For many of us who grew up watching Jackie Chan classics like Drunken Master or Police Story on telly, the actor’s own brand of slapstick comedy and acrobatic martial arts style is a familiar sight. But what might work for Asian audiences might not necessarily be the case for Western viewers who took some time to warm up to the action superstar’s brand of fighting. Joining the forum of this year’s prestigious Hundred Flowers Awards, Jackie sat down for a chat with the press where he proceeded to spill the tea about his experience of “making it” in Hollywood.
Jackie recalls how in the beginning, instead of focusing on the dynamism of his movements, people tended to focus more on his English pronunciation and accent. Later when he decided that he just wanted to do his own “thing” instead of conforming to how Hollywood does action, it was then that Hollywood came a-knocking. “I still shoot my own stuff. I never thought about breaking into the American market again. I just filmed what I wanted to, and I stuck to filming my own action methods. As a result, Rumble in the Bronx 红番区 caught the attention of Hollywood.”
The superstar also recalled how he used to fly in and out constantly to audition and interview with casting directors. With Hollywood’s attention finally on him, Jackie said it’s the other way around now. Instead of having to fly back and forth between Asia and the US, Jackie says folks fly into Beijing to meet with him.
Doing Your Own Thing
For aspiring filmmakers and young actors, Jackie Chan’s biggest advise is to stick to your own thing. “Don’t do things for the sake of making it in Hollywood. It’s useless for you to go there, you’ll just be a small fry in a sea of aspiring actors and filmmakers. When you are successful in your own country, they’ll come to find you. They need you, not the other way around where you need them. Believe in yourself…” he counseled.
He also recounted the surreal moment when Rocky superstar Sylvester Stallone invited him to a premiere and later showed him his Police Story collection. “He said when we got stuck in a plot, we would watch your videos. I said, ‘for real’? He then proceeded to open the door and everything in there was all my videos. That’s when I realised, sticking to my own path and not conforming was the right way to go.”