News / Arts & Entertainment

As Body Ages, Jackie Chan Longs for Hollywood's Full Embrace

Actor Jackie Chan arrives at "An Academy Salute to Jackie Chan" at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California June 3, 2013.
Actor Jackie Chan arrives at "An Academy Salute to Jackie Chan" at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California June 3, 2013.
Reuters
— Jackie Chan wasn't in the mood for proclamations.
 
The Hong Kong martial arts film star, who declared last year at France's Cannes film festival that he was retiring from action films, now says that after more than a decade of contemplating quitting, he is going to let his body decide.
 
“When I was 40-something the media would ask me and then I said another five years, and then five years and five years until now,” the Kung Fu actor said in an interview promoting his 2012 Chinese action film Chinese Zodiac, which will be released in U.S. cinemas on Friday.
 
“Six more months and I'm going to be 60,” Chan said. “And I (will) see how far I can go until my body tells me, 'Stop.”'
 
Chan, famous for performing all of his high-flying and physically punishing stunts, has appeared in more than 100 films and now writes, produces and directs his own films in Asia.
 
“I get hurt,” the actor said after 50 years of flips, kicks and punches. “It gets really tiring, not like it used to be.”
 
The only real outward sign of aging in Chan are some crow's feet around the eyes. He is obviously in great shape still, but won't reveal his secrets for staying that way.
 
But as Chan starts to enter his twilight years he laments how Hollywood typecasting may force him to begin using a stunt double for his acrobatic scenes as he believes Hollywood studios would never cast him in dramatic roles.
 
“I hope the audience, after they say, 'Jackie, that's a double!,' they forgive me,” Chan said in his trademark broad-grinned and animated style.
 
“Then I can continue (my career) because poor me, nobody in Hollywood hires me to make a Kramer vs. Kramer (or) like Sound of Music - actually I'm a pretty good singer - and nobody hires me to do this kind of film,” Chan said, referring to the 1979 family drama and 1965 musical, both Oscar winners.
 
“All we think about Jackie Chan: Chris Tucker, Rush Hour one, two, and three ... always action-comedy, action-comedy,” he said about the Rush Hour buddy-cop film series with comedian Chris Tucker that helped Chan cement his place in Hollywood 15 years ago.
 
Turned down 'Interpreter'
 
Chan has already added “dramatic actor” to his resume with the 2011 Chinese historical drama 1911 about the revolution that overthrew China's final imperial dynasty.
 
“I really hope someday in Hollywood, some producer or director will hire me only to do drama,” Chan said. “I (would) really appreciate it.”
 
But that is never going to happen, Chan believes.
 
“Why?” he asks rhetorically with a sigh. “Because the audience is just not used to seeing Jackie Chan doing drama.”
 
Chan's ideal roles would be in films such as 1988 Oscar-winner Rain Man which starred Dustin Hoffman as a savant and Tom Cruise as his yuppie brother together on a road trip, or 1982's Tootsie, also starring Hoffman as an actor who dresses as a woman to land acting roles.
 
“It's just ... my English is not that good,” Chan explains.
 
That also held him back from pursuing a role in The Interpreter, a 2005 thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn. Chan said his manager thought the role would be good but told him the amount of dialog was too tough.
 
Chan said that although the part would have been difficult, he does regret turning it down because he lost an opportunity to work with Kidman and a chance to burnish his legacy.
 
“I see so many action stars all those years come and go, and come and go,” Chan said. “Action stars cannot live too long, unlike drama, true actors, like Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, they live forever.”

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Acclaimed jazz saxophonist Tia Fuller has made a name for herself appearing with such high-profile artists as Beyonce, Esperanza Spalding, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Tia and her quartet performed music from her CD “Angelic Warrior” on our latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."