La Dernière Heure: August 1, 2001. (Brussels, Belgium)
Jean-Claude Van Damme is very
sure of the quality of his film...
Q: Jean-Claude Van Damme will never
speak about his concerns for his recent spate of badly received
films. He has reacted such that he now cultivates the image of a
dynamic optimist, moulded perfectly in the American way of life, for
which every new film is his great return to the top. But with this
film, Replicant, he has real assets to put forward. To start with,
the quality of the film (for those who like that kind of thing). A
quality which was celebrated, besides, by the most significant
magazine in Hollywood, Variety.
everyone follows with enthusiasm what is written in this magazine.
It is thus very good for me and my image compared to the film
industry. With a similar article, I am sure that I will be respected
Q: Is that what you need?
JC: I do not
need anything on the whole! I know where I come from, I know where I
am going. People can think what they want of me. I answer simply
that those who speak about me, do not know me. If a small bird comes
to perch on the edge of your window every morning, you see it, you
believe you know it, but you don't know it. Every time, it calls cui
cui and escapes you. The only thing I require is that people enjoy
the films I make. For the remainder, I am happy. My family is happy.
Every new film is, for me, a fantastic challenge. But I remain
somebody quiet. I think, I may say, I am a cool guy.
Q: Replicant screened in Brazil, Asia and
Europe. But in the United States, it did not screen in theatres. One
will see it only on cassettes and DVD.
JC: It is a
pity. But it was a choice of the producers. Simply, by deciding on
this formula, they were certain of the money they would gain. I am
very proud of this film. I am persuaded that here, in the United
States, it would have been a great success in theatres. And if you
ask me why I am so proud of Replicant, it is because we succeeded in
making a big film with very reduced budgets. It is not, far from it,
a film of fifty or sixty million dollars. To arrive at that, we
worked for fifty days, at a rate of fifteen hours per day. Mama Mia!
But the result is there. And if we did not have large budgets, it
was because the film was produced by an independent and not by a
large studio. It was capital, for the producer to recover his
investment, and when he received a firm proposal from distributors
of cassettes, he could not resist.
Q: Is this type of action film amusing to
film? Or it is extremely repetitive?
repetitive! Many special effects were planned for the fight scenes
and it was necessary to film catch by catch, detail by detail. The
fact that I had two roles too. I had to change between them
non-stop. During this time, Ringo Lam continued to film without me.
Scenes of connection, all that requires a terrible organization. But
Ringo Lam is really an exceptional director. When we made our first
film together, he knew me only by my reputation. He understood very
quickly all that he could draw from me. And I too believe that, as
actor, I was never better than in this film.