Over the past four years, Hong Kong-based action actor Wu Jing has waited for good roles to come to him. Now he has created his own role, both on screen and behind the camera, with his debut directorial film, action drama Legendary Assassin which is showing at cinemas now. In the film, Wu (above) plays policeman Bruce who, after killing a gang member in Tai O, is stranded on the island because of a typhoon. There he meets a warm-hearted policewoman, Holly (Celina Jade), and their romance begins. Wu said he was encouraged to direct by Gold Label boss Paco Wong Pak-ko, listed by a mainland newspaper as one of the 50 most influential people in the country's entertainment industry. But he said despite his many acting roles, he had little directing experience so he decided to keep his film simple. 'It would be impossible for me to create a story with complex relationships between characters like Andrew Lau Wai-keung's Infernal Affairs. And how can I beat Peter Chan Ho-sun in making a period drama like The Warlords? 'I am a very simple man. I know my strength is kung fu. Kung fu is a universal language that does not require words to be understood,' Wu said. 'My film is about action and a simple love story which I think is already enough. Sometimes if you are trying too hard to make a very complicated film, the audiences may get confused. Why not make it simpler, especially during this depressing time [the economic downturn]. 'I just want to let my audience to have 11/2 hours of enjoyable time at the cinema.' With Wu's presence, audiences are assured of having fight scenes with beautiful action moves. Wu says every punch, kick and stunt his character performs in the film he did himself. One of the scenes features Wu using his body to stop a mini van. He says if the scene has been shot in Hollywood, he would have had the luxury of a bigger budget and more time to plan it. 'But we had two hours only and we had no money. It's a pity. We, Chinese action actors, trade our bodies for a perfect shot. I am proud to complete that stunt but I feel sad too because it can be a fatal one.' But his on-set injuries pale in comparison to those from his early days training in martial arts. His nose is bent to one side from his many injuries. 'My nose was broken only three times,' Wu said, as if it were not a big deal. He straightens his nose with his finger tips. 'See, it looks all right now.' His worst injury happened during a training session when he was 14, leaving him paralysed from the waist down. But as soon as he could move again, he resumed his training. Wu started practising martial arts when he was six years old. He was selected to join the Beijing Wushu Team, where another international kung fu star, Jet Li Lianjie, trained before him. The two action stars had never worked together until Rob Cohen's blockbuster, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. 'Jet is a real big brother to me,' Wu said. 'On set, he would help me tidy up my wig, ask the makeup artists to fix my makeup and translate the direction from the director into Putonghua. 'Off [the] set, he shared with me his good and bad experiences. The crew told me they had never seen him being so caring for another person.' At times when he was younger, Wu thought his martial arts training was boring and even ran away from his team for a fortnight. Now he is thankful for the life martial arts has given him. 'It has certainly broadened my horizons. I started performing around the world at 16 and it really opened my eyes to different cultures. The tough practice sharpened my determination and, of course, it has also given me the chance to act.' And he has some advice to martial arts hopefuls. 'Do not be afraid of injuries or failures. Hold on to your dreams and goals. Keep climbing up the ladder and always remember the worst thing is not to fall down but not able to get back up again.'