Filmmaker Justin Lin hit the filmmaking jackpot after his feature film “Better Luck Tomorrow” premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and was the first feature film to be picked up by MTV Films for distribution. Since then, he’s made two big Hollywood flicks, “Annapolis” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” and has returned to his Sundance roots with his 2007 offering, “Finishing the Game.” Justin took some time out of his 2007 Sundance to talk to Film Threat’s Chris Gore about the film…
So Justin, tell me the story of “Finishing the Game”…
Well, “Finishing the Game” takes place in the 70’s, it’s a re-imagined tale of when Bruce Lee passed he left 12 mins of action footage – the famous 12 mins in the yellow jumpsuit – and this is kind of the idea of who is gonna take over for him, to finish the movie. To basically be a body double and walk around for 70 minutes.
Now what prompted you to want to bring this to the screen?
You know, it was interesting cause when I first saw “Enter the Dragon,” it blew me away. I had never seen an Asian male figure who had that presence. I remember when I got “Game of Death” it… something just didn’t click and I realized, “oh my God, who is this other guy” and it’s been with me ever since. I’ve always been intrigued by who that guy was and how he got the job, so it became natural I think for it to be a movie in my head.
Having made big budget studio pictures and low budget indies, what’s the main difference between the two?
I think indie is… it’s about passion. You make an indie movie because you have to. You have to becasue the mainstream doesn’t want to make it and your passion and your trying to get other people motivated and you want to share something… it’s like falling in love and you’ll do anything for it, you know? Doing a studio movie is like dating a model… both sound pretty good, actually… if you could fall in love with a model. Then that’s what I’m working towards: a model with passion.
At the same time this is a movie for Asian Americans…
It’s okay… a lot of Asian American films deal with serious issues, very serious issues and I think its time to laugh and laugh about ourselves.
And are Bruce Lee fans gonna love this?
I hope so, you know the one thing that I learned about this movie is he is so present. I made this movie and you don’t see a frame of Bruce Lee, he is so present that you never miss it because we all have him in us, you know?
I dont think I have any in me, unfortunately. I wish I did though damn!
You have him.