Hollywood star Jean Claude Van Damme’s name has become synonymous with action with films like Hard Target, Kickboxer, Timecop, Expendables, Universal Soldier among others to his credit. Close to completing three decades in the industry, the actor reflects on his journey as an action hero in an e-mail interview with After Hrs. Excerpts:
What is Van Damme like, when not in his action avatar?
I am probably pretty much like anyone else. I enjoy the same things as most people and like to keep a laidback lifestyle with my family.
How would you look back at your journey so far?
I have had good times and occasional tough times, I have had a family and friends who were always there for me, and a great group of fans. And… like the song from many years ago by Bachman Turner Overdrive, You Aint Seen Nothing Yet.
It must have been risky doing the stunts over the years…
You practice, you work out, you stay in shape and you stay focused. You must maintain your confidence.
What’s been the most difficult action sequence so far?
There have been quite a few tough ones, the jump into a split on the kitchen counter in Timecop made me a good customer for muscle pain salves.
What’s about competition in the industry?
If you mean between actors, that is more hyped than real. On the Expendables 2 set, for example, the relationship between the cast could not have been better, they were a wonderful group to work with, and great friends off set.
You seem to be quite aware of Bollywood?
I am very aware of it, the industry has really developed, there are some great really fun films coming out of Bollywood. There are some wonderful actors in Indian cinema, far too many to name individually.
Any plans to visit India?
I have been to India, and would enjoy going again. It is a fascinating country, great people, great food, amazing history and culture, who wouldn’t want to visit?
What about working in Bollywood?
I have a number of projects keeping me busy at the moment, but as one of the US Presidents said, ”All options are on the table”.
Any Indian actress you’d want to be paired with on screen?
You will get me in trouble with this question. You know my wife reads these interviews.
It’s been two decades since the first Universal Soldier movie. What makes the fourth installment Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning more special?
Each movie has its own flavour.
The two decades mean I must be a bit older than I was in the first movie. I keep trying to figure out how that happened. Besides, this movie is very intense, it changes the direction of what we have seen with the previous films. The Director John Hyams is very good, the challenge is to maintain and render his vision.