Jet Li about the role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
"I've been asked: why didn't you do Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
did ask me back in 1997
if I would be interested in doing his movie. At the time, I didn't make a commitment either way, but I did recommend that he hire Yuen Woo-ping. I told him: if you're going to make a period martial arts
movie, you've got to have Yuen Woo ping
choreographing the action. And if you're going to shoot the film in China
, you've got to get Chui Po-chu, the best producer in Hong Kong
, on your team. These two production members have proved to be wonderful colleagues in my own career. I worked with them on several projects in Hong Kong. They're brilliant at what they do.
But there was a reason why I couldn't do Crouching Tiger, and it dates back to ten years ago
When I first met Nina in 1989
, on the set of Dragon Fight, we fell in love
right away. Our feelings for each other were very strong. People wondered how long it would last.
We wondered about this as well. One day
, when we were talking, I said to Nina: "Let's not rush into anything. What I mean is, if we still feel this way about each other ten years from now, I think we should get married
And she replied: "Alright. If you ask me then, I promise that the answer will be yes."
"Well, if that's the case," I said, "then let me make another promise to you. If we ever decide to start a family, I will take a break from my career. Through every month of your pregnancy
I give my word that I will not make any movies, until the child is born. I plan to be by your side the whole time." It was a man's promise.
rolled around. And we were still as much in love with each other as we had been in the very beginning! Ten years had passed like a single day. We started planning the wedding
. As chance would have it, we had more good news. Nina had "good fortune
," as we say in Chinese
. She was carrying our child!
In order to keep my promise to her, I had to turn down the role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
. Naturally, I told Ang Lee
about my situation--why I couldn't do his movie. He was very understanding.
So I didn't make that movie. In fact, starting from the time that Romeo Must Die
wrapped production, I didn't work on any films for about 12 months, a whole year, because I was at home with my wife.
Many reporters have asked me, "Given the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
, do you have any regrets that you didn't do the movie?"
To this day, I have only one answer: "None whatsoever."
My film career is only one aspect of my life. Relationships are more important. And I believe that keeping one's word is one of the most basic principles
of human conduct".
And as an addition, Jet Li will not be seen in the sequels of Matrix
. Too bad though.