Q’A: Forbidden Kingdom’s Angarano and Chou
Daily Cougar staff writer Jake Hamilton interviewed Collin Chou and Michael Angarano of the new martial arts epic, The Forbidden Kingdom, in Los Angeles. The film opened April 18.
Jake Hamilton: In terms of training, do they try to give you an overview of the entire art or do they train you for specific scenes in the movie?
Michael Angarano: It’s a very customized kind of martial arts class. For me, the very first thing I have to do was…
Collin Chou: Know the basics.
Angarano: Exactly, know the basics. I had to also stretch. I had to make myself able to do the rest of everything. It was about an hour of stretching each day. And then it was a lot of basic kicks, a lot of basic forms. Very basic stuff. Then they would choreograph stuff on the spot and then we would fight. We didn’t rehearse the fights that we did in the movie. Maybe five minutes before the movie.
Angarano: Yeah, it was intense.
Hamilton: Well Collin, if you train for the fight scenes for a different movie, like The Matrix sequels and then you come in do work with this style, how does that differentiate how you approach the fight?
Chou: I can adjust to whatever they do, I have been doing this my whole life. So when I prepared for The Forbidden Kingdom fighting, I just ended up getting to sleep more. (laughs)
Angarano: (laughing) Yeah, that was his training. Sleeping.
Hamilton: And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Chou: (laughing) Nothing wrong with that at all.
Hamilton: I really think the humor is going to surprise a lot of people in this movie. Was that something that was natural off set that got captured on camera?
Angarano: There were funny moments in the script originally, but Jackie is a really funny guy and Rob Minkoff, the director, has a terrific sense of humor and so it was only natural to find comedy in a lot of the situations, and it got funnier as we went along. So there was comedy in the script, but I think it’s played off a lot funnier than it was originally intended.
Hamilton: Yeah, it played very naturally. It doesn’t look scripted or anything at all.
Angarano: Well thanks, man.
Chou: You know, it’s those cultural differences that make that comedy. It just happens. I remember when people would surround Michael and the Chinese people would try to communicate with him and they don’t know any English. They would just use their language, just a little bit different. They just pronounced things a little bit differently and they think that it’s English.
Hamilton: With all of the cultural differences, does that add to the complexities of making the movie when you have two vastly different cultures coming together?
Chou: Well it’s just such a good combination, with the Eastern and the Western cultures coming together. The cultural differences makes a lot of comedy.
Angarano: And while you would think that the language barrier would make it so much more difficult, it was almost easier to communicate because you learn to understand each other on such a physical intuition. Just by going (makes wild arm movements), you know why someone is talking about. You go "Oh, OK, right!"
Hamilton: So by the end of the film, you all have your own little language going on.
Chou: In the end, everyone’s heart is all in the same place. Trying to make a good movie.
Angarano: Everyone had the same intentions.
Hamilton: So on the last day, was it hard trying to break up at all? You have all formed this family bond – how do you walk away from that?
Chou: Yeah, we all cried with each other. People think that if Michael and I hug each other, it’s from Brokeback Mountain but we say "No! It’s Forbidden Mountain!"