong says. “Big Trouble in Little China was next, even though it was a comedy, even though it was tongue-in-cheek. They said, ‘No more negative stereotypes,’ and so they were developing on the outside a huge Asian Pacific coalition against Big Trouble in Little China. This was a very politically heavy time, so Big Trouble in Little China was a very pivotal political message besides it becoming a cult film. How did John Carpenter handle this? He had meetings with the cast and crew and he asked us for a lot of input. It affected the script in that now people wanted the real deal. He said, ‘I want you guys to bring what you can to the table,’ and he gave certain people a different title. From stunt coordinator, now he’s an associate producer. Then, us as a group met with the community and we talked things out and watched the community uprise. It wasn’t that Big Trouble in Little China or 20th Century Fox was ignoring the community, we chose to engage them and brought them onto the set. It was diffused because we, as the cast and crew, said, ‘Look, this is our project, we’re making this happen. So, what’s the problem here?’”

    From ‘Big Trouble’ To A ‘Golden’ Opportunity


    20TH CENTURY FOX
    Dennis Dun and John Carpenter

    As far as the doors that Big Trouble in Little China opened for Kwong, Dun, and many of their castmates, the progress was evident almost immediately with the release of The Golden Child in December 1986. One of the problems that dogged Carpenter during the production of Big Trouble in Little China was Fox rushing it to beat The Golden Child to theaters. Carpenter tells us that it was a little odd that two movies that focused on Chinese mysticism were in production at the same time, but the silver lining of his film being fast-tracked was that some of his actors were also cast in the Eddie Murphy vehicle.

    “Half our people went from Big Trouble in Little China to The Golden Child,” Kwong recalls. “James Hong, Victor Wong, I was on Golden Child — a lot of people that were from our camp were cast. Again, I had to do the martial arts stuff, so in the audition I’m there with the director and of course, what do I do? I bring my whole bag of weapons. I walk in there and I’m ready for this audition, this verbal part of the audition and they say, ‘What’s that?’ And I throw the bag down and it goes clunk and crash, and I look at them and point them in the face and say, ‘That’s in case I don’t get the job.’”

    Unfortunately for fans, the cast, and Carpenter, Big Trouble in Little China being a bomb meant there was no chance there’d ever be a sequel. Even Larry Gordon, the head of motion pictures for 20th Century Fox in 1985, was gone before the film was released. Just as Carpenter remembers, Kwong points the blame for the lack of success squarely on the marketing department, while pondering what could have been.

    “I wish there was a sequel,” he says. “I wish that at the beginning that John Carpenter got the kudos he deserved. Because time has proven that it’s a great film. And unfortunately it took all that time to become a great thing. And if they would have marketed it better, history might have been changed, because it was really interesting to follow that. That year was really good for me because I think I did three or four feature films in one year, right after that, almost back to back.”

    Box office returns aside, Dun still remembers a different kind of response, perhaps far more important to him than money was to the studio. “When it came out I talked to some people in Hong Kong I had met and they really hated the film. With Richter and Carpenter and actors and everything it became something else. I wonder if they would like it now. I know even some Asian-Americans didn’t like it and they saw it recently and thought, yeah, I like it a lot better now. But I think back then the consciousness is very different and even Asians are very ambivalent about how they thought about themselves because we’re usually gangsters, sex trafficking white women in Asia, or gamblers, pimps, drug dealers. I mean, there is that element in any culture so I think that’s pretty much what the portrayal was before, we were just mysterious people. So the whole ’80s with the films like Big Trouble was a transition of just the world. A continuum of a civilization,” he laughs. “People evolving and learning about themselves. I know it sounds so intellectual but I think that’s really what it is.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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    Continued from previous post

    The Real Legacy Feels Kind Of Invincible


    20TH CENTURY FOX
    (L-R) Peter Kwong, Suzee Pai, James Hong, and Kim Cattrall

    Both Dun and Kwong mention a feeling of family when looking back at the production of Big Trouble in Little China, citing the film’s star, Kurt Russell, as someone who made them all feel like they mattered, like they were equals.

    “John Carpenter had that kind of vision because he understood that we were Americans,” Dun says. “I think there was an openness to find out who we were. That really played into the sensibility of what I saw in the script and what he even saw in the script. But you never really talked about it, you could just feel it. And the openness of all the people working together, and even Kurt Russell was amazing. We just loved working together.”

    “To be working with Kurt Russell was a treat and why it was a treat, always, was because of his personality,” Kwong adds. “Really nice guy. Really down to Earth. But when you walk onto a set and it carries a really warm, friendly — by this time because of politics — mutual effort, let’s come together to make this film together. Because that’s what made it more of a family. We knew that we had to overcome certain obstacles, the negativity and then making it all, as opposed to just a film for 20th Century Fox. It now became our own personal input, our own personal creation, and it became ours.”

    Kwong ran into Russell at the Oscars a few years back, thinking that the huge star wouldn’t remember one of the bad guys from some box office flop. Instead, that moment confirmed what he’d learned about the man who played Jack Burton decades earlier. “The last time I saw Kurt Russell was at the Oscars. I saw him and Goldie [Hawn], and I came up to him and said, ‘I had to say hello, I don’t know if you remember me,’ and he said, ‘Of course I remember you, how have you been?’ It had been 25 years, bless his heart. Even though we’ve aged, we haven’t changed that much. Our bodies, we haven’t gotten fat and lazy. Still looking like he looked back then. Maybe a few years’ difference, but who’s counting?”

    Some of the cast of Big Trouble in Little China reunited for the 25th anniversary in 2011, and they met at another event in 2015 to specifically discuss the role that the film played in helping Asian-Americans in Hollywood. One of the film’s original writers, Gary Goldman, joined them to celebrate the impact of the film, despite his contentious past with the studio over writing credits for him and his partner, David Z. Weinstein. To Goldman, the revelation that this film meant so much to the cast helped him appreciate what his original idea has evolved into after 30 years.

    “I hadn’t realized what an impact it had had on the actors,” Goldman tells us. “That was actually kind of new to me and made me feel great.” Weinstein agrees, saying that he’s “extremely happy” about this particular aspect of the movie, invoking the recent #OscarsSoWhite controversy as a reminder that there is still progress to be made in “making films reflect more what America actually looks like.”

    “There’s always room for improvement but you can see the transition for all people of color, it’s changed quite a bit,” Dun offers. “Some aren’t perfect from when you’re looking at it as a minority, but you can see it’s an amazing thing that’s happened in the 30 years. The whole world’s changed so much. It’s amazing. The presence of Latinos in media, people of color in general, has gotten a lot better. For older Asian characters, we’re still foreign, but that will keep evolving over time. But you see your Hawaii Five-0 and you see they’re part of the mainstream. They’re part of America and not making a big deal out of them being part of being Asian.”

    Interestingly, it’s diversity that Dun cites when he talks about why he might be okay with the possible remake of Big Trouble in Little China. Like Carpenter, Dun isn’t even sure that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s remake will ever happen, as he points out that there have been rumors of a remake for 20 years. However, if it is remade, he says, he’d first and foremost like to play the Egg Shen character this time around as a tribute to Victor Wong, who was his mentor (“The Egg Shen to me in real life”) during their time together on Year of the Dragon, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Emperor. As for Johnson playing Jack Burton, Dun sees that as a tribute to the inclusiveness that this film promoted 30 years ago.

    “Kurt Russell is all-American as can be and he’s great, but you’ve got The Rock now, who’s American, but he’s a person of color who’s half-black, half-Samoan,” Dun says. “It’s kind of a new vision of America that we are part of this culture. That concept excites me because that would never happen 30 years ago. It had to be a white, American, Caucasian actor. So, that itself is a statement that a person like The Rock has become such an international American icon. He’s very entertaining, so I’d be interested to see what he does.”
    Nice piece. Good timing.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #10
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    BTiLC+EfNY

    Big Trouble in Little China & Escape from New York crossover comic: Exclusive first look
    BY CLARK COLLIS • @CLARKCOLLIS


    Big Trouble in Little China
    Posted July 11 2016 — 1:10 PM EDT

    Do you believe you can never have too much Kurt Russell? Then, (a) congratulations for having such good taste, and (b) you are going to love the new Big Trouble in Little China/Escape from New York crossover comic from Boom! Studios.

    Written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, the title finds big-mouthed truck driver Jack Burton (played by Kurt Russell in 1986’s kung fu extravaganza Big Trouble in Little China) transported to the dystopian future of 1997, where he meets his taciturn, eyepatch-sporting doppelgänger Snake Plissken (also played by Kurt Russell in 1981’s science fiction classic Escape from New York).

    Made with the blessing of filmmaker John Carpenter, who directed both Big Trouble in Little China and Escape from New York, the six-part series debuts this October. The announcement about the crossover comic follows the news that Boom! Studios is publishing two non-fiction books this year by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry to mark the 30th anniversary of Big Trouble in Little China. The first, The Official Making of Big Trouble in Lttle China, arrives in stores this August, while the second, The Art of Big Trouble in Little China, is out in November.

    You can exclusively see the two connecting covers for issue #1 of Big Trouble in Little China/Escape from New York below and the combined image, above.


    Well this sounds fun. Time to plug my Mr. Ping (Lo Pan) interview here from last week...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  11. #11
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    Omg

    There's been some buzz on the BTiLC anniversary, and this popped up in my newsfeed. It's actually better that the Lo Pan Style (Gangnam Style Parody) that started this thread, because it's genuine.

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  12. #12
    Greetings,

    Had I seen the music video before ever seeing the movie. I would have wanted to see it.

    I am a little creeped out because I thought Peter Kwong had died many years ago.


    mickey

  13. #13
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    Board Game

    I'm delighted to see this come around again. I'll have to re-watch it again soon, in honor of its 30th.

    Jack Burton's Adventures Continue in the Big Trouble in Little China Tabletop Game
    Cheryl Eddy
    Friday 11:25amFiled to: THIS IS AWESOME



    First came news of the Big Trouble in Little China-Escape From New York crossover comic. Now, more excitement for Jack Burton fanatics: Big Trouble in Little China the Game is coming next year. Not a video game, to be clear. This will be an old-school tabletop game with its own miniatures and room for up to six players.

    Boom Studios reports that you can “play as Jack Burton or one of his brave friends on the mysterious quest to rescue the green-eyed beauty, defeat Lo Pan’s ancient magic, and save Chinatown from his evil minions. Players will venture through the iconic locations in Chinatown saving the helpless and thwarting evil plans, all the while discovering weapons and rare magics to use to their benefit.” Dibs on Egg Shen!

    There are no images of the game, yet. (Look for more info about it to drop in August, at game convention Gen Con.) But here’s the working logo, courtesy of Boom Studios, Everything Epic, Flipside Design Studio, and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products:



    The game is just the latest announcement in a slew of releases marking the 30th anniversary of the cult favorite. On top of the comic, Boom Studios already announced it was planning a pair of books: The Official Making of Big Trouble in Little China and The Art of Big Trouble in Little China. There will also be an “illustrated novel,” Big Trouble in Mother Russia, which will presumably see bungling hero Jack Burton drinking vodka, wearing a fur hat, and having some Cold War-era adventures. How do you say “the check is in the mail” in Russian?
    Big Trouble in Mother Russia? Coooooool
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  14. #14
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    RZA & 36 Chambers + Russell & Big Trouble

    RZA to live-score The 36th Chamber of Shaolin at LA’s Beyond Fest
    BY CLAIRE LOBENFELD, SEP 8 2016



    A dream event for hardcore Wu-Tang fans.

    Los Angeles genre film festival Beyond Fest announced their 2016 lineup today, including a huge event for Wu-Tang Clan fans: RZA will live rescore The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, a pivotal movie for both martial arts film and the culture surrounding Wu.

    RZA will re-score the entire film “from opening sequence to closing credit” with an emphasis on 20 years of Wu-Tang’s catalogue. According to the festival, the “new score features a vast array of over 40 instrumental tracks, beats and vocals individually crafted and placed to amplify the narrative and electrifying action.”

    A dubbed version of the film that RZA saw for the first time when he was a 12-year-old growing up in Staten Island is the version that will screen. It will be presented with all of its original dialog intact.

    The screening will take place at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Blvd on October 10 at 7PM PST. Tickets for this and other events – including a screening of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China with a live Q&A with Kurt Russell – are on sale now.
    This event really sounds like a lot of fun. Wish I could make it.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  15. #15
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    Great EW interview

    Big Trouble in Little China: An oral history
    A look back on John Carpenter's cult favorite with Kurt Russell, 30 years after its release
    BY CLARK COLLIS • @CLARKCOLLIS


    (20th Century Fox Film Corp./Courtesy Everett Collection)
    Posted July 16 2016 — 9:00 AM EDT

    A hapless trucker drives a cargo of pigs into San Francisco and is drawn into a supernatural fight with an ancient sorcerer. It’s not the most obvious premise for a potential summer blockbuster, but that’s precisely how 1986’s Big Trouble in Little China was pitched to veteran filmmaker John Carpenter – as a big-budget adventure that could become the next Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Halloween director was just coming off of Starman, the acclaimed sci-fi love story that earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar nomination, and he was attracted to Big Trouble’s oddball mix of martial arts, monsters, and mysticism. Problem was, audiences weren’t, and the film flopped. Spectacularly.

    Some members of the Chinese community were upset by what they regarded as the stereotypical depictions in a “white man’s product” and by the fact that hardly any nonwhite female characters talk in the film. Other viewers were confounded by the off-kilter plot and a leading man – Kurt Russell’s Jack Burton – who was more bumbling comic relief than conventional hero. Yet, like James Hong’s villainous sorcerer David Lo Pan, Big Trouble has amassed an army of followers who delight in its sheer, nonsensical weirdness. Among their ranks? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, now set to star in a planned Fox remake. “When people come up [to me] and they say, ‘Big Trouble,’ they have a look in their eye,” Russell says. “It’s like, ‘I know what kind of person you are!’ You know, when something is a cult classic, it’s a cult classic for a reason.”

    The script was penned by Gary Goldman and David Z. Weinstein and subsequently adapted by W.D. Richter, director of another bomb–turned–cult classic, 1984’s The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Set in – and under – San Francisco’s Chinatown district, the Big Trouble screenplay found Jack Burton teaming with a local restaurant owner to rescue the latter’s fiancée from the evil David Lo Pan.

    JOHN CARPENTER (Director): I saw my first kung fu movie in 1973. It was – what the hell was the name of that thing? – Five Fingers of Death! It was truly an astonishing film. There was an innocence to these movies and a joyousness that I loved. I wanted to bring all that to Big Trouble. It had been a Western, originally, but then it was rewritten to be a modern-day movie.

    GARY GOLDMAN (Writer): Ours was about a cowboy in Chinatown in 1899. Instead of a truck driver, he worked providing meat to feed the Chinese workers who were building the railroad. Twentieth Century Fox tried to make it as a Western. They sent to Walter Hill [director of The Long Riders and 48 HRS]. He declined to do it. W.D. Richter came up, I presume, with the idea of making it contemporary. I wasn’t privy to that process.

    W.D. RICHTER (Screenplay adapter): Buckaroo Banzai mystified people. Nobody was pounding on my door to direct the next thing. I got the Big Trouble script through my agent. It struck me that it might be more vibrant if it were a contemporary movie. That was my pitch.

    GOLDMAN: The idea that we would be rewritten was not so unthinkable. Although, in this case, the idea that you would have something so original and not speak to the writers about it did strike us as being bizarre and unfair.

    RICHTER: I [understood] Jack Burton from the beginning – kind of a lovable loudmouth. He didn’t talk that away at all [in the original screenplay]. I was thinking the other day that he’s maybe a likable Donald Trump. You know, if Donald Trump weren’t reprehensible, and if he didn’t happen to become a billionaire because of his father, he might be a f—ing truck driver, driving pigs into San Francisco. It’s not beyond my imagination. And he’d be unqualified for every challenge thrown in front of him, but he wouldn’t get that, and he might persevere out of sheer ignorance and sense of “I-can-do-anything.”

    CARPENTER: Jack Burton is a guy who is a sidekick but doesn’t know it. He’s an idiot-blowhard. He’s an American fool in a world that he doesn’t understand.

    RICHTER: John gave me notes and then he went to Kurt and Kurt said, “Yes,” because he likes to work with John anyway.

    Kurt Russell had worked with Carpenter on Escape From New York and The Thing. The director cast Dennis Dun (Year of the Dragon) as restaurateur Wang Chi and model Suzee Pai as his fiancée, Miao Yin. Blade Runner actor James Hong portrayed the wizened Lo Pan – as well as a less ancient, incorporeal version of the character. A young Kim Cattrall landed the role of plucky lawyer (and Jack Burton’s love interest) Gracie Law, while future Scandal star Kate Burton played Gracie’s journalist friend, Margo. Other good guys were played by Donald Li and the late Victor Wong.

    KURT RUSSELL (Jack Burton): I thought John cast the movie right. The people fit their roles and they knew what to do. Kim Cattrall was terrific. Kate Burton…

    KATE BURTON (Margo): Kurt Russell, and Kim Cattrall, and I were [virtually] the only non-Asian actors in the movie. I was aware at the time that it was pretty extraordinary.

    CARPENTER: Dennis Dun was one of the actors from San Francisco, the Bay Area. He and Victor Wong were actors up there.

    RUSSELL: The real lead was Wang.

    DENNIS DUN (Wang Chi): It was only my second film. I was very nervous taking a part like this. John Carpenter always said, “Don’t worry, you’re fine, just be a hero, don’t worry about it.” [Laughs]

    CARPENTER: James Hong was a character actor who we had all seen but hadn’t really thought of too much. He came in and read for me and he was just brilliant.

    JAMES HONG (David Lo Pan): Sixty-three years I’ve been in the industry. For the first 50 years, I was averaging 10 feature or TV appearances every year. That schooled me for roles like Lo Pan, where I play multi-characters – the old man Lo Pan, the tall Man*da*rin with the headgear, and the young Lo Pan.

    STEVE JOHNSON (Creature creator): James Hong was such a joy, and here was my opportunity to do an amazing old age makeup… My first thought was, this script is loaded with all kinds of animatronics and makeup effects and a smorgasbord of everything that we people, you know, get erections over.

    HONG: When Steve Johnson worked on me, he took the upmost care with every hair, because nothing was digitalized in those days. The first day of work, I think it took him nine or ten hours to put that makeup on.

    JOHNSON: His character is just so funny. You know that scene where he’s in his electric wheelchair and he comes bursting into the study? “Shut up, Mr Burton!” Every time he would do that, his performance was so silly that I erupted in laughter and ruined the take. John would be like, “Cut! Cut! Cut!” The third time, John literally threw me off-set because I was ruining all these takes [Laughs].
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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