Renee has been friends with Jackie for five years now, and she knows quite a bit about him. She has been an extra in many of his movies. Her most recent project is a Jackie Chan comic book called JACKIE CHAN'S SPARTAN X. I suggest you check it out. For those of you looking for more detailed information about Jackie Chan's life and movies, check out Renee's new book: Dying for Action: The Life and Films of Jackie Chan. Here's what Renee had to say:
My questions are in italics
The comic is an all new story inspired by the movies of Jackie Chan. It is not based on any one movie. It's more an amalgam of Jackie's Screen persona. The Spartan signifies the warrior side of the character since we call him the "magnificent mercenary and "hell-bent-hero-for-hire." The X signifies that he comes to each battle empty handed, using anything around him as a weapon. Plus, the character in the comic is a mystery himself. All will become clear by the end.Does the comic have anything to do with Jackie Chan, or is his name just on the cover? How did you get the idea to do it?
The comic has alot to do with Jackie Chan. I first got the idea to do the book back in 1992 and flew over to Hong Kong to pitch it to Jackie. We became friends and I ended up staying there for a month on that first trip and was on the set with him every day. During that time, I studied his character and talked to him about what he'd like to see in a comic. Jackie actually likes the comic very much. He approves all scripts and all artwork. Starting with issue #2, we'll alternate photo covers and some photos of Jackie in the back later on. Should be alot of fun.What is your background? How did you get involved with comics?
When I graduated from college, my first job was doing public relations for a company in Dallas that put on comic book conventions. My degree was in English and journalism. Through that job, I met many professionals in the comic business and got a job as an assistant editor at DC Comics working on the Superman titles. From there I went to Marvel and from there to Topps Comics. I'm now working with Image comics, mainly on the Jackie Chan title, which is my baby, and on some other projects such as Zorro for the upcoming Zorro movie starring Antonio Banderas. So, you see, one door led to another. I did not start out to be involved in comics. I love it now though.How did you get involved with Jackie?
How did I get involved with Jackie. That's a funny story. It was 1992 and I was going through a bad time, and a friend of mine talked me into going to see this movie by some Hong Kong actor. The movie was "Armour of God." I left that theater extremely happy. I had never enjoyed a movie so much. Jackie's screen character was so charming, so endearing, I immediately got the idea that he was like a comic book character come to life, and that why shouldn't there be a comic book based on him. I went home that night and dreamed that I met him. It was a very real dream. You know the type. At the end of the dream, he leaned over and said, "I'll see you soon." I met him two weeks later.How long have you known Jackie?
Now, as far as "Dying for Action" , keep in mind that I had been looking at JC movies for five years when I sat down to write this book. I visited Jackie in Hong Kong at least twice a year on various movie sets, and I also always saw him in New York and Los Angeles. I was beginning to know him fairly well. So, when Warner Brother's ask me to write the book, and Jackie said he didn't mind, I dove right in. It was a labor of love. Jackie is a dear, dear, friend.
I have known Jackie for five years. Not so long in the big scheme of things, and it's up to Jackie to say how good a friend I am to him. I just know that he is my friend. We've had some fun times together, and Jackie always throws me into his movies when I'm around. I'm in the outtakes in "Police Story III". I'm the one wearing the hat and blue jean jacket. I'm on the plane in "Crime Story" sitting between Jackie and Kent Cheng. It was so much fun having Jackie direct me in that scene. I always see Jackie when he's in New York. We usually get a little group together and go out to dinner. Alas, with his new stardom in Hollywood I see him less these days. He's a busy guy.What is Jackie like off-camera?
Jackie is still a fun-loving, great guy, although I think the trails of working in Hollywood get him down from time to time. He doesn't feel like he can really do what he knows he's good at here. I personally thing people in Hollywood are afraid to let him lose. He's too good. But, to answer your question, I think Jackie is still the same good guy, only more busy. I hear that "Who Am I?" is his best movie since "DM II" I'm going to go see it tomorrow!
I've done article about my time on the sets for the British Magazine "Screen Power" It's a good mag. You can get copies from Space Travelers at 1-540-432-6771.
More about Renee Witterstaetter: LITTLE EVA INK
Ron most recently appeared in the end fight scene against Jackie in the movie "WHO AM I?", which has finished filming. Here's what he had to say:
What is YOUR history? How did you get to be in WHO AM I? What is your martial arts background?
I do Kyokushinkai Karate for 12 jears (1st degree black belt ) I do also Free Fight for 7 jears ( 2nd degree black belt ) I always liked van Damme ( Bloodsport, Karate Tiger ) and imitated his moves, and later I made my own style kicking faster and using more different techniques, beause I want to be all round
I read an article in the newspaper about Jackie making a movie in Rotterdam. They needed casting members. I was casting member first but after giving Jackie a tape via a fighter he chose me to do a screentest. After the screentest he said I was the best out of 20 guys doing audition for the final fight.
What can you tell us about the fight scenes? How well choreographed were they? What was it like on the set with Jackie?
Very hard working, you have to prove yourself every time, sometimes I dind't ate my lunch beacause I had to prepare for the next moves They hae a great stunt choreographer's team
Why can't I find your name on any of the cast listings on the "WHO AM I?" websites?
I dont' know If you see the movie You can see RON SMOORENBURG at the end of the movie. I really don't know why they don't put my name in the Who am I websites !!!!
What type of martial arts does he know and how long has he studied them?
He has done kung-fu and a lot of acrobatic things. I believe he worked in a Circus when he was young
Is he making a "Drunken Master III?" or "Police Story V" ? If so, how far along in production are they?
Yes, he will make police Story V, and he promised me to do a fight in it. They can call me any moment to go to Hong Kong
I heard that WHO AM I is supposed to be one of Jackie's best movies. What do you think of it? How good is the plot and fight scenes?
Yes, but the movie is maybe 10 minutes too long. I am very satisfied with the roof fight really, but I can do more. I couldnt show everything I can, maybe in the next movie. I like the fight with the clogs very much, very funny. Overall, the movie is very entertaining with good action and a very good end stunt from Jackie.
What happened behind the scenes? Were there a lot of out-takes?
Yes' because the movie is so long a lot of shootings were taken out. I'm glay they didn't cut into the roof fight. ( We also filmed that I met Jackie when he was coming into the building, he pretended that he was a waiter from the building. I saw his bracelet and looked curious,but..He shouted something about a special wine and I thought it's OK that he's a real waiter/ober)
How good was Jackie as a director as compared to what you've experienced before?
Very, very good. I think he really knows what he wants and he has a lot of experience. In holland Directors follow the script more, Jackie Changes fast when he has something in mind
Has anything changed now that you've been in one of his movies?
Yes, my dream has come true. I've also been on national t.v. and now I can try to do a fight with van Damme and more J.C. ovies ( Now I've something more on my C.V. )
Did Jackie get injured at all?
Yes, on the roof he fell over a bar. His leg was blue.
You said that you live in the Netherlands. Would you ever consider going to Hong Kong to become more involved in Hong Kong movies? Or how about the United States? If not, what do you plan on doing?
I think Hong Kong is the center of martial arts movies. I think quality is very important. Sam Wong, Jackie's Stunt director wants to be my personal teacher in Hong Kong. I want to be at my best if I will go to the U'S'A'. So for me Hong Kong first is no bad idea, only when Jean Claude ask me I'll go imedietly to the US
More about Ron Smoorenburg