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Jay Chou
Posted on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm
by IDMA Editor

Taiwanese entertainer Jay Chou has vocalized his frustrations with the paparazzi in Asia through his music that has reached millions of consumers overseas.

Dubbed the “Asian King of Pop,” Chou has been a top-selling artist since his debut album in 2000. He is an award-winning actor, director, composer and pop star. His fan base throughout Asia is immeasurable.

Photo of Jay Chow: actor, director, composer and pop star - photo credit

But in the West, Chou is virtually unknown.

The fame he gained over ten years ago after winning Taiwan’s talent show “Super New Talent King” soon spawned doting fans and hounding paparazzi.

Chou says he appreciates traveling to the United States, like his recent visit to Los Angeles, Calif., where he is able to bask outside of the spotlight, unrecognized by fans and the paparazzi.

Chou says he feels “more relaxed” in the U.S.

“I am really irritated by the paparazzi in Asia. The paparazzi here, they are friendlier. They are nicer and people are further away from you,” Chou said through a translator in a phone call to the Pacific Citizen. “I don’t have any fans from the states yet.”

That obscurity Chou enjoys stateside could soon, however, be shattered after “The Green Hornet” premiers Jan. 14. Chou takes on the role of Kato, a character once played by Bruce Lee in the late-1960s TV series.

Being able to traipse through streets in the California sun unrecognized is not the only enjoyment Chou experiences in the U.S. Chou says L.A. is filled with “pretty girls,” and he enjoys walking along the beach.

“When I film in America I feel like I’m on vacation,” Chou explained. “There’s a lot of food, people take care of you. In Asia everything [on set] is a rush. They rush everything. Everything is really fast-paced there.”

Chou, who is nicknamed “Chairman Chou” by his adoring fans in Asia because of his multiple-talents, says the role of Kato fits him well. It was a chance, Chou explained, for him to play the role of a hero.

“It doesn’t matter that I play the sidekick or anything,” Chou explained, speaking in his native Mandarin tongue. “I feel like it’s a really cool role for me to play.”

The Columbia Pictures film follows Britt Reid, the heir to a Los Angeles-based media empire, as he meets Kato after his father’s death. Reid, played by Seth Rogen, vows to give meaning to his life. He swears off his routine weekend debaucheries to take down the bad guys.

Kato, an employee of Reid’s father, creates an indestructible car called the Black Beauty to aid them in their crime-fighting efforts.

The Black Beauty is equipped with all necessary crime-fighting provisions including grill-mounted flamethrowers, Stinger missiles, machine guns, suicide doors, retractable front wheel anti-riot spikes, ejector seats, a fax machine, turntable and an icemaker.

The unlikely duo sets out to fight crime, posing as criminals in the hopes of getting closer to the evil villains. Their plan works.

With the help of Reid’s new beautiful secretary Lenore Case, played by Cameron Diaz, the Green Hornet prepares to destroy villain Benjamin Chudnofsky, played by Christoph Waltz.

A native Mandarin speaker, Chou says learning the English lines in “The Green Hornet” was a challenge. “English is still a problem,” he said, adding that he often needed the aid of a translator. Diaz explained at a press conference how Chou began saying his lines phonetically.

It was not just the lines that tested Chou’s English skills. Understanding his co-stars was also a challenge.

“We were like brothers when we were filming,” Chou explained about his co-star. “I have a hard time understanding Seth because he talks really fast. Then after he says everything he laughs. So after he laughed, I’d laugh.”

Filmmakers did a “world search” to cast for the role of Kato.

Chou’s initial audition with “The Green Hornet” executives took place via Skype. He was soon flown from Taiwan to meet the studio executives in person.

“It was immediately clear that he was super cool,” Rogen said in a press statement about his co-star. “He’s really charismatic, he’s handsome, he has that cool hair. He’d never take orders from a guy like Britt Reid.”

Another challenge to Chou was stepping into the shoes of a legend.

Playing Kato, Chou found he had to live up to Bruce Lee’s portrayal of the character. Fight stunt coordinator Jeff Imada explained in a press statement how Chou’s dance training helped him to quickly pick up stunt choreography.

Photo of Bruce Lee as Kato

Imada explained that Chou learned his stunt moves, “half-way through the fight on his own without any prompting. He just visually picked it up and went through it. He understands how to flow from one thing to the next.”

Photo of Jay Chou - credit

With his first major American role set to debut this week, Chou is already looking toward future stateside projects.

“If there is a sequel I want to have more romance in the movie,” Chou explained about the possibility of a second movie. “If there is a sequel.”

Until then, Chou facetiously warned a fellow Chinese-speaking actor to not step on his toes:

“Jackie Chan should be careful. Jay is coming.”

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