We pulled into the parking garage of a big condo complex. Brad, Exy and I grabbed our bags and headed up. Paul had already checked in but went with the rest of us to the lobby to get our keys. Paul lead the way as we got off the elevator at our floor.
“This is our room here,” Brad said looking down at our key card.
“We’re over this way.” Paul motioned down the hall. “I think this is the first time you and me aren’t roommates,” he said to Brad, “it’s alright, I’m sure you and the rookie here will get along just fine!”
Brad just glared at Paul and said, “Yeah,”
“See you later!” said Exy happily. We went into our room and I was surprised at how big it was! We opened the door to a small hallway and immediately to the right there was a small bathroom (which would be mine). Straight ahead at the end of the hallway were two doors, one leading to the master bedroom – which had its own television and bathroom – which of course was Brad’s, and then another smaller bedroom which was mine. Next to the rooms was a kitchen, dining table, and living room with a small TV. The kitchen also had a washer/dryer in it for some strange reason! We had a sliding door that opened up to a small balcony which overlooked the rest of the condo complex.
“Sweet!” I thought to myself.
“So what now?” I asked Brad.
“Right, of course, but I mean after that? Does Jackie want us for anything?”
“Nope. I think we’re free for the rest of the evening.”
“Oh, okay.” I went into my room and opened up my suitcase and took out all of my clothes and organized them in the closet and drawers in the room. I put my alarm clock on the night stand to make sure I’d wake up – after all you wouldn’t want to be late when you’re working for JACKIE CHAN!!!
As I was finishing up Brad came to my door and said, “Come take a look at this,” we went to the living room and he put a DVD in the player. “This is my demo reel, do you got one?”
“No,” I said a little embarrassed. Now, the next five minutes or so consisted of me FREAKING OUT!!! Inside of course. Brad’s demo reel was THE MOST INSANE demonstration of athletic ability in gymnastics and martial arts that I’d ever seen! He was doing moves I didn’t even think were possible! I had NEVER IN MY LIFE been exposed to such a level of athleticism and talent in such a short period of time as I had while watching Brad’s reel. I could go on for another twenty pages describing how blown away, stunned, shocked, appalled, traumatized, elated, surprised, sick, dumbfounded, impressed, astonished, dazzled, bewildered, and stupefied I was, but I think you get the idea.
When the reel ended I just sat there in silence. I was in SHOCK. I had NO IDEA the level of talent that was on the JC team. I mean you expect them to be talented, but in all my years of training up to that point I thought I had seen it all or at least most of it (and keep in mind I was a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and had trained in recreational gymnastics for four years) but NO. Brad’s reel opened up my eyes to a world I hadn’t even fathomed! He was even doing moves that I hadn’t seen Jackie do before in his movies!
“What do you think?” he asked earnestly.
“I…I mean, that was AMAZING! I’ve never even seen some of the moves before! And the stunts and fights scenes were incredible! I can’t even do a tenth of what you can do!”
I’m not sure, but I think he might’ve thought I was teasing him a bit. I mean Brad still didn’t know what my abilities were. I think cause I was handpicked by Jackie himself he thought I was something pretty amazing too. But I wasn’t. At that time my skill set was nothing short of lacking – especially after seeing what Brad was capable of. I was afraid I wouldn’t measure up to the tasks that were going to be asked of me…
“So what’s your background?? What have you trained in??” after seeing his reel, I wanted to learn everything I could from him.
“Boxing, gymnastics, and Wushu.”
“Oh yeah? How old were you when you started?”
“I started gymnastics a little later,” that gave me hope! I didn’t start still I was fourteen. “If I had started earlier, I think I could’ve gone to the Olympics.”
“Really?! That’s incredible!” The Olympics! I was in awe. Truly Brad was in a different stratosphere than I was. We spent the next several minutes talking about each other’s background and history. I told him that I trained in mantis kung fu when I was younger and then Tae Kwon Do soon after. I started recreational tumbling at fourteen and that was about it. Brad’s training history was much more extensive then my own. He had also started gymnastics later in his early teens – the only difference was he trained competitively. He went to university in Beijing where he majored in Chinese and studied Wushu while he was there.
“Can you teach me some Wushu!?” I asked Brad excitedly. I had always wanted to learn Wushu but never found any schools in my area.
“Only if you show me some Tae Kwon Do,” Brad replied. I didn’t know what to say. There obviously wasn’t anything I could teach Brad that he didn’t already know. What amazed me was that he was able to speak Mandarin. Of course it wasn’t with a perfect accent, but he was able to understand and communicate. Unfortunately for both of us, most of the people who work on Jackie’s movies are from Hong Kong where they speak Cantonese – so neither of us could really understand fully.
“Well it’s getting late, we have an 8:00 am call time tomorrow be ready to leave by seven. Get some rest, tomorrow’s going to be a big day for you,” and with that Brad went into his room and closed the door behind him. It was still early, only about eight o’clock. I decided to stay in the living room and watch some TV for a little bit. I flicked through the channels unused to EVERY channel having someone speaking with a British accent. I was starting to doze off. I turned off the TV, unpacked all of my toiletries and got ready for bed. I hadn’t realized how tired I really was! With the time difference and everything that had happened I was wiped out! As excited as I was, I passed right out.