At 62 years old, it seemed like Jackie Chan has seen and done it all.
He slid down a 21-storey glass building in the movie Who Am I? In New Police Story, he jumped from a bridge, grabbed onto a lamp post, landed on a moving double-decker bus. He broke his nose (for the second time) on the set of Project A. He fought gang members while wooing Shu Qi in Gorgeous. Not to forget, he had to put up with Chris Tucker’s motor mouth in the Rush Hour movie series.
However, the Hong Kong-born actor is not ready to call it a day yet.
“I’ve been part of the film industry for 53 years now. The set is my home. See, I’m here on set even though there’s no shooting today. The same goes for tomorrow! I love being on the set. I love living on the set. I love the rice boxes you get on set,” he proclaimed in a transcript provided by RAM Entertainment.
Chan can be seen performing more of his own stunts in the action comedy Skiptrace. Directed by Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2, The Long Kiss Goodnight), Chan stars as out-of-action detective Benny Chen. He forms an unlikely partnership with American gambler Connor Watts (Johnny Knoxville) to take down a notorious crime boss. At the same time, he has to rescue his goddaughter Samantha (Fan Bingbing) who is being marked by the triads.
Chan explained why his fighting style in this movie may seem a bit peculiar to fans: “I play a retired policeman who is currently jobless, leaving behind my sense of responsibility. That’s why my fighting style in this film cannot be too brutal, nor too dazzling.”
But that doesn’t mean Chan got too comfortable on set. In a scene shot during winter in Hong Kong, the affable actor remained in frigid water for 30 minutes for the director to get the perfect shot.
Chan also shared that he almost drowned while filming. At a press conference for the movie in China, he explained that he rolled off a raft and had to be rescued.
“I’m not a good swimmer, so I was really screaming for help. Life is so vulnerable. It is horrifying,” he said to China Daily.
Chan added that getting injured or having near-death experience is “part of the job”. His positive mindset was inspiring to Harlin who said Chan was “an absolute pleasure to work with”.
The director offered: “He’s so full of energy. Aside from doing all of his own stunts at his age, he’s always moving, always active, always doing something – whether it’s helping the crew carry equipment, or picking up trash from the set, or sweeping.”
It must have been a dream come true for Finnish-born Harlin as he has been wanting to work with Chan for a long time. They first met at the Hollywood premiere of Cliffhanger in 1993. It was Chan’s first Hollywood red carpet event and he attended as a guest of Sylvester Stallone who starred in the movie.
“We were supposed to work together years ago on Rush Hour but unfortunately I was already signed up to do another movie. Years later, we were going to work together on a film called Nose Bleed, but that movie didn’t end up getting made,” Harlin shared.
When Harlin was approached to direct Skiptrace, it didn’t take him long to say yes. “I hopped on a plane to Hong Kong to meet up with Jackie, and the rest is history.”