Jet Li said he has changed the script of his upcoming movie with fellow action star Jackie Chan to better suit Western tastes, an online news site reported Thursday.
Li said "The Forbidden Kingdom" was conceived as a film about Chinese mythology's monkey king and he thought the idea of a kung fu fighting monkey was too far-fetched for Western viewers, according to an interview transcript posted on the Chinese news Web site Sina.com.
Li said he altered the script, inspired by the classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West," to turn the story into a child's dream about Chinese mythology. He said this would make characters with special powers like the monkey king more believable to a Western audience.
"The West can't accept a traditional interpretation of 'Journey to the West.' Westerners can understand Superman, Batman, but not this — a monkey that's so dominating," the actor was quoted as saying.
"The Forbidden Kingdom," scheduled to be released in the U.S. this spring, follows an American teenager's fantasy journey to ancient China to rescue a mythological monkey king. Li plays the monkey king and a silent monk, while Chan plays another monk called T'sa-Ho.
Li attributed the failure of many Chinese movies to break into the U.S. market to differences in Chinese and American perceptions about Chinese culture.
"We like shark's fin and abalone. We think this is the best food and treat friends to it. But Westerners may think that the best Chinese food is fried spring rolls and sweet and sour pork, or hot and sour soup," Li said.