Jackie Chan on why he rarely does American films: ‘They only cared about my English’


Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan stepped back from US showbiz in 2018 and has been working on Hong Kong films since. Photo: Handout

Hong Kong filmmaker-actor Jackie Chan recently appeared in a Chinese reality show, Memories Beyond Horizon, where he opened up about why he doesn’t do American films very often.

In the programme, the 68-year-old star expressed feeling insecure when he first started filming in the United States because he had yet to master the English language.

"I spent a month memorising one line. I even mumbled that line in my sleep. I grew up in Hong Kong speaking Cantonese, and my English was terrible.

"When I went to the US to film, there were many words I couldn't pronounce correctly and that made things hard," he said.

Chan proceeded to share an example where all he had to say was, "Get rid of the gun".

However, he was unable to get the intonation right and had to keep repeating the line until the director deemed it sounded "natural".

After several attempts, he finally met the director's expectations and delivered his line flawlessly. Despite being praised, Chan said he didn't feel accomplished.

"No one acknowledged how well I fought. They only cared that my English pronunciation was good.

"After filming that scene, I returned to my car to practise with my English teacher. As I was practising, I realised that I couldn't continue like this any longer, so I gave up on the US market," the Hong Kong star explained.

Chan first broke into the Hollywood scene after nabbing the titular role alongside Chris Tucker in the action-comedy film, Rush Hour. He would go on to star in Shanghai Noon, Around The World In 80 Days, Kung Fu Panda and more.

The actor took a step back from US showbiz in 2018 and has been working on Hong Kong movies since.

However, he confirmed earlier this month at the Red Sea International Film that he is in talks to develop a fourth Rush Hour movie.

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