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Jackie Chan has given the same American talk show interview for nearly 30 years. He describes the grueling training he endured from ages 7 to 17 at the China Drama Academy. He talks about how he gets recognized in even the most isolated places around the world. He lets David Letterman or Conan O’Brien feel the hole on his head from when he cracked his skull. He sweep-kicks bottles or somersaults over their desks. And in many of these interviews, Chan has expressed the same sentiment, usually after the host introduces him with a karate chop flourish: “I’m an actor, I want to do some drama.”
Since at least 2004, Chan has talked about “becoming a true actor” like Robert De Niro, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood, or his Kung Fu Panda co-star Dustin Hoffman. And last year, when Chan received an honorary Oscar, he talked about how, despite all his global acclaim, his father continued to ask him when he would win an Academy Award. With the release of The Foreigner, a traditional action thriller that pits him against Pierce Brosnan, and Chan’s first wide-release film in seven years, he may finally have his chance to be taken seriously. But history tells us that for the average American moviegoer, viewing Chan as a serious actor is a tough sell, despite the decades of experience he has had as a Hong Kong director, actor, and stunt coordinator.
Lo Wei, the Hong Kong director who made The Big Boss and Fist of Fury, the films that turned Bruce Lee into a veritable action star in China, began looking for the next Bruce Lee after Lee died unexpectedly in 1975. He thought Chan might fit the bill and had him sign a contract with Lo Wei Productions. Chan played the lead, as Lee’s brother, in the 1976 Fist of Fury sequel New Fist of Fury. But after that, plus six more failed attempts to make Chan a star, Chan conspired with director Chen Chi-hwa to make Half a Loaf of Kung Fu, which spoofed other kung fu films by poking fun at the machismo usually on display in such movies. Aside from when he eats spinach Popeye-style and becomes a fighting machine, Chan — the film’s star, stunt coordinator, and, essentially, creative director — is helpless against his opponents. Lo called Half a Loaf “rubbish” and shelved it for two years. But once the film hit theaters in 1980, it became a hit in Southeast Asia.
“Bruce was a success because he did things that no one else was doing,” Chan once said to a Hong Kong studio exec, according to his autobiography I Am Jackie Chan. “Now everyone is doing Bruce. If we want to be successful too, we need to be Bruce’s opposite.”
For the next two decades leading up to Rush Hour, Chan established his singular filmmaking style with Hong Kong action comedies like Drunken Master, Wheels on Meals, Police Story, Armour of God, Twin Dragons, City Hunter, Mr. Nice Guy, Who Am I?, and the dozen-plus sequels they spawned. He directed his first film in 1979 (Fearless Hyena), received his first acting award nomination in 1984 (for Project A), and broke Hong Kong box office records (with My Lucky Stars, which grossed $30 million).
Chan became famous for how he could really fight, but also really, really get hurt. During his action sequences, which could be up to 20 minutes long, his face would scrunch up in agony, his body would bruise, and his four-times-broken nose would bleed. He’d resort to using clothing, ladders, and dinner plates as self-defense, anything and everything but a gun. There isn’t a single Jackie Chan fight scene that hasn’t looked or felt painful. By the time the blooper reel rolls at the end of each movie, the audience understands that Chan came out on top not just because of his mastery, but because of human virtues like perseverance and resourcefulness. Chan would have to throw a hundred punches in lightning-quick, expertly choreographed succession to survive whoever would gang up on him. And without resorting to Hollywood shortcuts like cutaways or closeup shots like in most action films, Chan made sure the audience could actually count each punch.
Chan first attempted to break into Hollywood with 1980’s The Big Brawl, directed by Enter the Dragon’s Robert Clouse. Like Lo, Clouse wanted Chan to fight like Bruce Lee — slowly, deliberately, and forcefully. The film bombed. In 1981 he appeared in The Cannonball Run with Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. The Cannonball Run did become the seventh-biggest film in the US that year, though Roger Ebert panned it: “They didn’t even care enough to make a good lousy movie.” Meanwhile, between the lack of creative control over the action scenes, and the interviews with clueless reporters who couldn’t even distinguish karate from kung fu, Chan felt humiliated. “Hollywood rejected me and turned me into something silly and shameful,” he writes in his autobiography. Chan wouldn’t return to Hollywood until five years later, to work with the now-obscure James Glickenhaus for 1985’s The Protector. He was so unsatisfied with how Glickenhaus directed the action scenes, he filmed extra footage to restructure the final scene for The Protector‘s Chinese print.
“Jim told me he didn’t want Jackie to do any of his long fights,” said American Ninja star Steve James, in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon producer Bey Logan’s book Hong Kong Action Cinema, “but I said, ‘Jim, that’s what makes Jackie popular! We all knew that when the first Police Story came out that that’s what The Protector should have been.”
Police Story, directed by Chan, was such a Hong Kong blockbuster that it spawned a hit franchise with four more installations. Scenes from the 1985 original have been copied in Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell’s Tango and Cash, Brandon Lee’s Rapid Fire, and Bad Boys II. Yet in 1996, when Chan tried to re-release Police Story 3: Supercop in the United States, he lost creative control to twenty-something editors who chose a dance remix of “Kung Fu Fighting” for the end credits. “The American production [studio], they trust them [when] they only spend 10 days, one week, looking at the movie,” Chan said during the DVD extras interview. Keep in mind that Chan had just starred in Rumble in the Bronx, his first movie to become a box office success at home and in the United States.
Director Brett Ratner thought his upcoming 1998 buddy comedy Rush Hour was a perfect compromise between Eastern and Western sensibilities and thus the perfect vehicle for Chan. He was such a fan of Chan’s films, he would reference them on set while allowing Chan to improvise the Rush Hour fight scenes: “Remember in Police Story 2, Jackie, when…” But Ratner also wanted to keep fight scenes at two minutes or less, because “American audiences have a very different attention span.”
Rush Hour grossed $100 million in the US, making Chan a cultural phenomenon there, finally. But the attention was often humiliating. Demonstrating kung fu on TV made Chan feel like a “trained dog,” as his autobiography says, though he kept doing it anyway — that is what his former manager called “the price to pay for success” in America. Meanwhile, Hollywood attributed more of the film’s success to co-star Chris Tucker, according to I Am Jackie Chan’s co-writer Jeff Yang.
Chan later said on his official site that the Rush Hour franchise was his least favorite of the film series he starred in because he felt like he compromised too much. While making the first Rush Hour, he would argue with cinematographer Adam Greenberg until Greenberg walked off set in frustration. “I’ve seen the results when Hollywood people try to make ‘Jackie Chan’-style movies,” Chan says in his autobiography. “It looks ridiculous. There’s no continuity to the action, no flow; everybody’s flying around, and there are too many quick cuts, and it’s more like a trip to the amusement park than a kung-fu fight.” (He’s right — just watch filmmaker Tony Zhou’s breakdown of how Chan’s fight scenes compare to Hollywood’s.)
In America, Chan wouldn’t get his first action director credit until Shanghai Knights, the 2003 sequel to Shanghai Noon. The basic premise of both films, Imperial China meets the Wild Wild West, was also his idea. Yet even after that, and again with 2010’s The Karate Kid remake (Chan’s last film to get a wide release), he kept getting offered stereotypical roles — “either Hong Kong Cop or Killer from China,” as he complained back in 1998. (September’s The Lego Ninjago Movie isn’t much better. Chan voices a “Master Wu” mentoring a young blond hero played by Dave Franco. Rush Hour’s Ratner is an executive producer, and it shows: Only a self-proclaimed martial arts fan like him would have Master Wu spar with a wooden training dummy, as Chan did in Rumble. But once again, Chan’s voice is outnumbered and overwhelmed by white ones.)
Consequently, The Foreigner, directed by GoldenEye and Casino Royale‘s Martin Campbell, is a welcome departure from such roles. Chan was already on board by the time Campbell signed on. But Campbell has since become the rare director who has seen Chan’s talent, and that revelation comes from an unexpected source: The Karate Kid. “There’s a marvelous scene where [Mr. Han] destroys this car,” Campbell said to GQ in September for a profile of Chan. “I think it was a car crash that killed his family, and he survived, and every year he reconstructs and remodels this car to perfect condition, and on the day of their death he smashes it with a sledgehammer, as a kind of wailing wall, as it were. He’s excellent in that film. That really was the clue for me that he could do this.”
Campbell’s instincts were right. The Foreigner’s cat-and-mouse game pits Chan, playing a Vietnamese-born Londoner avenging his daughter’s death, against a former IRA leader turned British government official with convoluted allegiances (Pierce Brosnan). Chan is still easy to root for. He appears a decade older than his character’s supposed age of 61, with his pronounced gray hairs and wrinkles, hobbling. But he also has a quiet intensity that outshines his co-star Brosnan’s bluster. Once Chan completes his personal mission, the stream of tears he sheds feel authentic and earned.
Chan also had more behind-the-scenes involvement in The Foreigner, says Campbell, bringing in one of his own stunt directors to guide the action scenes. Whether he will ever be critically and commercially recognized stateside for his own Rocky remains to be seen. (At least Stallone, now a good friend, will cheer him on.) For now, he is being as resilient and resourceful as he has ever been doing death-defying stunts on screen. While he has pretty much confirmed that Rush Hour 4 begins production next year, he told the Associated Press in 2005 that he only does American films like those to fund projects where he has autonomy back home. He has also updated his plea to American producers for more diverse roles. “Can I have something different like La La Land?” he told Stephen Colbert and Chelsea Handler while promoting The Foreigner this week. Chan may still be repeating himself, but at least the conversation surrounding him might finally, actually change.
Christina Lee is a culture journalist who has written for Rolling Stone, The Guardian and Red Bull Music Academy. In 2014 she won an Atlanta Press Club award for her co-write on the Creative Loafing cover story “Straight Outta Stankonia.”
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What do you think of Gaga’s cake?
It looks delicious!!!!
It looks like a piece of shit!!!!
Speaking to the LA Times, Blake said:
He was saying things inappropriately, insisting on putting my lipstick on with his finger. I was sleeping one night on location and I woke up and he was filming me. I was clothed, but it was a very voyeuristic, terrifying thing to do.
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BuzzFeed News has learned that Twitter’s Trust and Safety Team doesn’t have the ability to remove or block individual tweets; it can only take action on accounts. That’s why Twitter disabled key features of actor Rose McGowan’s account on Wednesday night after she posted a private phone number to the service.
That move disabled McGowan’s ability to tweet, retweet, or like anything on Twitter at a critical moment: She had been using the platform to detail the alleged sexual misconduct of film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and to call for repercussions for such behavior and those who enable it.
When McGowan published a tweet in violation of Twitter’s rules, the company’s Trust and Safety Team’s only option was to silence her entire account until she deleted that tweet. McGowan did so and was initially told she’d have to wait 12 hours for full functionality to be restored, but someone from Twitter apparently intervened and restored it in full.
Sources familiar with Twitter’s trust and safety operations and policies say this heavy-handed protocol is intentional. “It’s not just a technical bit; that’s the way the Twitter policy is drawn up,” one former employee told BuzzFeed News. But it’s clear that the policy isn’t particularly well-suited to cases like McGowan’s. After a number of Twitter users expressed shock that the actor had been restricted while some legitimate trolls and harassers often go undisciplined, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey conceded the company needs to better explain the rationale behind its enforcement actions. “We do need to do a better job at showing that we are not selectively applying rules,” Dorsey said.
For the platform’s critics, the McGowan restriction is confirmation of a fundamental disconnect between Twitter’s harassment prevention tools and the realities of policing the social network. Many of the company’s terms-of-service rules and abuse prevention tools feel like relics of a different, smaller Twitter, drawn up long before the service became the beating heart of breaking news and a chaotic political battleground.
The frustration around the McGowan incident is magnified by countless of stories of Twitter dismissing reports of clear-cut harassment. Though Twitter has repeatedly pledged to do a better job policing its platform for abuse, BuzzFeed News has compiled dozens of instances of valid reports of harassment that the company dismissed as not in violation of its rules. Similarly, Twitter’s enforcement of those rules continues to be inconsistent. Earlier this month, when conspiracy theorist Alex Jones tweeted out a graphic, unconfirmed image of the alleged Vegas shooter’s body in a pool of blood, Twitter kept the photo up — adding a sensitive image tag — under its “newsworthiness” clause. The social network gave the same “newsworthiness” reason for not intervening when president Trump tweeted late last month at North Korea, a gesture the country called “an act of war.”
Twitter declined comment.
Some observers feel the company should rethink its trust and safety system. “What would Twitter have to lose in completely blowing up their whole approach to trust and safety?” a former Twitter employee told BuzzFeed News. “It’s not more transparency, it’s the fucking rules. The interpretation of the rules and clarity of the rules. I don’t see what the company would have to lose at this point by completely redrafting the policy.”
Perhaps, but sources close to the company told BuzzFeed News Twitter doesn’t want to be seen as making editorial decisions about the material published on its platform.
But silencing an entire account until a tweet is removed instead of removing that tweet itself could also be Twitter’s way of rationalizing that it’s not really removing that content. And in this case, the system it designed blew up in its face.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
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Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.
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This luxury resort in Kruger National Park is worthy of a once-in-a-lifetime safari getaway. The 13 glamorous suites are built into the trees overlooking the N’Wanetsi River. You may never want to leave…
Located on a stretch of California coast just south of the quaint towns of Carmel-by-the-Sea and Monterey, the Post Ranch Inn is a hidden refuge along Big Sur. The 39 treehouse rooms are built on stilts and boast sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Talk about a place to catch a stunning sunset…
There are lots of beautiful places to stay in Paris, but few can compete with this elegant, glitzy hotel in the 16th arrondissement. The hotel occupies an old Parisian palace, and everything from the food to the dining has that certain je ne sais quoi. Imagine falling asleep with the Eiffel Tower just outside your window.
If Santorini is one of the most picturesque places in the world, then consider the Katikies Hotel an Instagrammer’s dream. Between the bright white cavernous rooms, which gaze onto the turquoise Aegean sea, the infinity pools that seem to trickle into the ocean, and the candlelit rooftop overlooking the entire Oia landscape, the Katikies is truly a Mediterranean paradise.
If you have a knack for adventure then this Scandinavian locale is your dream getaway. It’s located above the Arctic circle in the Finish Lapland. During the day, huskies and reindeer will take you sleigh riding, and at night you’ll sleep in a glass igloo or chalet underneath the Northern Lights. Talk about getting hygge.
Turns out, you don’t have to travel all the way to Bora Bora to stay in a thatched hut on stilts above the crystal clear ocean. In the Palafitos-Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma, your hotel room has a glass bottom floor above the Caribbean Sea. If that’s not enough, each overwater suite comes with a private infinity pools, jaccuzis, and private ladders so you can slide from your living room into the ocean.
Hours after the Hollywood Reporter published a story about Amazon Studios’ Roy Price allegedly sexually harassing a producer of one of the streamer’s shows, Price has been put on leave. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the news to BuzzFeed News: “Roy Price is on leave of absence effective immediately. We are reviewing our options for the projects we have with The Weinstein Company.” Variety was the first to report Price’s suspension.
A report that Price had been investigated by Amazon for “unwanted sexual remarks” toward Isa Hackett, a producer of The Man in the High Castle, was first reported by Kim Masters in late August in the Information. But the story got little pickup then. Then earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal wrote a devastating analysis of why the company is failing in the original content business, revealing that the company had passed on The Handmaid’s Tale (which went to Hulu and won many Emmy awards) and Big Little Lies (which went to HBO and also dominated the Emmys). The shows the streaming service has picked up have barely made a cultural impact, other than Transparent, which has won several Emmys and attracted buzz during its first few seasons.
In the wake of the investigative stories about Harvey Weinstein in the New York Times and New Yorker, revealing allegations of sexual harassment and assault, Hackett felt further emboldened, and talked to Masters again for a story in the Hollywood Reporter. Hackett is the daughter of Philip K. Dick, whose work provides the source material for The Man in the High Castle, and when she and Price were at Comic-Con in San Diego in 2015, he propositioned her. “You will love my dick,” Hackett said Price told her in a cab.
Price’s attorney Charles Harder did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for a comment about Price’s suspension and Hackett’s allegations.
Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment by numerous women over the course of the past week. At 65, one of the best-known Hollywood producers has now fallen after reports from the New York Times and the New Yorker that reveal years of alleged misconduct. Several of his victims are French, such as Judith Godrèche, Emma de Caunes, and Léa Seydoux. “We were talking on the sofa when he suddenly jumped on me and tried to kiss me. I had to defend myself. He’s tall, and fat, so I had to resist vigorously. I left, completely disgusted,” Seydoux told The Guardian.
Weinstein was fired by his production company, The Weinstein Company, and was also suspended from the British Academy of Film, which hands out the prestigious BAFTA awards each year, due to his “unacceptable” behavior. But can he lose his Legion of Honour, the highest French order?
Weinstein was made a knight of the Legion of Honour by then French president Nicolas Sarkozy in March 2012. It was shortly after the release of The Artist, which had received five Oscars.
For Sarkozy, it was a gesture to pay tribute to the work of Weinstein, who in 1979, had co-founded the Miramax company, and then The Weinstein Company in 2005. Among the feature films he produced are Pulp Fiction (1994), Shakespeare in Love (1998), and The King’s Speech (2010).
In a letter to the producer, Sarkozy had shared with Weinstein “the admiration of millions of French citizens:”
“The prestigious distinction, that I give to you in person, is a testament to the admiration of millions of French citizens for the exceptional quality of the films you have produced.
I would like to express my appreciation to you. You have always demonstrated a deep friendship for our country and our cinema that you have introduced to so many Americans.”
Considering the scandals that are tarnishing the producer, can his Legion of Honour, that being the highest French distinction, be taken from him?
On its website, the Grand Chancellery of the Legion of Honour explains in fact that the distinction can be removed in the case of a criminal conviction and when the recipient has committed acts “contrary to honor,” or detrimental to the interests of France. It explains also that the exclusionary act is announced by decree.
Weinstein was fired by his company (after a decision from its board of directors), but no complaint has been filed against him yet. On Thursday, the New York Police Department opened an inquiry on a potential sexual assault from 2004. But for now, Weinstein has not been criminally convicted.
“The general rule is to wait for a final criminal decision before starting a disciplinary procedure,” explains the Chancellery to BuzzFeed News. It adds:
“This procedure involves the Grand Chancellor and council of the Order of the Legion of Honour, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of the Republic, Grand Master of the Legion of Honour.”
Can the Legion of Honour therefore be taken from him for having harmed the honor? On this, the Chancellery explains:
“Regarding acts contrary to honor, this is generally done on a case-by-case basis. But at this time, it is too early to know what will happen. It is not a decision to be taken spontaneously. We have to leave time to see things more clearly.”
When contacted by BuzzFeed News, the Ministry of Culture indicated that they “followed the matter at this time without being able to provide information.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet responded, nor has the President’s cabinet. As for Sarkozy’s cabinet, it indicated to BuzzFeed News that the former head of state could not respond.
If the Legion of Honour was to be taken from the fallen Hollywood tycoon, this would not be the first time. In 2014, cyclist Lance Armstrong was deprived of his distinction (received in 2005) for “failure contrary to honor,” after being convicted of doping. British designer John Galliano also lost his Legion of Honour in 2012 (he had received it in 2009) after being condemned for anti-Semitic insults in 2011.
This post was translated from French.
David Perrotin est journaliste société chez BuzzFeed News France et travaille depuis Paris. Il écrit notamment sur les sujets liés aux discriminations.
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In a series of tweets directed at Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Rose McGowan has accused the company of “funding rapist, alleged pedos and sexual harassers.” She wrote that she told the head of Amazon Studios, presumably Roy Price, that she told him “HW raped me.” She claims Price said “it hadn’t been proven.”
Representatives for Amazon Studios and Amazon did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Harvey Weinstein’s representative, Sallie Hofmeister, told BuzzFeed News “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”
And Lisa Bloom, who until recently represented Price, told BuzzFeed News her “representation of Roy Price has concluded.” Bloom had also been advising Weinstein before she quit on Saturday.
In the New York Times story last week exposing Weinstein for alleged sexual harassment spanning decades, the Times also reported that McGowan had settled with Weinstein for $100,000 after an “after an episode in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival” when she was 23.
In Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker investigation of Weinstein, three women — two of whom were on the record, and one who was anonymous — alleged the studio mogul had raped them. Weinstein has consistently denied he has raped anyone.
McGowan has been on a tear on Twitter since the Times story posted a week ago, speaking out against Weinstein and those she perceives have colluded with him. She has started a petition demanding that The Weinstein Company board be dissolved. “Every man there has the blood of sorrow on their hands,” she tweeted on Tuesday. She also called out Ben Affleck after he made his statement about Weinstein.
McGowan’s target on Thursday was Amazon Studios. Earlier this year, McGowan was writing a script for Amazon about her childhood growing up in the Children of God cult. But Amazon Studios has made a number of television deals with The Weinstein Company, including the high-profile television series The Romanoffs by Matthew Weiner and David O. Russell’s untitled series, the sum of which McGowan called a “Weinstein bailout” on Twitter, and said she tried to nullify her script deal with the company when she learned of the projects, only to be told her show “was dead.” On Wednesday, a representative for Amazon said in a statement, “We are reviewing our options for the projects we have with The Weinstein Company.”
According a story by Kim Masters in August, Amazon investigated Price for making “unwanted sexual remarks to Isa Hackett,” a producer of The Man in the High Castle and the daughter of Philip K. Dick, upon whose novel the show is based. And in an interview with Hackett published Thursday, the producer told Masters she felt emboldened by the Weinstein revelations to come forward.
Despite McGowan’s outspoken activism on Twitter — which even got her temporarily suspended from the service Wednesday night for including a screenshot that had a phone number in it — she has not explicitly named Weinstein as her rapist, and this, using his initials and association with The Weinstein Company, is the closest she’s come.
In Farrow’s the New Yorker story, he wrote that one actor had been interviewed on the record, but later had to withdraw: “The legal angle is coming at me and I have no recourse,” she told him. A HuffPost story Wednesday about why NBC News didn’t run Farrow’s story identified that person as McGowan.
In a 2015 profile of McGowan, BuzzFeed News asked her about Weinstein after she revealed she had been raped, and had been “blacklisted” by someone powerful in the film industry. McGowan, without naming Weinstein, said in response: “There’s a lot of people that don’t deserve to be alive — put it that way. There’s a lot of people who also get the face and body they deserve.