Van Damme gets down to business in Dubai
16 November, 2010
Jean-Claude Van Damme, during the interview with Gulf News.
His line, JCVD, includes a range of luxury watches and sports apparel.
Dubai: After a career spanning 25 years and more, Hollywood action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme is reinventing himself.
The Belgian actor, best known for his martial arts-inspired movies in the 1990s and with his own cult following, is starring in a reality show, directing a new film and launching a range of self-branded high-end watches and sports apparel called JCVD.
The actor was in town to meet potential retail partners for his new brand and to discuss another reality show with local producers.
"I did a film called JCVD recently where I opened my heart to the public," the actor told Gulf News, referring to the 2008 movie in which he plays himself. "That was very positively received and we decided to extend that brand."
Jean-Claude Van Damme, which includes a range of luxury watches and sports apparel, was launched last month and has already been positively received in the actor's home country, in Russia and China, he said.
"Throughout my career, I was offered so many branding deals and I thought this was the right time to go with it," he added.
Entrepreneur Phillip Borms, a compatriot and long-time friend of the actor, has been tasked with marketing the productline, which currently features 16 watch models, T-shirts, caps and accessories.
The watches will range from $299 (Dh1,097) to $35,000, with limited edition versions going for as much as $355,000.
"Each piece represents an aspect of Van Damme's life and his image as an action star," said Borms, who added that each watch is manufactured in Switzerland and will be accompanied by a pair of autographed boxing gloves.
"His fan site boasts around 7.8 million members with an average of 300,000 active users. So I am definitely not worried about introducing a new product on the market."
Waleed Tarouri, who represents the actor in the region, said the team was all set to sign a deal with a local retailer. "He is big here and appeals to different generations," Tarouri said. "People love him and I am confident the products will do well."
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Jean-Claude Van Damme