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

by  in Movie News, TV News Comment

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.