Jackie Chan is already a global superstar, but prior to his success in Hollywood he faced many hardships before becoming Asia’s leading man at the box office.
In his autobiography he talks about being left at the China Drama Academy by his parents at the age of 6 and being rigorously trained in music, dance, and traditional martial arts. In his writing he credits his master for his extremely strict training and seems to have a love-hate relationship with him. Although tough, Jackie remembered, his master did train at least 3 classmates who all become martial arts movie stars. Fellow Opera students Biao Yuen and Sammo Hung Kam-Bo would also become superstars in their own right.
Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee:
Following the death of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, the search for a replacement was well under way. However, with a string of bad movies, Jackie and his mentors realized that his success would differ from Bruce Lee. Whereas Bruce Lee was the dominant alpha male character, Jackie Chan was the friendly, comedic hero that runs into tough situations. He is the underdog that everyone wants to cheer for. His success came in combining martial arts and comedy in film.
His directorial debut Shi di chu ma (1980) was a milestone in martial arts films, being one of the first to effectively combine comedy with action. Jackie performs all his own stunts and knows everyone at the local hospital. In the late 1990s and early 2000 Jackie starred in a string of major Hollywood films. Some would say that he is the catalyst for Jet Li and other Asian male actors to star in a major role in Hollywood. In his own way, he changed Hollywood’s long standing image of the Asian man and Renaissance continues until this day.
These days, Jackie Chan continues to push the boundaries in movies like The Spy Next Door and The Karate Kid.
Jackie and Claire Forlani in The Medallion:
With Jennifer Love Hewitt in The Tuxedo:
With Roselyn Sanchez in Rush Hour 2: