Watch Bruce Willis, Keanu Reeves, and Other Actors Speak Mandarin
What’s funniest about “The Hollywood Guide to Speaking Chinese” — cut together wonderfully by YouTube member maxiao88 in the style of a black and white silent — isn’t Bruce Willis, Keanu Reeves, Chris Tucker, Bradley Cooper, and other non-Chinese actors speaking Mandarin (usually badly).
It’s the occasional subtle reaction from Chinese actors playing their conversation partner in the scene that gets me the most. You see a twitching muscle that signals amusement or horror, but it’s a two-faced one at that. On the surface, their character is reacting to the fact that the non-Chinese character can speak Mandarin well. Deep down, the actor is reacting to the fact that the non-Chinese actor cannot speak Mandarin well. That they’re able to mask that knowledge pretty well deserves an Oscar in and of itself.
See the video below:
The list of actors and films is as follows, in order of appearance:
- Red - Bruce Willis
- Limitless – Bradley Cooper
- Rush Hour - Chris Tucker
- Doctor Who - Tom Baker
- CSI - Lawrence Fishburne
- Funny People – Eric Bana and kids
- The Day The Earth Stood Still - Keanu Reeves
- The Glimmer Man - Steven Seagal
- Entourage – Vanessa Branch
- Black Dynamite - Michael Jai White
The exceptional one here seems to be Vanessa Branch, the only truly conversant speaker as well as the only female speaker in the video (she also happens to be a Middlebury graduate, like yours truly). By and large, though, it appears that knowing the ever-locked mysteries of the ancient Chinese people will help you impress females in Hollywood.
The truth is, Hollywood has never been particularly good with China. Chinese talent is thin and what little is there often gets tokenized (take Ip Man star Donnie Yen, who can apparently only get a prominent Hollywood role if he inherits Jet Li‘s Chinese kung fu fighter role in The Expendables 2). Then again, one might say the same for Chinese films, where the White Man has done nothing but tear China apart with opium and guns.
(Shootinchina.com via Shanghaiist)
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TAGS: Bruce Willis • Chinese actors • Chinese movies • Keanu Reeves • Mandarin
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