Don't call him washed up—at 48, Jean-Claude Van Damme is back with a new indy film called "JCVD," about … himself. He's passionate about it, and about so much else. He spoke to Sarah Ball:
What are you doing in Thailand?
I've been in the cutting room all night, working on a new film I'm directing called "Full Love."
How ' s it coming?
Good. You go through that certain depression because the actors are all leaving, but they're there now with me in the cutting room.
Why did you want to make a film that comments on your own life?
I made this just to show some of the internal side of J.C.V.D., in a way. He's a guy, a normal guy from Belgium with dreams, and I did well in that type of path. At the age of 47, to take chances and go back to Europe and be talking to some studios there, I'm showing them that I believe I'm good quality.
There ' s a monologue in the film about being a washed-up action star. Did you improvise that?
I like structure—like driving: go past the school on the street, stay on the right side, no hitting the car, go in right, you'll see a big church, stop and take a left, and you'll have it. By doing this I'm giving a structure of life, a path of light, and showing what happens between me and me, which is something very beautiful.
I really opened myself up in "JCVD." I peeled back the skin of the fruit, cut the pulp and then took that very hard seed. In this film I cut that hard seed, and inside that seed was a kind of liquid cream substance of the man I am, or the woman you are.
It was like being naked—I would love to be naked in front of you.
Well, I —
Not being naked being naked. I say such things in Hong Kong and they thought I was being a crazy Frenchman. Being naked of protection.
So you ' ve no regrets at all?
Believe me—I've done very good stuff and very crazy stuff, and I don't regret the crazy stuff. So are you in New York?
Yes, I am.
And are you 27, or 32?
I ' m 22.
Oh, f–––. That is very young. Will you come to the premiere?
I don ' t know. When is it?
I don't know. You will wear all black, a black dress and high heels?
You can come find me, I will be the one with the very broad shoulders, dark hair and a simple suit. We can have some champagne, you and me.