Dude, Where's My Kar? Sean William Scott talks 'Bulletproof Monk'

Thu, April 10th, 2003 at 12:00am PDT

TV/Film
Rob Worley, Columnist

Next week Seann William Scott, an actor best known for playing lovable dumb

guys like Stiffler in "American Pie," will show his Chops in the

modern-day, urban "Bulletproof Monk." The kung fu movie, based on the Flypaper Press graphic novel of the same name

features Scott as a street-wise punk who comes under the guidance of the titular

hero (played by Chow

Yun-Fat) to protect an ancient scroll.

MGM Studios has provided CBR readers with this Q & A session with Scott about the movie.

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.

 
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