During pre-production, the actors had to undergo training in horseback riding and
gunslinging. Owen says, "One of the best parts about working on this movie was being able to tell people that, no, I couldn't have lunch because I was working. on my fast draw, and that my trainer was coming
over to teach me gun tricks. I'd spent a small amount of time on horses when I was a kid, but basically I had to start again. I don't think I look like Roy Rogers, but I look
Xander Berkeley (Sheriff Van Cleef) has a different riding background. "I grew up on a horse farm
for a period of time and was tossed rather violently and almost broke my neck when I was about six, so it took me a little while to get back in the saddle. But off and on, during different times growing up, I did. I haven't stayed with it as much as I wish I had, because it's just great; I just love riding.
"This whole experience has been like summer camp for grown-up boys," he continues. "I mean, I came here and practiced gun twirling for a week, then I trained with a bullwhip with Alex Green ('The Mask of Zorro'), this great bullwhip guy and I get to ride horses. So what's not to like? It's every boy's dream come true and I'm getting paid to boot," he finishes with a grin.
Action sequences are, of course, Jackie Chan's specialty but horseback riding wasn't a large part of his repertoire prior to "Shanghai Noon." "I was afraid of horses before 'Shanghai Noon.' I would pet them but not ride them because I was always afraid that I would be thrown off the horse. But after about ten days of lessons, I knew that I could control the horse and wanted to find out how to get the horse up on its back legs like 'The Lone Ranger."'
While Chan may never get his horse up on its hind legs, animal trainer Claude
Chausse manages to get Fido the horse to drink a bottle of whiskey for one scene. In addition, Fido learned to lick faces and sit on his haunches. "He does everything a dog does," animal wrangler John Scott notes proudly. Mr. Scott's extensive experience in the Western movie genre made him a key resource during the shooting of "Shanghai Noon." According to the producers, John Scott was the first and best choice to provide the horses and western
gear needed for the movie. "He knows everything there is to know about horses—he's the best in the business."
Summing up his experience directing his first major motion picture, and in particular with one of the world's biggest stars, Dey says, "Jackie was incredibly generous and gracious. He never once refused to try something, even if he knew it probably wasn't the best thing. He's a man who has done 45 movies and directed many of them himself and was very generous to a first-time director, when he didn't have to be. I feel very fortunate to have been able to work with such a big star who was so open to my suggestions. He's extremely hardworking and disciplined."
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