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Keanu Reeves' directorial debut in the new martial arts film Man of Tai Chi starring Tiger Chen featured a number of challenges. He told George about some of them while he was in the red chair.
GS: "I know guys that made films there, and maybe you didn't have this experience, but making a film in China you had to deal with the government and there was censorship and there was all these other issues. Did you have to go through that process?"
KR: "Absolutely. They don't have a ratings system in mainland China. So the idea is films have to be able to be seen by all ages. So there's no PG-13 or R or anything like that. And then there's content. Obviously the censorship has content issues.
"I had to take down some of the violence. So I had one sequence where the lead punched someone in the head 11 times... so we made it five. And that was OK. It got the story across.... and then another one was 32 and that went to 17."
Reeves then explained how not being able to depict underground fighting in Beijing, China made him adapt and create a different type of story.
KR: "In the film I have underground fighting. So they didn't want underground fighting in mainland China, in the capital of China. So in Bejing there's no underground fighting. And there's no corrupt police officers. So we had to go to Hong Kong... because it's OK in Hong Kong."
GS: "Because the British had it."
KR: "Yeah, because the British had it. Corrupt! And you know that in Canada as well.
"But that opened up the story. For me, I took that event, so now the film takes place in Beijing and Hong Kong and that opened up the world. So for me that wasn't like a bad experience."
The George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight interview featuring Keanu Reeves and Man of Tai Chi star Tiger Chen airs Monday, October 28 on CBC at 7 and 11:30 pm.