Collin Chou is a Hong Kong actor and martial artist best known for his portrayal of Seraph in The Matrix sequels. In Asian cinema, he has worked in several films with Jet Li and Sammo Hung, including the 2006 martial-arts epic, Fearless. He squared off against Donnie Yen in Flash Point, and starred alongside Jet Li and Jackie Chan together for the first time in The Forbidden Kingdom in which he played the Jade Warlord. We sit down and talk with Collin about his future career goals, the current status of the Matrix films and his beginnings as a stuntment. Read below for the full interview…
You come from a very large family! Was acting something that came from interest within your family or did it spawn on its own?
Collin: No one in my family is in the acting field. I was the only one to get into it!
Was your interest in martial arts in conjunction with your interest in becoming an actor? Or was it a separate goal?
Collin: They were separate things. I didn’t know I would be an actor when I started to learn martial arts at the age of six or seven. Until I got a stunt double job at the age of 12 then I decided to work in the film world.
You’ve had a long career and association with Jet Li. Do you feel that your career had come full circle when you ended up working with director Gordon Chan this year?
Collin: I still have a lot to learn and achieve in my career. Now I am interested in roles that are different from the traditial martial arts roles.
You are known for your stunts and discipline within the action genre, but as you get older, is drama or comedy a place you would like to go career-wise?
Collin: I think everyone wants to work in different genres! But to me, even doing comedies or dramas I will still wish for some action scenes to make it more my own.
There have been films where you were not only the actor, but the choreographer, AND stunt double for many of the other actors in the film. How did you prepare your mindset to tackle such a challenging task?
Collin: Even I don’t know how I did it, but lots of people were doing the same things when I was in that position. I think when you are put into that situation you got to do what you have to do!
Is it safe to say that the Matrix franchise is done? When you have a science-fiction franchise, you’re never dead, unless your DNA is expunged from the universe. Is there a possibility of the Seraph character from the Matrix being revisited?
Collin: Well, you never know!
What can you tell us about your new films coming out, such as Mural, and other future projects?
Collin: Mural has already been released in most of the Asian countries. I am so glad it has done very well in the box office! The next one will be ‘The Four’. It’s a period drama about 4 detectives. Another one is ‘The Five Star Genera’. It’s a contemporary story about 5 girls traveling with a man to the forest and finding some people trying to destroy mother nature to get some treasure. These 2 movies are scheduled to come out next year around summer time.
I imagine working on the Matrix films was quite different then most movies you’ve been in. What are the prime differences working on a Hollywood movie then a Kung-Fu film? Is there more red tape or politics you have to get through?
Collin: Of course working on the movie like Matrix was like a once in a lifetime thing. The prime differences was definiely the large budget compared to other films I have worked on. That amount of money meant that more details could be taken care of. About red tape or politics, to me it is all the same. No matter where you go there will always be these issues. It really depends on how you look at things and how you handle them.
Aside from your own movies, what other kind of Asian films are some of your favorites?
Collin: Actually, I like a lot of older Asian films (Kurosawa). Also 70s to 90s Hong Kong movies.
Lastly, do you have any advice you can give to the younger generation of actors looking to break into the business?
Collin: Ask yourself if you really like this work not because of the glamorous exterior. Many people who seem to be over-night success have actually worked really hard before getting to where they are now. If you don’t have the passion to be able to over come difficulties then don’t waste time!