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  • July 6, 2007: About the Monkey King
     |  )

    Friday, Jul 6, 2007 2:46PM / Standard Entry / The Forbidden Kingdom / Members only
    43 comments

    Ideally, the identity of the person portraying the Monkey King should be kept secret.  However, with advances in technology and information distribution, today's entertainment industry doesn't really have any secrets.  By now everyone knows that I will be playing the Monkey King character in "Forbidden Kingdom".

    In fact, when I first received the scrīpt three years ago the producer approached me to play the role of the Monkey King, but at that time there were problems with the scrīpt.  At that time they portrayed the Monk as a great fighter.  I felt this was a bit weird because, according to the original story, "Journey to the West", the Monk was the only role that was based on "reality".  This character was based on the life of Buddhist Master Xuan-Zhang from the Tang Dyanasty.  If his character was a great fighter the film wouldn't be accepted by the public.  So after discussions with the producer we decided that the monk should not be a fighter.  Otherwise the film would have a difficult time being accepted in Asia.

    But, how to fix this problem?  I had two suggestions:

    First, have the Monk be a transformation of the Monkey King.  Since the Monkey King knows the 72 "earthly methods for transformations", he can pull one of his hairs out and transform himself into the Monk.  So, instead of being the "Tang Monk" we can call him "Silent Monk" and the problem is solved.

    Second, I suggested that the movie does not have to be based strictly upon the original "Journey to the West".  Everyone who is familiar with that story has their own perceptions on how that story should be represented.  In the film, the story is the creation of an American kid's dream.  This being the case, there are apt to be differences between these characters and those from "Journey to the West".  But that's not a problem.  this is a dream of this American kid's interpretation of these characters so there is a lot of room for creativity.

    The producer liked my ideas.  The screenwriter even flew to Hong Kong to discuss the development of the Monkey King with me.  Naturally there are many differences between Chinese and Western culture and eveyrone has a different interpretation of the Monkey King character.   There should be a lot of work done to create this character, but it's best to maximize the room for creativity and not base it solely on previous examples.  I will put forth my best effort with this character, so I hope that everyone can understand this perspective: As this is a character based on a western kid's dream-world, this is a new representation of the Monkey King for a global audience.

    To be honest, portraying the Monkey King has required a lot of courage.  There have been so many successful depictions of this character in Beijing Opera, animation and TV series.  For example, the Monkey King portrayed by Master Liu Xiao Ling Tong; his expressions and movements portray the character exactly as it should be from a Chinese cultural perspective.  But if our interpretation of the Monkey King's character was based on the previous depictions, then it would not work in this new context.

    We had the same situation with the character Wong Fei-Hung in "Once Upon a Time in China".  Master Kwan Tak-Hing had portrayed this character in over 100 movies, but to develop this character I had to create a totally new interpretation of Wong Fei-Hung in order for it to work in the film.

    The Monkey King in this movie is not just for Chinese audiences, nor just for Asian audiences, but for the whole world.  There are many people in the world who don't know anything about the Monkey King.  Therefore, as long as the character of the Monkey King is true to the world created in the dreams of the American kid in the movie, there is no right or wrong, and the room for creative diversity is enormous.

    You will be able to see the movie next year, and of course I can't promise that you will or will not like it.  I can only try my best, along with action director Yuen Wo-Ping and his team, to create the best Monkey King I can.

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Entry comments (43)

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  • xiaolian
    posted on Sunday, Apr 6, 2008 10:57AM [Report]
    创造的力量哦!
  • moujun0001
    posted on Sunday, Nov 18, 2007 8:38PM [Report]
    孫悟空是一個英雄,也難逃英雄的悲劇宿命。個人哪怕再強,他也扭不過社會這條大腿,他也難逃潛規則的手掌心。lcx0cd 從網游的角度解釋了為什么孫悟空大闹天宫时所向披靡,取经路上卻被菜鸟级的妖怪折磨。這個角度很新穎,但我要說更深層次的原因就是:不是他的能力變了,而是他的做事方式變了,他在逐步的學著按規則辦事。為什么大鬧天宮好看,因為那時的他鄙視一切規則,他自己就是規則。整部《西游記》就是他由個人英雄(理想英雄)轉變為世俗英雄(現實英雄)的史詩。是社會對他的和諧化,是社會的喜劇,孫悟空自己的悲劇。
  • moujun0001
    posted on Sunday, Nov 18, 2007 7:49PM [Report]
    當然要改,荹改還不如去看老版。我支持伱,杰哥,就像改編黃飛鴻,霍元甲那樣,還原一個我們心目中的孫悟空。再次強調,又不昰拍記錄片。如果電影都和現實一樣那它就不叫電影了。就像做菜一樣,眾口難調,索性拍自己的片讓別人說去吧。就按你當時拍黃飛鴻和霍元甲那樣拍,拍成什么樣我都喜歡,只要它是符合你心中本來面目。
  • jiating615210
    posted on Sunday, Nov 18, 2007 2:48PM [Report]
    挑战经典形象,期待你的新悟空出现!
  • akeryu
    posted on Saturday, Sep 15, 2007 9:13PM [Report]
    Hi Jet Li. I'm a fan of yours here in the Philippines. I've seen a lot of your movies and just watch War/Rogue Assassin today. I really like your kung fu moves and I'm sure I'd watch the Forbidden Kingdom. A long time ago, I have wondered why isn't there a movie where you  and Jackie Chan would be in. Hehe. At last there would be one. I'd be hoping this one would be great. Goodluck and rock on!!!
  • lcx0cd
    posted on Monday, Sep 10, 2007 6:31PM [Report]
    對于西游人物孫悟空設定和現代電影觀眾如果有幸與您一同研究請聯系[email protected]
    QQ:27145363
    一下附加一個網友對于孫悟空勢力的判定可以很容易為西方接受
    吴承恩在写小说的时候,大概还没有平衡性这么一说,所以弄得大家都对孙悟空的真实实力非常好奇。为什么大闹天宫时所向披靡,取经路上被菜鸟级的妖怪折磨?我觉得这是可以解释的。

    首先,我们要弄清楚各类神仙的属性类型:

    孙悟空,无疑是实力超强的近战型战士。其装备是超重量级的肉搏武器(金箍棒),肉体又是类似“无”的不死之躯,和他近身肉搏无疑是找死。孙的法术是很多,但都可以看到是辅助型的,只见过他用金箍去槌人,没见过他用法术直接攻击敌人吧?所以,孙悟空的定性应该是:魔法战士。此类人物的杰出代表有:杨戬,牛魔王,大鹏。唉,怎的都是半兽人种族呀?



    道家各路神仙,种族以人类居多,都是依赖宝贝的菜鸟。宝贝威力虽大,但使用者因修身养性不喜争斗而缺乏战斗经验,无法有效的发挥。镇元大仙算是一个战斗方面的高手,经验丰富,他的“袖里乾坤“极有可能是藏在袖子里的宝贝,使用突然,所以孙悟空才会中招。哪吒是个特例,他是以宝贝武装起来的肉搏型战士。可惜弄得魔法也不行,近战肉搏也差劲,是仙界开发的新型武器中的失败作品。对付杂兵还可以,对付真正的高手就歇菜了。

    佛家诸位佛祖,都是魔法的大师级人物。如来,无疑是空间魔法的宗师级(肉搏不一定是猴子的对手,所以才想出打赌这一阴着令孙无法飞出其掌心,搬座大山压人,看到大山压不住还加上一招重力魔法的咒符做封印)。观音是典型的牧师,无攻击力,但强化和治愈能力到宗师水平。佛家缺乏肉搏型人才,所以才会不计猴子对领导的诸多不敬(包括对领导撒尿)也要花500年时间千方百计招安猴子,人才难求呵!其实西游记的最终补完计划就是招安猴子——拥有超强近战力的天才战士!!(唐僧?只不过是为了蒙蔽天界情报网的幌子,而且唐僧本身很可能就是以被贬为名实为佛祖秘密派出,引导孙悟空归顺的卧底。
  • lcx0cd
    posted on Monday, Sep 10, 2007 6:25PM [Report]
    對于孫悟空的設定再下有如下看法:
           西游記可以說是中國的《魔戒》,擁有豐富設定諸多人物怪物,相比西方魔幻文學設定毫不遜色。但是如何能夠適合中西方的口味就有大的學問了。李先生,對于您的少年之夢設定可以更加深入的加入多層空間設定(救世主中類似的)——少年生活的美國世界,少年之夢的世界平行于中國奇幻世界,通過這個夢少年可以一同經歷西游的冒險歷程。東方奇幻世界空間(架空神話故事世界)中對于孫悟空的設定就更有研究了。
            依據龍與地下城設定之上的魔獸世界在石階上有廣泛的受眾,東方西方都很廣泛的接受。因此借鑒此類設定對電影人物的設定可能更有益于讓東方西方的觀眾都理解和接受這部電影。
  • leo7
    posted on Wednesday, Aug 15, 2007 5:48AM [Report]
    现在世界变化快 人们的观念没有那么保守
    放心的给我们杰版的孙大圣吧
  • Geetha
    posted on Thursday, Aug 9, 2007 3:19AM [Report]
    hi jet li,
    i'm from india.i'm a great fan of u.other than villian i will appreciate all characters u do as u are fixed as hero in my mind.i am expecting forbidden kingdom sooner with english transformation.i wish u and jacky all success.
                           bye.
  • blamist
    posted on Sunday, Jul 15, 2007 7:23PM [Report]
    加油,老大!加油,杰,龙~~

    从少林寺开始就给我留下了深深的印象了,当时候我还很小,恩恩.

    你在外国排的那几部中,反复看的最多的是:the one. 里面的2个你是不是太极对咏春?方与点的较量?哈哈,在网上无意中看到有关你自己的网络空间,就潜水到现在了,恩恩,今天终于忍不住发表一下了,哈哈.
  • bruce101
    posted on Saturday, Jul 14, 2007 10:00PM [Report]
    Will y use monkey staff and what other form of martial arts will be used? I can't wait!!!
  • smilingeveryday
    posted on Friday, Jul 13, 2007 11:50PM [Report]
    如果所有的角色演出来都是一个模式,那就没有再拍电影的必要了吧,我想,观众也没有再看的必要了……
       新的成功总要挑战旧的框架。
       一部作品的成功与否,并不完全取决于它是否符合旧的思维习惯和模式。有的时候,一个全新的角度,可以打开人们的视野,这就是个新的开始!
       从国内第一部《红楼梦》开始,经典的演绎真的叫人难以忘怀。不得不说,“先入为主”的影响和中国人传统的“正史观念”,给后来的电视作品安了一个很高的门槛。
       不得不说,传统的“中国式思维”解读的《西游记》已经非常出色了。
        所以,很佩服你的勇气和胆量,也佩服你的创意!
        相信你在这个角色上面一定下了很多功夫。这是一个和你以前演过的作品很不一样的角色。但是看过你《给爸爸的信》里面很出彩的表演,所以我对你有信心的~!

       祝愿你的作品挑战成功~~~~!
  • ciciforever
    posted on Friday, Jul 13, 2007 1:48PM [Report]
    实在抱歉.有段时间没有来了.考试终于结束了.

    最近好吗?身体怎么样?家人好吗?

    期待电影.
  • 999309
    posted on Thursday, Jul 12, 2007 9:46PM [Report]
    呵呵,知道你要演孙悟空让我吃惊了好久......总觉得你的形象跟孙差了好多,虽然不认识你的人,但看了你这么多电影的我,多少也看出来你的气质跟那种“猴子”型的顽劣不搭配。我期待明年的孙悟空会给我带来一个怎样“新鲜”的你!
  • ydraw
    posted on Wednesday, Jul 11, 2007 9:54PM [Report]
    As a huge fan of the Japanese TV version of "Monkey" all I can say is, I hope they give you sideburns.

    Oh, and this will be the greatest film of all time.
  • yuhong
    posted on Wednesday, Jul 11, 2007 9:41PM [Report]
    大家看的是你的精彩演绎,至于剧本写成什么样是导演的事,我支持你!
  • critterdee
    posted on Wednesday, Jul 11, 2007 11:30AM [Report]
    I'm very excited for this movie to come out.  
    I think it is wonderful that you've made it possible for a world wide audience to learn about and enjoy so much of the Chinese folklore and history through movies like Monkey King and Once upon a time in China.  
    You are loved and greatly appreciated by many for being the person you are. Thank you.  I'm glad to know that there are people like you in the movie industry.
  • Mommy_Mok
    posted on Monday, Jul 9, 2007 4:03PM [Report]
    Looking forward to seeing your interpretation of the film.
  • aoi_terence
    posted on Saturday, Jul 7, 2007 9:01PM [Report]
    Because Monkey King is a major talk also in Japan, it is interested in the country where the
    concept of the Buddhism doesn't exist ..how it is caught...
    Moreover, the difference in China and Japan also : of course.
    However, the thing that there is a wall of the language study and my opinion cannot be written in
    detail is mortified now.
    However, it is interested and the blog is read.

    日本における西遊記の基本は、やはり悟空に置かれると思います。
    悟空が三蔵法師と供に、西方浄土に経典を取りに行く間に、どれ程の功徳を積むことが出来るかが主題となり、その中で仏の慈悲が語られているのかな?などと。
    大人向け、子供向けによっては主題がぶれている事も大いにあるので、しばらくぶりに原典に近い西遊記を読んでみたいと思いました。
    簡単な感想ですが、日本語で失礼します。
  • MadChinese
    posted on Saturday, Jul 7, 2007 6:44PM [Report]
    Dear Jet,
    I'm so glad you and Jackie are finally together!
    My today's dreamteam and making another
    dream come true...my favorite chinese fairy-
    tale "Monkey King" goes on big screen with
    you two fortune cookies!!! Great, god bless!!!
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  • Born in Beijing, Jet Li began studying wushu (the Chinese term for martial arts) at the age of 8...

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  • Occupation:  ActorFilm/TV ProducerMartial arts
  • Age: 50
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