Jean-Claude Van Damme is action star from the late 80s and early 90s. He was born in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels, Belgium and was given the nickname of "Muscles from Brussels". Before finding a career in film and acting, he used to fight professionally in a variety of numerous martial arts tournaments. He recieved his first role as an extra in Breakin', but his breakthrough role came in the 1988, Bloodsport. He followed that film with a number of cult-classic action films, but he may be best known among gamers for his portrayal of Colonel Guile
in the 1994 Street Fighter movie, as well as his appearance in the tie-in game, Street Fighter: The Movie
. The critical bashing of the Street Fighter film seemed to stunt his career, as he soon went from a top action star, to a B-movie actor. He is still working in the film industry to this day, but his current films all go straight to DVD and rarely ever see a theatrical release.
Fighting Career Though Van Damme’s fighting ability was often questioned after he became a movie star, he was actually a fairly good kickboxer in the mid-70s. He initially began training in shotokan karate when he was ten years old and managed to earn a black belt. After he finished studying karate, he started to focus his attention on kickboxing and began to fight in a variety of tournaments/organizations under his birth name of Van Varenberg. He allegedly had an 18-2 record before ending his fighting career in favor of a career in acting.
Jean-Claude Van Damme made his film debut in the 1984 movie, Breakin’
, as a “Guy dancing in the background”, but the movie that jumpstarted his career was Bloodsport
in 1988. He followed up Bloodsport
with other cult-classics such as: Cyborg
, and Lion Heart
. He became a top-grossing action star (Timecop
grossed over 100 million across its worldwide release) , but he started to lose his appeal after appearing in the 1994 film adaptation of the video game franchise Street Fighter
. His career began to decline quite quickly and he soon became just another "straight-to-DVD" actor. The only movie to receive a theatrical release of any kind since Universal Soldier: The Return
(1999) is the self-parody film simply called JCVD
(2008), which recieved high praise among critics and viewers alike, though it only recieved a limited release.
Van Damme has also tried his hand at other aspects of film, such as writing, directing, and producing. He wrote the original story that lead to the film, Kickboxer
, as well as writing the screenplay for such other films like Lionheart
, Double Impact
, and The Quest
. He made his directorial debut with the film, The Quest
, and will be returning to the director's seat in 2009 with his upcoming film, The Eagle Path
Jean-Claude Van Damme is currently working on a third installment in the Universal Soldier franchise. This new film is due out in 2009 and entitled, Universal Soldiers: The Next Generation. It is rumored that Dolph Lundgren will return as Andrew Scott as well. He is also working on film called The Eagle Path, which he is writing, directing, and starring in.
- He starred in the film Double Team with Dennis Rodman…yes, that Dennis Rodman.
- He was actually the original actor hired to play the Predator in the film of the same name, but he was fired for being “hard to work with”.
- He was the original inspiration for Mortal Kombat character Johnny Cage. This is mainly due to Van Damme’s ability to do the splits and punch people in the nuts.
- He was considered for the role of Wolverine in the original X-Men movie, but didn’t end up getting the role.
- The physique of Metal Gear protagonist, Solid Snake, was inspired by the physique of Jean-Claude Van Damme.
- He got his ass kicked by his former bodyguard, Chuck Zito, after bad-mouthing him.
- He studied ballet for five years and called it a very difficult sport/workout.
- He claims that he learned to speak English by watching The Flintstones.
- Seanbaby claims that the greatest game ever would consist of Dead Rising - Sucky Parts Jean-Claude Van Damme.
- He was sued for gouging out the eye of an extra during the filming of Cyborg.
- He speaks French, English, German, and Spanish...but not particularly well.
- He has starred in five movies with another Jean-Claude Van Damme (dual roles). Those movies are Double Impact, Timecop, Maximum Risk, Replicant and The Order in which he plays two different characters in different eras.
- He was personally offered a lead role in the movie " The Expendables" by director Sylvestor Stallone himself. JCVD turned the role citing saying he "doesn't want his career going down that route."