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Friday, August 22, 2014

Actress Juju Chan Interview (Exclusive!) (C) 2014 Dan's Movie Report- Danny Templegod


Update 7-6-16 new Demo from Juju


Update January 19th 2015 New Juju Action Demo


 There is no bigger thrill for me as an independent writer than to interview a person on the cusp of superstar status. Actress and highly skilled martial artist Juju Chan takes time out of her very busy production schedule to conduct this in depth, thought provoking interview. Juju is not only an amazing talent on screen, she is outspoken and extremely intelligent. Get ready to take a thrill ride Juju style, her detailed stories and innovative ideas are inspiring! In 2015, when Juju is on the cover of all the major U.S. magazines, remember, you read her first in depth interview on the home for exclusives, Dan's Movie Report. Enough about me, Juju, the stage is yours!

Chat about your childhood, and love of performing. I noticed that you have a variety of talents ranging from singing, martial arts, hosting, and acting. Perhaps chat about your ranging diversity of talent, and how it has shaped your career.

I've always love performing and showing my skills in front of an audience. I am thankful to have very supportive parents who provided all kinds of training for me. I started learning ballet since I was 3 and also piano. I was in the Hong Kong Children's Choir since 4 years old. I started learning figure skating since 5, Gymnastics since 6, diving since 8, judo since 11. I was also trained in Chinese dance and drama in high school, and was in the swimming team.

I am a very active person, and love the attention from the audience. I still remember when I was in elementary school, whenever I got a performance opportunity to represent my class or my school, I was the first to raise my hand. That's why you can always see me in all the singing, dancing and drama contest/performances in school. My training and experience in performance definitely shaped my career as a artist. I love being an actor, because my diverse skills can apply to a variety of different film roles, and I also enjoy the experience of living other character's lives in different film projects.



Getting a bit serious for a moment, I read an article in which you advocated female only cars on MTR trains following an assault incident. I am curious, during the two years that have passed since the incident, if you feel things have progressed. Has this incident made you delve more deeply into self defense and advocacy for women traveling alone?

Single women traveling on public transportation being molested are quite common nowadays. I was a victim two years ago in the MTR platform in Hong Kong. I was compelled to begin a campaign for women-only carriages after I was groped by a fellow commuter at Admiralty station. I was shocked and turned around. I wanted to grab whoever was responsible, but there were so many people. I had no idea who had grabbed me. He may have well already rushed off. The incident left me feeling angry, upset and determined to speak out. It was disappointing for me to see the real lack of concern that the majority of the press had over safety for women in public transport. Before going to the press I was warned that my status as an artist would cloud the issue and unfortunately it has. In the end, it is the issue of women’s safety that we as a society should look at, and not my career.
I am a strong woman who knows martial arts, and feel like I can protect myself. In this situation however, I felt helpless. I was also concerned that this kind of thing was happening to women who are weaker than me, young women, high school students in uniforms, who don't know what to do and don't speak up. That is why more and more perverts are doing this. They know no-one is going to catch them.

The police promised to view security footage to try to identify the person who assaulted her. However, I was told it would be difficult to do so because of the volume of people on the platform and because the angle of the camera may not have captured the criminal act. Two years on from the assault, the perpetrator is still at large and there appears to be no chance of catching him.

I am pretty sure the number of assaults are far higher than amount reported, with many women choosing to remain silent because they don't know how to react if they are assaulted in a crowded train and because they feel the crime is not one taken seriously.

After the assault was publicized, I received a stream of messages of support, many from men saying it was wrong and they would hate it to happen to any woman they knew. Many women contacted me and told me they'd had this kind of experience before too. Some told me it happened all the time, and it was common and we just had to accept it. That made me so mad. I thought 'How can any woman accept being molested so casually?'

Determined not to accept indecent assault as one of the pitfalls of traveling by train in Hong Kong, I instead, chose to spearhead a campaign aimed at getting the Mass Transit Rail Corporation (MTRC) to take action by introducing women-only carriages which would allow women to travel without fear of being assaulted. On October 16, 2012 I along with friends and other artists submitted a 500-signature petition to the MTRC headquarters, requesting women-only carriages so women could travel around Hong Kong feeling safe.

Similar schemes already exist on public transport networks in Tokyo, Indonesia and Taiwan. Seoul has also recently begun a pilot project with women-only cars.
MTR’s response to my letter was that they would not consider a women’s only car because there is a safety issue for emergency evacuation to solve when the train is being sectored for a Women Only unit.

This response is ridiculous knowing that the MTR has trains with "First Class" cars sectored off. So sectoring off is safe for the rich but not for the physically weaker sex?

They made no response to the points I made in my letter to them.

We have heard in the past arguments of cost and inconvenience on the part of MTR in implementing such plans. The MTR is one of the most efficient transport systems in the world but there is no excuse not to protect women’s safety. Cost should not be a compromise in context of the safety of your passengers. It should be noted, that the United Nations
 charter for Human rights dictates that every human being should feel safe in their environment. The MTR has a responsibility to uphold this U.N. charter. The fact remains, many Hong Kong women do not feel safe riding in your trains.

The inclusion of women only cars will be a great step towards women feeling safer, on top of giving them actual safety. In addition, there is a need for higher security, more cameras, and high definition cameras in strategic areas to catch criminals and thus becoming a deterrent. This is an important cause and an issue I am quite close to now, and feel quite strongly about and I will stand behind it until progress is made.



Juju, thank you for answering such a difficult question, getting back to the film world, chat about working with Roger Corman's New Horizons company on two recent films Palace of the Damned and Fist of the Dragon. I know these films are making the festival rounds. Please chat about your character and story line in both first films first Palace, then the action film 'Fist of the Dragon'. 

PALACE OF THE DAMNED is the first Roger Corman film to be made in China. Winner of the 2009 Honorary Oscars for Lifetime Achievement, Corman is the King of B Films in Hollywood and a mentor to Hollywood film directors including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, and many others. He has also helped launch the careers of actors including Jack Nicholson, Sandra Bullock and Robert De Niro. PALACE OF THE DAMNED is a feature horror with a western and oriental crossover story. It stars Katie Savoy (star in ABC pilot SUPER CITY and TNT series FRANKLIN & BASH) as Rebecca. Hong Kong actress JuJu Chan (American Chinese action actress, star in FIST OF THE DRAGON, Miss Chinatown USA 2009) play Ping Wei, who violently murdered another concubine Chan Ju Chi played by Yixin Li (star in China TV Series CODE THIRTEEN).



Directed by Antony Szeto (director of JACKIE CHAN PRESENTS: WUSHU), and filmed at ACE Studios in Nanhai, China, THE LIVING DEAD has been provided with a very tight budget for a film that includes over 400 CGI shots and various imperial sets. The film has become an Official Selection of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival 2013, and Official Selection of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival 2013. With such a tight budget to work with it was a challenge to bring the bar up on a film like this. Having this sort of recognition gives validation to all the hard work that went into making this movie at ACE Studios.

Here is the synopsis of the film: Following in the footsteps of her late fiance, who drowned under mysterious circumstances, Rebecca (played by Katie Savoy) and her film crew are in China making a documentary about the Chinese Ghost Festival. There, she learns of a story about a concubine Chan Ju Chi who is violently murdered and thrown into a well by the head concubine Ping Wei (Played by me) within the secret grounds of a palace. Legend has it that the Chan Ju Chi has risen to become a “jiangshi”, killing innocent people in the hope of taking over their bodies. Things take a turn when a worker is attacked in a decrepit well within an old palace. Rebecca tries to piece together the mystery behind the legend as one by one the people she knows are gruesomely murdered.

FIST OF THE DRAGON is my 2nd film working with Roger Corman. It's also Roger Corman's 1st action film made in China. I played the lead role as Meili in the film.
Plot Outline: Damon (Played by MMA UFC fight Josh Thomson), an MMA fighter retires and goes to China to meet his new love, Meili (my role). Circumstances take an immediate turn when he inadvertently takes a package sought by an underground arms dealer. Now he must fight to save himself and his loved one.

Perhaps share a fun story or two from production of Fist of the Dragon, looks like a full force action extravaganza.

FIST OF THE DRAGON is a full on action film, there's no wire work used in the film, and all actors performed their own stunts! As an action actress I am very happy to be the lead actress in a full on action film like this. My fun story about my involvement in the film would be instead of playing the action girl in the film, I played Meili a victim who cannot fight. Originally I was being casted as the female villain in film who will have a serious action scene with the lead actor Damon (Played by MMA UFC fight Josh Thomson). Two weeks before the shoot, however I got an offer by Roger Corman, and Director Antony Szeto decided to upgrade my role from the supporting role to the lead role, they said they loved my acting in the last film and would like me to perform more acting in the new film. As an actress, it is desirable to accept the opportunity of a bigger and challenging role in a film, therefore I accepted the role and gave up my fight scenes. This is my first time playing a victim in a film who is going through emotional and physical pain.

Chat about the power of short films in your career as a path to success, I noticed you have chosen to diversify. A modelling one with "A New Beginning" all the way to you most recent action short "Hit Girls".

Short films are becoming more and more powerful right now, because everyone can record stuff even using their phones. You can easily use your phone to create a short video, and if you have a creative idea or a story, you can easily develop it into a short film with a very low budget.  And since video sharing over the internet is so popular right now, and basically most people enjoy browsing the net and watch short videos, if they like it, they will share it, therefore a creative idea or a good story can definitely go viral easily. Nowadays, brands make short films as their promotional ads, directors make short film to pitch for their upcoming feature, others make short films to gain their popularity. I do enjoy being involved in short films, because they do not require too much time, its great to keep acting in between features. Short films are also more fun and will be released to the public quicker, thus getting audience feedback much faster.



Discuss the collaboration with Maria Tran on Hit Girls, must be amazing to work with a female director with a fantastic vision, rather empowering? How long did the fight between you and Maria take to set up, I noticed everything was choreographed very tightly, was the fight story boarded or planned out on the fly with movements relative to the scene? Share a funny story of being all dusty and rolling around with her fighting, Must have been fun rough housing with the guys as well.

It is fun working with Maria Tran and her team (Dong Tam) in Australia. They are all extremely talented! It's amazing to see what the Dong Tam martial artist team can do. Although for some of them this is the first film project, they had ever been on, they are all very professional, and the actions are great! I only had 2 days available during my stay in Australia for the shoot. It's amazing how we can finish everything in such a short amount of time with pretty decent quality. I learned my choreography in the morning from the fight choreographer Trung, and we were shooting an hour after I arrived. The whole team are very efficient, smart, creative and professional. I am very happy with the final product we have produced.



Chat about your acquisition of intense martial arts training over the past few years what new skills you have learned, I saw you were on a TVB series dedicated to martial arts, chat about the series for the western audience of Dan's Movie Report. As a follow-up I noticed you can do jump kick board breaks, running board breaks, these skills can come in handy in films and in real life, chat about additional Martial Arts training you have undergone since the beginning of 2014.

Two of my TV episodes from two martial arts TV programs were released in Hong Kong earlier this year. One is called "Kung Fu Quest 3" produced by RTHK, and the other one is called "Sports like no other" produced by TVB. Both were interviewing me as a Taekwon-Do Hong Kong Athlete, how did I train and the history and background about (ITF) Taekwon-Do. 

I had been actively competing in the 1st half of 2014. I did a boxing match in February which was a tie result, in April I represented Hong Kong to compete in the Taekwon-Do (ITF) Asian Championship and won a Bronze medal, and in June I represented Hong Kong to compete in The One Legend Mauy Thai Fight and became the champion in the 46KG Female fight.

JuJu please discuss your free time and hobbies you like to do during your downtime, and curious about your favorite martial artists besides the obvious Jackie Chan Bruce Lee answer, females and males of course.

My hobbies during my downtime are definitely exercising in the gym and watching movies at home or in the theatres. I also love all outdoor activities like cycling and water sports. I love the water and enjoy sailing, being in the sea is a great relaxation for me.

Besides Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, I also like Caley Reece, WMC champion, Australian Muay Thai kickboxer who competes in the featherweight and lightweight divisions. She is a super disciplined person, a very strong and skillful fighter, with a great character and personality. Caley Reece Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/CaleyReece

Obviously Juju you like action, are you interested in a romantic comedy or perhaps other genres of films that you would enjoy to expand your acting resume?

I love action, but I am also an actor. I love acting as much as I enjoy action. Being an athlete allows me to constantly perform physical roles, therefore, I wouldn't mind acting in films that are not action related. I would love to act in different genre, especially a romantic comedy, action comedy, musical, and drama.

Wrapping up the Dan's Movie Juju phase one interview (more to follow in the coming months ahead), discuss your long term goals in the entertainment industry, behind the camera, stunt work in Hollywood films etc...

My long term goal is to be a successful action actress icon in Hollywood, and also to direct and produce films that I wrote. Always dream big, motivate your soul, and make your dreams come true!

Juju, thank you so much for your insightful and mesmerizing interview. For my fantastic Dan's Movie Report readers, keep checking back for more exclusive material from Juju. In 2015 Juju Chan will be walking red carpets worldwide, and kicking some real ass, trust me guys, she is destined for greatness. Check out these sites below, and learn even more about her. 


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