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Jay Chou's Initial D Q&A

Written by Siu Heng Tell a Friend

Jay Chou started his music career as a songwriter, and found instant fame in 2000 with his self-titled debut Jay, impressing people with his unique musical talents. Since then Jay Chou has committed himself to producing quality work in a variety of musical styles, most notably in R&B. His film career began with a brief cameo as himself in the movie Hidden Track (2003), and in 2005 he finally made his staring debut as the male lead Takumi Fujiwara in Initial D, the movie version of the popular manga.

Known by his fans to be an avid car enthusiast, it may seem that the role of a slow and emotionless boy racer was the ideal role for Jay to make his big screen debut. But now the dust has settled, was it all just cruising for the first-timer, or has the experience of acting alongside some of Hong Kong's most popular and celebrated stars left Jay in need of a pit-stop?

On Acting

Why did you decide to take on the role of Takumi Fujiwara?
I decided to take on the role of Takumi Fujiwara because he is quite similar to me in terms of personality. As a first-time actor, I would be able to play my role naturally if I picked a character whose personality is close to mine. I really felt the "great responsibility" for a newcomer to participate in such a large-scale production, so I could not afford any mistakes. Besides, I liked the Infernal Affairs series very much and had great confidence in the crew.

How did you portray Takumi Fujiwara?
Although I was playing a cartoon character, I didn't want to be influenced by the original manga too much. It's better to have some of my own style in him. I attributed to Takumi Fujiwara some of my own little habits, making him a bit different from how he used to be in the manga. A real man can never replace the manga character, for the Takumi Fujiwara has already attained a certain status in fans' minds.

What are your comments on your own acting?
I think I am a naturalistic actor. New to acting, I still have much room for improvement. In the future I hope to challenge myself with different roles.

On Driving

Was drifting a problem to you?
When driving in Taiwan, I have always been good at avoiding the paparazzi who were following me. I was very confident with my own driving, and I didn't want to lose my pride in front of professional racers. But my pride resulted in a car accident during a drifting scene on Mt. Akina with my AE86. Originally the directors wanted to have a stuntman to drive instead of me, but I refused. When I attempted to drift a bit more around a curve, I lost control of the car at high speed. The car got ruined after hitting a crash barrier and then the hill. Fortunately I had fastened my seat belt, otherwise I would have been thrown out of the vehicle.

Anything to say about the driving scenes?
I like the racing scenes on Mt. Akina most, because all the actors were there. Chapman To was good at making jokes, and the parts with all the boys racing and competing were so exciting. After all, the whole film starts with the car, with all the details originating from it.

On Collaborating

You played Anthony Wong's son in the film. How was your collaboration with him?
I had a lot of interaction with Anthony Wong for he was my father in the movie. I was nervous in the beginning because he was such an experienced actor that my acting might be too bad in his eyes. But his ability in improvising stimulated my own desire to act. He also taught me a lot from his own experiences. I am really glad to have the chance to know Anthony Wong.

What was your impression of Anne Suzuki?
I also had plenty of chances to collaborate with Anne Suzuki, who played my girlfriend in the film. Although we didn't speak the same language, there weren't any difficulties in communication, for both of us had already learnt the script by heart and we also had assistance from our interpreter. It was a pleasure to work with her. Possessing strong confidence in my music, I gave her my own CD so that through my music she would be able to know more about me.

How about the two young actors, Edison Chen and Shawn Yue?
Before making Initial D I already knew Edison Chen and Shawn Yue and we are good friends. We often played basketball when we were together in Hong Kong or in Taiwan. Making a film together in Japan was quite an enjoyable experience. They gave me a lot of advice on acting. We also played basketball when we had spare time during shooting.

Which other actors would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Jet Li. He is good at martial arts and can actually make it a spectacular show. Some people only know how to fight but not to perform.

On Directing

What do you think of the directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak?
Andrew Lau's appearance resembled that of a bad guy, and I was quite nervous when I first worked with him. Edison told me that Lau was very strict, but later I learnt that this was not the case. He even played with us for fun. Sometimes I didn't follow the script, and he let me do it in my own way. At other times he was rather demanding though. Comparing them to parents, Lau was the father and Alan Mak seemed like a mother, more gentle. Alan Mak was very patient and taught me a lot.

Speaking of directors, who else do you want to work with?
Apart from Andrew Lau and Alan Mak, I would like to work with Ang Lee and John Woo. There are many great Chinese directors. Even Hollywood wants to remake some classic Chinese films. Famous Western directors are not the only ones who can make good movies.

On Songwriting

Now that you have entered the film industry, have you thought about making film scores in the future?
"Drifting" and "All the Way North" were two pieces that I tailored for the film. Making film scores demands more time than I can afford in view of my present workload. But if I have the chance and if time allows, I would like to give it a try.

Jay Chou's Discography
  • 2005 Initial J
  • 2004 Common Jasmine Orange
  • 2003 Hidden Track
  • 2003 Ye Hui Mei
  • 2002 The Eight Dimensions
  • 2001 Fantasy
  • 2000 Jay

    Jay Chou's Filmography
  • 2005 Initial D
  • 2004 Hidden Track

    (The above Q&A is mainly edited from the email communications with Jay Chou, a joint project between and Asicro Clip. A small part comes from an interview with Jay Chou conducted by City Entertainment.)

    Published August 17, 2005

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    • Region & Language: Hong Kong United States - English
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