Bulletproof Monk: Thanks to MGM we've got an interview with soon-to-be action star, Sean William Scott, on his role in the upcoming Bulletproof Monk!
Q: How did you first find out about Bulletproof Monk?
SCOTT:I wanted to do something with action, something completely different than I've ever done. This script came around and I thought it had a bit of Indiana Jones in it, a lot of adventure, and also the whole martial arts aspect. I used to brawl a little bit and here was a chance to do it and not get in trouble. And I thought working with Yun-Fat was a huge opportunity, so I really went after it. This was something for me to do that could show people other sides that they haven't seen yet.
Q: It appealed to you so much that you really went after it.
SCOTT:I told my agent that I didn't want to audition because auditioning can be such a hard way to show what you can do with a part. I said just put me in there with the director, let me tell him why I think I can do this. So I sat with Paul and I said, “This has elements of all the movies that made me want to be an actor. At this point in my career that's what it's all about. I want do this. I thought this kid had a lot of heart.”
Q: What was that conversation with Paul like?
SCOTT:I had to sell myself a bit because Paul hasn't seen my movies. So I said that each movie is really a building block for the next one and that I didn't think anybody would work harder at this part than I would. I really felt that because of my experiences and the kind of person I am, I could do a better job than anybody. I can do this much better than I can comedy. Comedy just happened, I never audition for it. American Pie was such a surprise, a good surprise, but it's much easier for me to do something like this than to play that over-the-top cartoonish character.
Q: In several movies you've played comic timing. You felt this could come easier?
SCOTT:I found it much more rewarding, much more fun. I used to get close to dramatic roles, but when American Pie happened that's all anybody had ever seen me do. I was so appreciative for those opportunities and it was a lot of fun, but I think I'm much more of an introverted person. I felt more comfortable putting on the Kar wardrobe and having fun with him.
Q: You felt really confident.
SCOTT:Yeah, I did. The movie I did before, Stark Raving Mad, was a great transitional role because it was darker and different than anything I had done. It was nice to take a risk and really go for that character. I think if this had been the first movie I filmed after American Pie II, it might have been more difficult. It was good to have some experience.
Q: Is Kar of questionable virtue when we meet him?
SCOTT:Kar has been on his own his whole life and he's gotten by. He's the kind of guy who looks at the bright side even when he gets in trouble or things aren't really going his way. He is a bit of a charmer and he's a pickpocket, but he is waiting for a chance to do something good. There's a huge void in his life being a homeless kid. Yun-Fat's character, the Monk, opens his eyes.
Q: What is it about the meeting with the Monk that opens Kar's eyes to this other world?
SCOTT:Kar works at a movie theater and everything he knows about martial arts he learned on the big screen. He practices that and uses it on the streets and meets Yun-Fat's character. All of a sudden the Monk is defying gravity. He almost feels like he's going crazy, but there's actually a moment in the film when the Monk takes him on this journey. At that point he realizes this is for real and he's got a choice whether he wants to walk away from it or join in.
Q: What are Kar's first impressions of Jade?
SCOTT:This gang has basically been kicking my ass and they punch me out. I see her and I'm like, “What are you doing here, you're not part of this group?” She shows that she is a bit of a bad girl. Kar takes a liking to her right away. She is gorgeous and tough and there's a side to her that he can relate to, but she doesn't really give in, ever.
Q: There is instant playfulness there.
SCOTT:It's like two kids in junior high -- the guy and the girl keep fighting, but it's obvious they like each other so much but they're not letting their guards down. I think it's more obvious that Kar is taken with her than she is with him.
Q: Talk about trying to protect the scroll.
SCOTT:Yun-Fat has been protecting the scroll for 60 years, and if it gets in the wrong hands the world could end. These guys have been chasing him trying to get ahold of the scroll. There's a point when she and I are the only two people who can do anything to help him. They really grow up in a short amount of time and journey together. I've been giving them some ideas…I wish we could have a big make-out love scene, but Jaime doesn't seem to be a big fan of it. [laughs]
Q: You were saying that both Jade and Kar have an underlying feeling that they're not doing what they want to be doing.
SCOTT:The movie takes place in two days and all the events that happen are just unbelievable. They have to believe it's their destiny to come together and help.
Q: What has the experience been like working with Jaime?
SCOTT:I've never worked on a movie that involved so much time. We started this in early December and trained for about three months. We both know it's biggest opportunity of our lives, a total dream come true. We have the same approach – let's do this 100 percent and not walk away with any regrets. I feel really lucky to work with Jamie. I think she's going to be a huge movie star. I've never met anybody like her. She makes everybody feel really happy on set. I just keep trying to be around her as much as I can. I hover behind her like, “Hey Jamie, it's Seann,” breathing down her neck all the time. “How's it going on set? Good, good.”
Q: It seems like she can identify with Jade.
SCOTT:It is a really difficult part because she has to create this character in a short amount of time. The Matrix and Charlie's Angels and movies like that, they've raised the standard. We have to either meet that or go above it, and Jamie has worked incredibly hard. She's done it.
Q: You both never had roles that were this physical…
SCOTT:No, and I've always gained weight to play a funny character or just looked kind of silly. So I wanted to attack this full on and do things that nobody has ever seen. I'm really glad I did because a lot of the stuff you see is really different. There are a lot of different kinds of martial arts involved, and with all the wire work, it's amazing. I keep telling them to write a sequel.
Q: Was the wire work and choreography something that came naturally?
SCOTT:You know what, it did come somewhat naturally. The hardest part I had was maintaining flexibility. I have a tendency to be a bigger guy. I knew I wanted to look physically different on this movie because I didn't want anybody to have a hard time seeing me as someone other than the characters I've played. I lost 20 pounds, some that I gained from American Pie II and some I gained from backpacking in Europe and drinking beer. That was fine, but it was demanding on my legs doing all the martial arts.
Q: You look in incredible shape…
SCOTT:Oh thanks, it's just a small shirt. It's the devil shirt that makes me look in shape.
Q: You said you were trying to do something different, how would you describe that?
SCOTT:It was a fun way to make this guy, because as things develop and his skills progress, he gets better. I think it's much more fun to see real kid doing things that we always dreamed about doing. Instead of playing this invincible superhero, he's someone to identify with, who could be a friend, or the kid from the wrong side of the tracks who ends up a good guy doing things you always dreamed of.
Q: Are you doing things you could have a stunt double for?
SCOTT:I made up my mind to do everything I can, as long as they let me, so I said, “I want to do all my stunts,” like every actor says. I had no idea what that was going to involve. I thought I was going to get some days off, but doing your own stunts means working every day. My stunt double is great. We're all a big team.
Q: And the wire work as well?
SCOTT:It's a nice mix of street fighting and traditional Hong Kong. It's a bit of a theme park ride what happens in this movie.
Q: Have there been any challenges like language barriers?
SCOTT:It's funny you ask that because I haven't been a part of a team since I played sports about eight years ago. I mean we trained together for two months every day. The thing is that you could become friends without having said anything at all. We smile and we'd worked hard together and we had the same goal, to bring everything to life. I remember the very first day, we did this scene where Kar is training in front of a movie theater and Yun-Fat's character is watching. It was one of the most amazing days I've ever had in my life. We only had like three days to rehearse and I was freaking out, staying up late and just training and training. To be there on day one and Paul Hunter's got this great music playing, and the screen was behind me and I'm doing all these martial arts in sync with the movie screen. It was neat to see in the corner of my eye. The fight team was rooting me on -- it was one of the best moments I've ever had. That really started the movie off well.
Q: You were really part of a team?
SCOTT:Yeah, very much. I feel they are some of the best guys in the world and this is the best crew I've ever worked with. It's fun to see them happy and feel like they are getting rewarded for it.
Q: When you found out that Yun-Fat was playing the Monk, how did you feel?
SCOTT:The summer before I decided to be an actor, I was visiting my brother and he showed me like four of Yun-Fat's movies. That really changed me. I was a huge fan of movies, but there are a lot of movies I hadn't seen. 8 years later, I was with my brother in Australia promoting American Pie II when I found out I actually got the movie. Everything came full circle. It was a total dream come true. I was really nervous, because to me Yun-Fat is the king, but I gotta say, I had no idea how amazing he was until I showed up. He makes it so effortless. He's got this sparkle in his eyes, and he is so great to everybody. If I could be half the guy he is, I would be pretty happy because he's a really remarkable person.
Q: On and off camera.
SCOTT:He's such a funny guy that it's just hard to be serious with him sometimes. He just makes you smile just being around him. We're doing these intense scenes and sometimes I have to look at his eyebrows, otherwise he will make me laugh. On the first day, he went up to everybody and said hi, and from that moment on he knew everybody's name and said goodbye to them. He is just a caretaker. I hurt my back a little bit in one scene and couldn't really breathe. He carried me offset, carried me to my trailer, took my shirt off, and he and his stunt double started rubbing my back. 20 minutes later, I can breathe. He just took it upon himself not to hand me over to somebody else but to take care of me. He is like that with everybody.
Q: Not a lot of people would know him being funny...
SCOTT:He's hilarious. When we first started doing rehearsals, I was like, “Whoa, he is so funny.” We have a nice banter, which is nice because right at the height of our friendship, things change quickly.
Q: This movie has a lot of action, drama, love story, comedy...
SCOTT:I feel like people are going to be floored by this movie. Yun-Fat is just unbelievable, Jamie is unbelievable, all these guys. People are going to get lost and they're going to walk away really happy that they went to see the movie.
Q: Talk about your collaboration with Paul Hunter. What makes him the right choice for this project?
SCOTT:Paul Hunter's going to be a household name very quickly. Visually, he is unbelievable and he has a great sense of story. He is such a nice guy that he makes everybody feel like a star. He went up to everybody each day and said thank you. He never makes you feel like you made the wrong choice. He is always encouraging. He's really believed in me, after that first meeting, and that's huge because knowing that your leader is behind you 100% is great. It's pretty remarkable. Everyday we're hanging out, we're another day done. Now we are a little over half way done and it's scary because it's been such a great ride.
Q: Talking about Paul… it's great if you can be having fun.
SCOTT:This is what you hope that moviemaking is about. I've had this script in my head for four months so I barely have to work I've been obsessing over for so long. When you get to do the scene and see Paul create what he's been talking about for the last four months, it's just so much fun. I told him that after this movie, he's going to be working with the best.
Q: Can you get a sense of the visual style he's bringing to the film?
SCOTT:He's a little like a painter, just adding colors. He's definitely got a vision in his head because he can be all over the place instead of having a formatted movie where it's like two shots, single, wide. You can set up your shot list for the day, but if someone creates something that you didn't have planned you still have to cover it, and he makes that fun. I've seen some of the playbacks and it has such a cool look -- a bit of a period vibe, mixed with a modern look.
Q: Do you talk about who Kar is?
SCOTT:Before we started filming, we talked about it quite a bit. Then, while I was training, I'd go over to his office and throw him ideas. I don't think there has been one idea that I came up with that he didn't go for. I have an idea of what I want to do, so we talk briefly each day and it's usually a quick adjustment. I'm having a good time and I figure if he doesn't tell me any different, then I'll just keep doing it.
Q: Who do you suspect the primary audience is?
SCOTT:I went to see Spider Man and I thought kids and grown-ups were going to like it. I feel like this movie is the same. Kids are going to love it, kids my age going to love it and grown-ups are going to love it as well. I think the demographics are going to be huge.
Q: Is this type of character more along the lines of what you want to continue doing?
SCOTT:I love this part. There are a lot of times when I will question if I've made the right decision, but I love this. After this movie it's going to be the first break I've really had in about three years and it'll be interesting to see what I do. I will probably really antsy and ask them to start writing the script for Bulletproof Monk II.
Q: What can audiences expect?
SCOTT:They're going to be on a ride that they've never imagined. They're going to see a love story, really between three different people. A great friendship happens with Yun-Fat's character and my character and with my character and Jaime King's character. There's martial arts, adventure, drama, comedy. Like I said before, people are going to walk away happy. I hope they get another ticket and see it again.