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Stephen Chow • Xu Jiao
DIRECTOR: Stephen Chow

Xu Jiao and Stephen Chow THE CONCEPT:
Poor Ti (Chow) works at a construction site every day to make sure his son Dicky Chow (Xu Jiao) can attend an elite private school. Ti can’t afford to buy expensive toys, and while ‘shopping’ for a new toy in a junkyard, Ti finds a mysterious orb and brings it home, unaware that it is an alien…

U.S. RELEASE: March 7 2008, Nationwide • Rated: PG


STEPHEN CHOW on choosing a young actress, Xu Jiao, to play his son in the movie:
“Once we had a draft of the script for CJ7, we started looking all over China. We searched regular schools, martial arts schools, acting schools and schools with special talent programs in search of a strong actor to play the character of Dicky Chow. Ultimately, we auditioned almost 10,000 kids. At first I really didn’t think of Xu in terms of this role. I saw this little girl with long hair, and there was something a little strange that struck me. She was very quiet and it was only later that we started having her do specific tests where I started seeing that she was appropriate for the role of Dicky.”

“As a girl it wasn’t easy to play a rough and rambunctious boy. I was very sad when I had to cut off my long hair – I wasn’t prepared for that. When I first got the role, I think a lot of my friends really admired me and thought it was a great thing. They all congratulated me, none of them made fun of me.”

“The model for the alien CJ7 was my own dog. I had a dog I raised for many years. He was a Pekinese with big eyes and a flat face, very cute. The dog passed away but this dog was really the model that we kind of designed the alien after. He was the original inspiration.”

“There’s naturally a certain level of difficulty when you are approaching a different gender role, especially for someone like me that lacks experience in acting. This is my first feature film so there were definitely challenges. I think a lot of these challenges have to do with the very unique personality of boys and girls. Girls are typically more quiet and refined, whereas boys can be rowdy and coarse and a little rougher around the edges. But I also have my wild side and I can be very lively and curious about things, so I tried to tap into that side of my personality. As for the future, I really hope that I’ll have some opportunities to play girl roles next.”

“The one thing you really need when you’re working with child actors is patience. You have to have the time to really spend with them working various things out because they do require more time than a professional actor who is very seasoned. That’s something that I think my previous experience as host of children’s show really helped. As for the CG and working with this invisible dog, that’s something that I also have experience with in Shaolin Soccer and King Fu Hustle, we had a lot of CG so that wasn’t really a big problem.”

“I learned a lot from Director Chow during the production. It was his determination and commitment to his work, as well as his sense of responsibility that most impressed me. I definitely want to continue to act and I am very grateful to Director Chow for giving me such a wonderful opportunity.”

CHOW on developing a sequel to his successful Kung Fu Hustle:
“A sequel is something that I have been considering for some time and it’s still on the table, but lately there’s been a kind of shift away from making it a literal sequel from the first movie and [making it] a new film in this series that will explore a new story, new ideas and that will give us more freedom.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Film Review, #694, April 2008 cover

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