Chan and Li team up in "Forbidden Kingdom"

Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:03pm EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In a rare moment of candor in Hollywood, Jackie Chan admitted he was unimpressed with the script of his new movie, "The Forbidden Kingdom" but the chance to work with fellow martial arts star Jet Li for the first time lured him to the project.

The film -- Chan is not sure if it's his 94th or 95th movie -- opens in major U.S. cities on Friday. While his fans may think he and Li never worked together before because of a professional rivalry, Chan told Reuters they actually are "close friends" who "could never find the right project."

Then came "The Forbidden Kingdom" with Rob Minkoff ("The Lion King") directing.

"When they gave me the script, I thought it was nonsense," Chan said. "But they told me Jet was doing it so I said 'yes.' The other reason was the director. I loved 'The Lion King' so I knew he'd make a great fantasy for the kids, and it is."

The filmmakers did run into one big problem with the two martial arts masters.

"After that first take, Rob and the cameraman came over and told us, 'You guys are too quick. Can you slow down?"' Chan said. "But we both wanted to show off."

Chan, 54, was a major star of Hong Kong action flicks before making it big in the United States in the "Rush Hour" movies and Li, 44, followed a similar career path starting in Asia and breaking into Hollywood with "Lethal Weapon 4."

Both now act and produce their own films and in a new twist for "Forbidden Kingdom," they both have dual roles.   Continued...

<p>Jet Li (L) and Jackie Chan pose during a news conference to promote their latest film "The Forbidden Kingdom" in Hong Kong March 18, 2008. REUTERS/Victor Fraile</p>