King of kung fu lauds little prince

A solemn Jaden Smith bows and says "Master, I love you" in Chinese to Jackie Chan.
The kung fu king, in turn, laughs and gives the 12-year-old boy a big hug.

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This was the scene at the opening of the Jackie Chan Cinema in western Beijing on Wednesday, which launched with the premiere of The Karate Kid, a remake of the 1980s classic. The son of American actor and singer Will Smith has been learning kung fu from Chan on and off screen for nearly a year.
"We are proud that he can not only rap, dance, and act, but also do kung fu," says the father, who was in town to promote the film.
"But one of the most important things is that the kung fu is learned from Jackie Chan."
Will is producer of the movie along with wife Jada Pinkett Smith. The couple did not play in the movie as they "wanted to focus behind the scene".
However, Chan reveals the real reason was so they could keep an eye on Jaden as he was put through stick training and other dangerous moves.
"We all know Will is a great actor, producer and singer but he is also a good father," Chan says. "He would carry all of Jaden's stuff when we climbed the mountains. And when we shot some really dangerous moves, he was so worried about his son."
"But Chan took us out to dinner every night. All those different Chinese foods relaxed us," Will replies.
What impressed Chan most, though, was Jaden's dedication and hard work.
"I think he is born like that, he has this kind of gene," Chan says. "But he is also hard working even though he is born into such a privileged family." Chan says his stunt team trained Jaden for three months for the fight scenes before the shooting began, and adds the young boy proved himself adept at mastering all the moves.
"We did the movie last year but he still practices kung fu everyday. I am sure he will beat his father one day and then he will beat me," Chan jokes.
Directed by Harald Zwart (director of Agent Cody Banks, The Pink Panther 2), The Karate Kid tells the story of Jaden Smith as Dre Parker, who reluctantly moves with his widowed mom to China. Saved by a Mr Han from a beating at the hands of a gang of young kung fu players, Dre trains with Han, who is a secret kung fu master, for a tournament.
Despite all the movie's fight scenes, Jaden says he faced his biggest challenge while chasing in the mountains.
"I had to stay fast and watch out for wet ground and jump over sharp outgrowth in the forest," Jaden says. "But it's really cool to be a kung fu player."
Jaden got his big-screen start alongside his dad in the 2006 drama The Pursuit of Happyness and co-starred in the science-fiction remake The Day the Earth Stood Still. He says he wants to make acting a lifelong career and do more action roles.
While everybody is kung fu fighting in the movie, Jackie Chan has a surprise role. The 50-year-old plays a humble, gray-haired building maintenance worker in plain blue shirt.
"I am very happy to play a serious role," he says.
The veteran of action-comedy, whose smash hits in Hollywood include the Rush Hour series, says the new movie has fewer kung fu moves and lighthearted conversations from him.
Much of the film was shot in and around Beijing, including the Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Olympic venues. There was also a four-day shooting stint on Wudang Mountain in Central China, which made a great impression on Will.
"We've seen the thousands of years of history of the country in four months. That experience was so inspiring," he says.
The movie opened in the United States on June 11 and topped the US box office that weekend with nearly $60 million. Will says that he hopes the success will extend to China.
"I'm very excited about how well the movie did in the US and I hope the rest of the world will have the same reaction," says Will.
"This collaboration will speak loudly. It's truly a collaboration of two very different nations."

Fri, Jun 18, 2010
China Daily/Asia News Network 
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