Jean-Claude Van Damme on what makes a good martial art film- The Feed


– It’s OK.
– Sorry about the sweating. OK. Welcome to the show.
Thanks for doing the show. – What’s the name of your show?
– The Feed. It’s on SBS. – The Faith?
– The Feed. – The Fade… F… – F-E-E-D.
– OK, OK. ..is his name
but you know him better as… ..guy who can do this
with his legs… But Jean-Claude Van Damme’s life
hasn’t just been roundhouse kicking bad guys
and straddling Volvos. He’s had five marriages,
he’s bipolar, he once was addicted to cocaine and he was even homeless
for a time. He’s a man who’s had
a lot of ups and a lot of downs. So can I get you to take me
right back to the beginning? 16 years old, doing martial arts
fights against, what is it, 35-year-old guys?
Was that terrifying? 25, 24, but they look like 35. At that time martial art
was just starting in Europe. I was one of the youngest kids
in the club. I wanted to spar with them
and I stretch a lot. But I was very skinny when I came. Was it ever an advantage
being so skinny? Ah, it can be because
you’ve got to fight in a sense your own self, your body,
to become better. It’s an example to be with
strongest people, you know. What is it that most people
don’t understand in terms
of how much preparation… and how much planning… goes into making
a really great fight scene? It’s kind of insights you
in terms of I need to find the space where we’re fighting first and to use some objects depending
what type of film it is too, if it’s a marital arts film then we
have so many good martial art guys, artists and ladies,
that you need something more, you need to have a relationship
with the camera, the audience, you know? There’s something out there
waiting for us. And it ain’t no man. There’s a famous story that’s
been around for a very long time that you turned down
the movie Predator cos you didn’t want to have
your face covered, is that true? No, I was in the outfit
but it didn’t work so well in terms of physicality,
it was not… it was well built
but kind of dangerous because my feet were in
the calves of the animal and my finger were in the forearms so I was having cables to…
and it was very hot basically. They didn’t have a cooler system. – Where you been, man?
– I’m retired. Not like Nicholas Cage retired. Oh, I thought you WERE Nicholas Cage. And you’ve got this pilot right now
on Amazon where you’re playing a spy and
a washed up version of yourself. What is the idea,
where did it come from? Um, I said to myself, I was travelling around the world
with those movie producers and they were smart guy, you know,
and I see those guys are too smart and they get authorisation
to go all over the place. Maybe they are some sorts of Mossad because all those producers
were from… Israeli producers so I said, maybe these guys are spy. Too smart to be a producer,
he’s going in and out so I started to write something… Born out of your own, like, paranoia. He wants me to die, except for
all the people I’m going to kill. What do you reckon, as you go round
to meet different people, they have a perception of you
that’s built on movies… What do you reckon is the most
misunderstood part of Jean-Claude? Um, I think they don’t know how
sensitive and emotional I am. I came on the stage and it’s first for me
it’s like contact with the people and I know on each camera you’ve got thousands of,
lots of people watching and I can feel like I don’t want
to make any mistake. Do you feel the pressure
when there are cameras on you? Yeah, because I like
to do everything… not perfect, that doesn’t exist… but to be as best as possible
and that, it’s no good. Have you always been that way, feeling that pressure to be perfect,
to get it right? – Yeah.
– Where does it start, do you think? It start when I was very young,
you know, because martial arts,
always fighting, fighting to become better and better. And my first love affair
was a total disaster. – Really?
– It was a double whammy. So that helped too, you know? – Thank you so much for your time.
– It was nice to meet you. – What is your name?
– Mark. And the name
of your TV station? – The Feed.
– The Feed. Hi, this is Jean-Claude Van Damme
on the Feed. Yeah! Well, that’s me… That is incredible,
thank you so much!

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