The Karate Kid

The Karate Kid

Jackie Chan and the thrill of the stunt

Author: George Wayne

Article source:   Vanity Fair(Dec 96)

  Hong Kong action man Jackie Chan is the Far East's Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Van Damme rolled into one--and, considering the size of the Asian audience, he may have more fans than all three combined. GEORGE WAYNE talks with the actor-writer-director-producer-stuntman, who aims to kick his way into Hollywood's high ranks.

George Wayne: Your new movie, First Strike, is out next month, and you just wrapped another film in Australia. How are your flim roles changing?
Jackie Chan: Jackie Chan is always police, police, police. But now, in my last film, I'm a cooker, a chef. A chef, of course, who can fight.
G.W. Are you in pain now? Are you sore from all that stunt work?
J.C. I hurt my neck during the film. I fell from the third floor to the second floor and missed the mat. I passed away for about three seconds I always cover my injuries--they scare my mom. When she knows, she cries.
G.W. Have you ever felt close to death after a stunt gone wrong?
J.C. In Yugoslavia. I fell from a tree from about 40 feet. For me, that was supposed to be a piece of cake, but my scalp opened; I was bleeding from my ears and nose. Then the Yugoslavs wouldn't let me leave the country! Finally, seven days after surgery, I was allowed to travel to the American Hospital in Paris. From Paris, I drove back to Yugoslavia and went back to filming with my half-face. Half of my head was bald, but I shot dialogue scenes with the half-face.
G.W. Hollywood has stolen so much from Jackie Chan movies. From Stallone to Tarantino, they've stolen ideas.
J.C. I feel happy about that because when I was younger I stole from Hollywood films. I stole from Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Gene Kelly.
G.W. Jackie Chan is notoriously secretive about his personal life. Is he still married to Lum Fung-gew?
J.C. We're not married, but kind of married. She is my very good girlfriend.
G.W. She is the number-one girlfriend But you have 50 million others J.C. [Laughs] No, no...
G.W. Come on!
J.C. One or two.
G.W. Sure Jackie, one or two on every continent. When you were a child in the notoriously harsh China Drama Academy were you abused?
J.C. Oh no, no. I have good memories. But I would never go back. I have a son, and I wouldn't send him to that kind of school. If somebody did something wrong, the teacher would hit everybody. Not only him.
G.W. Does your son want to he in the movies?
J.C. He wants to, but I don't like it. Because when I was very young, I had no education. I cannot speak very good English. Even Chinese I can't read or write.
G.W. You can't read?!
J.C. I'm not that good.
G.W. Are you illiterate? J.C. I can read, but I cannot write. I'm in training right now.
G.W. What American star do you want most to do a movie with?
J.C. I really want to make a movie with Stallone. And Steven Spielberg, and Jodie Foster.
G.W. Jodie Foster? Why?
J.C. She is a great talent. She knows how to direct. She is a very good actress. And she was a child star. Some other actresses are only pretty. But she really knows how to make movies.
G.W. Of the movies you've watched in your life, which are your favorite?
J.C. Sound of the Music.
G.W. Oh my God! No way!! That's my all-time favorite movie! Probably because it's one of the first films I ever saw.
J.C.I've watched it seven times.
G.W. Every time I watch it, the music makes me cry.
J.C. No other movie have I ever watched seven times. Not even The Godfather.
G.W. That's great, Jackie, the hills are alive with the sound of music. Thank you.