Jean-Claude Van Damme: This Time, I Return!

La Dernire 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.

JC: Here, 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 more.

Q: Is that what you need? Respect?

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?

JC: Rather 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.

Reported by Eddy Przybylski

Sourced from La Dernire Heure

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