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Action film star Jean-Claude Van Damme inaugurates a statue of himself in Brussels

posted 21 Oct 2012, 11:52 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 21 Oct 2012, 11:53 ]

Belgian action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme inaugurates a statue of himself inBrussels.

 BRUSSELSBELGIUM (OCTOBER 21, 2012) (REUTERS) -  Action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme was in Brussels on Sunday (October 21) to inaugurates a life size statue of himself in bronze.

Several hundreds of people gathered outside a shopping mall of the popular district of Anderlecht to attend the ceremony.

The inauguration was also attended by Van Damme's parents, a group of young local karate practitioners, Belgium's culture minister Fadila Laanan and Anderlecht's mayorGaetan Van Goidsenhoven.

Van Damme unveiled his statue that was covered with Belgium's national flag, as the country's national anthem was being played.

Van Damme said the Belgian public's support came from the message of hope he had been sending ever since the release of his first film, Bloodsport.

"And then suddenly Bloodsport came out, and the American dream starts. Now Belgiumis paying me back something but really it's to pay back to the dream. So when people come back here, it is Jean-Claude Van Damme, but it is a guy from the street who believes into something and I want that statue to represent that", said Van Damme.

Van Damme also recalled his first steps in the American film industry.

"You know, sometimes, you have those clicks before the car starts where it should work like this for people. I felt the click like I knew I was making it... So when I came toAmerica, I felt like I was already a movie star full of fear. Three thousand dollars (USD) in my pocket but I was talking to everybody, I was full of life, full of, you know, like Gene Kelly: 'America'. You know I was like that type of kid. Did not speak any English and slowly by slowly, I became better in English. I did have some great time and then some low time, I was really in like they are saying, sorry, deep shit, right," said Van Damme, who starred in Hollywood action films such as 'Timecop' and 'The Expendables 2'.

Born in Brussels in 1960, Jean-Claude Van Damme came to fame in 1988 with the release of "Bloodsport", a film in which he impersonated American martial artist Frank Dux.

French fan Laetitia Leloup travelled from Champagne to attend the ceremony. She recalled the message Van Damme sent to the public.

"Back to the roots. He thanked his dad and his mum for his whole career. He sent a message to those with a dream saying they should carry on with their dream," Leloup said.

Belgian fan Bianca Calle said the actor deserved the statue.

"He's really special. He really earned this statue," Calle said.

Reaching 174 cm in height and weighting 1500 kilos, the statue is the work of Belgian sculptor Guy Ducheyne.

The statue was funded by a local association of shop owners.