Dragon Blade (2015) - full transcript

When corrupt Roman leader Tiberius arrives with a giant army to claim the Silk Road, Huo An and his group of trained warriors teams up with an elite legion of defected Roman soldiers led by General Lucius to maintain the delicate balance of power in the region. To protect his country and his new friends, Huo An gathers the warriors of thirty-six ethnic nations together to fight Tiberius in an incredible epic battle.

This movie is very masculine,
it's very me.

Romans entered China during the
Han Dynasty. This is a fascinating tale.

Those of us
who enjoy making historical films

have been paying attention to it.

Epic, romantic, smart,

beautifully written, historical,
kind of opera in a way.

It was very moving, very emotional.

When I first read the script,
l was like, wow.

This one is really great, incredible.

Everyone will like it.

In the end,
it just got bigger and bigger.

At first, it was just a small city.
But now it's like, wow.

From Rome to China,

we read
all available historical materials,

including on the buildings that are left

in the Great Northwest region.

The structures and designs are similar
to the Roman architectural style.

Later we noticed
that the facial features of the locals

don't look Han Chinese.

It turns out that their genes
are closely related to the Romans.

We just made minor changes

to what we read
on the internet or in books.

The heart of the story
is in China's Western Region.

The region is very wide-ranging.

The setting provides
extensive room for creativity.

We don't have to re-enact
every detail of the period,

we only need to present
the atmosphere to the audience.

Without straying too far from history.

We just use the real history
as background

when creating our new world.

He has his preferences
when it comes to creation:

How to create a Western style

with an Eastern perspective.

It was a turbulent period.
There were 36 nations during the Han.

Different people came and went
along the Silk Road.

It's not unusual
that different genes were left behind.

From a screenwriter's point of view,

what would have happened
if Romans had indeed arrived in China?

That's why
"Dragon Blade" fascinated me.

The movie has a unique character.

Although there's the Han army,

they're also on the Silk Road
with Roman soldiers.

Everybody looks like a foreigner.

They all speak different languages.

This diversity was the biggest problem.
Many languages are spoken in the movie.

Most were deduced from our research,

imagining how the nations spoke
2,000 years ago.

The White Indians in white.

-The chief is Alisijiang.

I play General Huo Qubing's adopted son.

Both the Han and the Huns
refuse to accept me.

So I become the leader of
the border protection squad,

ensuring the different nations

were at peace on the Silk Road.

Huo An is a man who detests war.

Of course, it was very hard
to avoid conflict.

There were 36 nations,
fighting each other continuously.

Almost all of them were nomadic nations.

He must have been
a natural with languages.

Or how could he have
promoted peace with different people?

Many languages are spoken in this film.

-Stop fighting!
-I am Lucius, Commanding General.

Black Eagle Corps, Roman Empire.

Huo An, General.

Is there any way no fight?

Return my people, you go.

I play Lucius

who is a commanding general of the
Black Eagle Corps of the Roman Empire.

And he serves under Crassus.

And he is a general who is charged

with keeping a young lord safe,

who is an heir to the throne,

one of the three thrones of Rome
at the time.

John Cusack is a brilliant actor.
He gave us a lot of good ideas.

I find John Cusack
very charming and romantic.

So his character's background
must be tragic.

He fell in love with his master's wife.

He always feels very guilty
about that

when he is persecuted.

He was the boy's teacher
and his combat trainer.

He treats the boy like his own son.

He is trying to protect the young lord

from the Roman Empire,
because there's been a coup.

And so he's a bit of an outlaw
at the moment.

Welcome home. So nice
to have you hanging around again.

The finest warrior in the Empire.

I play Tiberius who is
the epitome of an evil ruler.

He shows no mercy.

The beauty of playing a role like that
is that I often play characters

who feel a great deal of emotion.

You never know what he'll do next.

That's the most exhilarating thing.

Adrien Brody
is the perfect choice for this role.

His strongest aspect
is his unpredictable performance.

Tiberius is extremely insecure,

extremely lonely and has no friends.

So he always tries to make friends
with his captives.

It's just fun.
It's a different approach for me.

He's an Oscar winner.

I'm really, really moved
to be able to work with him.

I play Publius,
the son of a Roman consul.

He's a sensible and kind young kid.

Tiberius says, "Give up
your inheritance, or I'll kill you."

I say, "Okay, I'll give it up,"
so he won't kill me.

If I hadn't said that,
he would have killed me.

To me,

the beauty of this role is the "twist".

So at first, if I hide something,

then I have to lie to people.

To hide what my...

real intentions are,
is very difficult.

My Chinese has really improved.

She's a very strong woman,
very cool and she can really fight.

But her eyes should be innocent,
because she doesn't think that much.

So her eyes are really pure,
but with a fierceness.

I think
Xiuqing is the kind of woman...

There's a saying that
behind every successful man is a woman.

And that woman, for Huo An, is Xiuqing.

We both strive for peace.

They both have the same goals,
that's the special language they share,

which enhances the closeness...
of their relationship.

-I'm the Commander here.
-Call him Geese Commander.

So you're Huo An?

I heard you're good with swords.

He is the kind of guy
who really likes to bluff.

He thinks of himself
as strong and powerful,

that he's needed to protect the country.

But when facing combat on the field,

he panics and flusters.

Clueless heroes.

His occupation is a doctor,
an army doctor.

Very conceited.

He thinks
his judgments are 100% accurate,

but he's wrong most of the time.

What did you say?

Huo An. Is it worth it?

For these people?
We should leave.

They need me now more than ever.

"Dragon Blade" is a kind of "Wu Xia".

Because all the characters
are very chivalrous.

Someone once asked me, "What is
your definition of Chinese chivalry?"

I think that being a hero,

and any act of chivalry,
is for one's beliefs.

It's doing something
that can't normally be done,

risking one's life
in the end for one's beliefs.

Acting for justice, or the greater good,

is truly selfless.

If you do what you have to do,
if you hold down what you have to,

and if you take
your responsibility as a human being.

I think you then become a hero,
just like Huo An.

These days we see
fewer and fewer charitable deeds.

Few actors can
convincingly deliver justice on screen.

My responsibility is
to bring out the best in the actors,

drawing out the best of them
for the movie.

The best thing isn't
their acting or his fighting.

They demonstrate those skills
in every scene.

I concentrated on something else.

In some scenes, he can't talk too much.

But he always
has his philosophy of life.

I cast an actor
not only based on his acting,

but also on his life philosophy.

You can't act out true emotion.

You can't cultivate an emotion
for a scene.

True emotions only come from within.

Am I doing it for the money?

Not really, not for the money.

It's for the films I want to make,
to accomplish something.

Only through movies...

can I tell people how terrifying war is,

or how important it is
to protect the environment.

Tolerance is needed in every society.

Only through my movies

can I say the things
I really want to say,

within one-and-a-half or two hours.

Well, I have admired Jackie

for so long, as a human being,

and obviously as a fan of his work.

He's not just a very talented actor
and incredibly famous,

but he is one of the most generous and
genuinely good-natured people I've met.

He really is
an ambassador of goodwill...

internationally, but I think
you can see it even more here.

I think he... I can see that...

He is a very powerful man,
but power with the heart.

That's what I see.

The actor must be trustworthy
with a good public image.

Or his lines in the film
won't be sincere.

They won't be convincing.

And then it won't be
a good martial arts movie.

I hope to include
the actors' real lives in this film.

I don't just want to tell them
how to act in a scene.

I want to incorporate
their public persona,

to integrate people's feelings
for the actors into my movie.

So I've added the accumulated years
of "Jackie Chan". That's my dream.

I always have to...

return home with injuries.

Otherwise, I feel that l
haven't been making enough effort.

How are the Romans able
to finish it in 15 days?

I'm sure it's not due to more manpower.
Their army has less than 1,000 men.

It takes enormous effort to transport
a stone to the top of the wall.

One, two, three, move!

One, two, three!

The only way is to lift it up there.

So I thought,

they would have made a crane.

Two stories high and rotating.

So we started from the assumption

of what a Roman crane
might have looked like.

We did find examples of some simple
Roman cranes from that time period.

But for the big screen, it wouldn't be
exciting to just build a replica.

Push slowly!

The audience doesn't question
every element you include.

But if you add something they like,
they'll appreciate it.

Positive feelings accumulate over time.

Especially in how I approach the props.

Each piece,
every time it appears on the screen,

is an opportunity
to show the audience my creativity.

I like the creative aspect of movies.

There are too many.
It's impossible to keep count.

You'll definitively be amazed
if you take a tour around the studio.

The warehouse for the props and costumes
is right next to our meeting room.

At first
I wanted the armour to be simple.

But after we designed the Roman armour,

I said to my team, "Oh, no."

When we put the Chinese and Roman armour
side by side,

the Roman armour won by a large margin,

because it looked
more sophisticated and cool.

I said, "No, it won't do. We have
to re-design the Chinese armour."

We listen to him when it comes to the
costumes. He's a great visual artist.

He made huge changes.

He's seen many of my movies and wants
to transform me into a different man.

In my previous movies,
I was always Jackie Chan.

The costume and the makeup were always
the same. My hair looked the same too.

But now I trust him. He's an artist.

His designs are great, so I trust him.
And I leave it all to him.

Cirrus clouds can be seen
on the helmets and shoulders.

The Chinese characters
for "cirrus cloud" are etched in too.

The clouds are very beautiful,

and harmonious.

They float with ease.
It feels benevolent, romantic.

So we covered them in cirrus clouds.

If I can't move,
I'll die in a war for sure.

It is heavy
when you wear a large helmet,

or have a huge shield on your back.

It's clumsy when you hang
a huge shield on the chariot.

It's hard to act with a big shield.

A small shield is an accessory.

It can be used as an arm protector
and guard from attacks.

So I thought
everyone should have a small shield.

A peacekeeping squad
dissuades others from fighting.

A heavy shield will weigh them down.

I thought of it myself and Daniel
came up with the design soon after.

It's a very clever idea.
He needs to be mobile and quick.

Everything has to be simple.
It's logical, he doesn't want to fight.

But when others are drawing swords,
what can he do?

It's like a police shield.

To break up fights,
they at least need a shield.

In terms of action choreography,
he's good at kickboxing,

but isn't very experienced with weapons.

So I taught him
how to fight with weapons on set.


The sandstorms come without any warning.

Our hair turns white
in the sandstorm in just a second,

so you have to cover up immediately
or your whole head will turn white.

It hurts a lot
when you get sand in your eyes,

but we need to keep our eyes open
in fight scenes.

Whenever we move,
sand and stones fly everywhere.

It's very painful.

I don't understand how the horses can
keep their eyes open in the sandstorms.

It may be a harsh environment,

but the location
gives the crew great motivation.

There are problems almost every day.

The sun is blazing hot.

The ground temperature is 50° C,

the cameras can be 70° C.

Sometimes they'll overheat
and won't work.

The temperature
is just too high for them.

Basically, for historical epics

and legendary stories
like that of "Dragon Blade",

we must first focus
on making a good movie.

And then add elements
to make it even better.

You train kill people.

-We train to save people.
-Peace is a dream.

Now that you've watched many films

with stories, philosophy and knowledge,

this is all I want to tell
audiences and the world.

We want to present the concept
of living in peace with others.

Why is there always war?
Without war, there's no hero.

The film is about peacekeeping, the hope
that 36 nations could live in peace.

But there is no hero if there is no war.
Isn't that strange?

You can only make peace after war. But
by then, millions of people are dead.

Our movie must bring people hope.

Allow people to believe
that everything will get better.

And there are some epic fight scenes.

I've always dreamt of the opportunity
to play with someone like Jackie.

He is just such a genius in this field.

And so to get to collaborate together
and learn from him is just wonderful.

And I think there is great potential

that it works on a world-wide level.

I was thrilled to get this script,
and then to work with Jackie Chan.

And to work in China
on a Chinese-language movie.

As an American, to come and be the first
to do that was very exciting for me.

The magnificent era of the past

and such deep passion.

It allows different people
a different experience.

If you guys are curious,
then you should watch this movie.

When people of different ethnicities
live together,

the only way to solve conflicts

is to live in peace.

That's the conclusion of the movie,
our main statement.