GeekDevil’s exclusive interview with actress/martial artist Juju Chan.

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Juju Chan
is a muti-talented martial artist/actress who can currently be seen in the martial arts sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny and soon-to-be-released Savage Dog, a film that we’re looking forward to, in which Juju stars  alongside Scott Adkins, Cung Le and Marko Zaror.

JuJu was born in Hong Kong and moved to the States when she was 6. She started learning martial arts since 10 years old. She is trained in Judo, Shotokan, Hung Ga, Wing Chun, Taekwon-Do, boxing, and Thai-boxing. She represented Hong Kong in the Taekwon-Do ITF World Championships, Asia Championships, and China Open Championships. She had also fought and won in the WMC the One Mauy Thai Championships in Hong Kong in 2014.

She is also a singer-songwriter, releasing her first album in Hong Kong in 2011. She is a published author of two books in Hong Kong.

 

 

Her film projects includes Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny where she played a lead supporting role as Silver Dart Shi. She had also starred in Hollywood’s legendary producer Roger Corman’s Fist of the Dragon as the lead actress Meili, and received 3 nominations and won a Best Actress Award.

In Asia she is represented by Sun Entertainment Culture Ltd, one of the leading entertainment company in Hong Kong and China.

In Hollywood, she is represented by The Gersh Agency, which also represents Tony Jaa, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Winona Ryder.

GD: Hi Juju, thank you very much for making the time for this interview. Can you tell us about your background in martial arts and how you got into it as well as how you got into acting?

JC: I got into martial arts because of my love with action film, since I was a kid. My dad loves action films. He would put on an action movie on TV at home almost every night, and when I was a kid I loved to copy what’s on TV. But of course it can be quite dangerous for a kid to just copy martial art moves without any training. I remember there was one time I was copying a stunt that Jackie Chan was doing in Rush Hour, and I broke the glass of the coffee table at home. After that my parents sent me to learn martial arts. I started with Judo because that’s the closest martial arts thing from my home. As I grew up, I also started learning shotokan, Chinese kung fu, Taekwon-Do, boxing, and Thai boxing. After I got my Taekwon-Do black belt, I also got selected into the Hong Kong Team and started competing in Taekwon-Do, and not long after, got scouted by a Mauy Thai school to join their club and to fight for them in Mauy Thai Championships.

For acting, I starting doing theater drama and acting in Hong Kong projects when I was in high school, and that got me more and more interested in developing an acting career. I went to NYU Tisch School of the Arts for my Masters, and had involved myself in some independent and school projects while I was in New York. After graduating from NYU I went back to Hong Kong and got chosen to be the lead in a web series, which I would say is the official start of my acting career, as it was my first paid acting job.

GD: We are very much looking forward to your new film Savage Dog. Could you tell us about your character and about the film?

JC: Savage Dog is a full on action film with an engaging story set in Indochina, in 1959. I play Isabelle in this film, the love interest of Scott Adkin’s character, Martin. She is the stronger willed of Martin and her. Isabelle is an interesting character, strong, resilient, but most of all she is a believer in the good within the souls of men.

Isabelle is an optimist, focused, and is determined to win over and influence the man she believes to be her father (Steiner, played by Vladimir Kulich). Even though every sign on earth points to him being a terrible person, Isabelle is set on proving otherwise.
In movie terms she is innocent, and seemingly naive, but she is no fool. Her obvious upbringing in the midst of war makes her quite complex. She is a fighter, except that her fighting is done by her patience.

Savage Dog Director Jesse V. Johnson and Juju Chan

GD: How was working with with Scott Adkins, Marko  Zaror and Cung Le? All being martial artists did you train together at all and/or exchange tips or from each of your own experiences in martial arts and acting?

JC: I feel so privileged for having the chance to work with all the wonderful cast members. We all became good friends after the shoot and we still get together for dinners, and since Marko and Cung are both often in LA we do go to the gym and train sometimes.

Most of my scenes are with Scott. Working with him was fun and wonderful! He is great in both action and dramatic scenes! It is very easy to get into character and emotion with him when we were doing our dramatic scenes.

Juju and Scott Adkins aim high with their kicks!

I’ve actually known Cung Le for a couple of years, meeting him when we were both attending the UFC event in Macau, as guests of the event. It was great to see him again especially as this time we were actually working together on a film.

I’ve only shared one scene with Marko, but we’ve got to interact a lot behind the scenes, and became good friends. He is a very disciplined person, not only in his training but also with his diet. I’ve learned a lot from him!

Juju Chan and Savage Dog cast Charles Fathy, Cung Le, Marko Zaror and Scott Adkins

GD: Also, we previously saw you kicking ass in the wuxia sequel Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny. Can you tell us what it was like working alongside Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh and for director/action  director Yuen Woo Ping?

JC: In Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Swords of Destiny I played Silver Dart Shi, the female warrior, fighting along side Donnie Yen. It was great working with Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh and Master Yeun Woo Ping. We had lots of fun shooting in New Zealand. I was there for almost 5 months!

Juju Chan on set of the tavern fight scene in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny.

Master Yuen is a legend, and it’s a great privilege to be able to work in his films. He is a very hands on director, during lunch time, I’ll see him waving a weapon around, planning for the next scene. Although he is 70 years old, he is still super fit and active! And I loved how Master Yuen designed my character, and creating a lot of memorable fight scenes in the film!

Juju with Master Yeun Woo Ping

Donnie is a very skillful martial artist and he has great presence on film. It’s an honor to work with him and be able to learn from him. He is very professional, family oriented, and very focused in what he is doing.

Donnie Yen & Juju Chan

Michelle is an inspiration. She is the classiest action star, and I have learnt a lot from working with her. She is super friendly, professional, and cheerful on set. She is very skillful with swords, and screen action. It obviously all comes from dedication, training, and experience. I really enjoyed working with her and would love to work with her again.

Juju Chan with Michelle Yeoh

GD: Can you tell us who your influences are and what inspires you?

JC: My favorite action stars are Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Gordon Liu, Kara Hui, Donnie Yen, Michelle Yeoh. They are all great martial artists and actors and I love watching their films, to be inspired by them and to learn from their work.
People with a positive attitude and skillful in their work always inspires me to keep improving myself.

GD: And what can we next look forward to seeing you in?

JC: My upcoming films includes: SAVAGE DOG, Sci-Fi film V-FORCE: NEW DAWN OF V.I.C.T.O.R.Y. co-starring with Billy Zane & Bruce Dern, MADE IN KOWLOON co-starring with Max Zhang & UFC star Anderson Silva, Hong Kong thriller XǏ NÙ ĀIYUÈ directed by Teddy Robin.

GD: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to seeing more of your work.

To keep up-to-date with Juju and her projects she can be followed on any of the follow:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jujuchanhk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jujuchan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JuJu_Chan

 

About author

Ninja

Contributor to Geek Devil. Ninja (or Ben, as he is known to his friends) is a life long fan of the martial arts films. Like most fans of the genre, he also enjoys action and various other catagories of film. When not watching a film or in the cinema, he can be found enjoying Chinese food in or near Chinatown or at a gig enjoying live music.