To say Jackie Chan (成龍) is one of the hardest working artists in the entertainment industry is an understatement. Aside from producing and starring in his own films, making promotional appearances, and running his charity organization, the 58-year-old known as the “Big Brother” of the inner circle shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, his recent film, CZ12<十二生肖>, has surpassed 500 million RMB in mainland Chinese theaters. Jackie took some time out of his busy schedule for an interview to share some insights on filming CZ12 as well as the recent controversies he faced.
CZ12 is touted as an action-packed mystical comedy. Perhaps it is Jackie’s way of redeeming all his past wrong-doings by producing a feel-good film that sends a positive message? After all, it was only 13 years ago when he shamefully admitted, “I made a mistake that men all over the world will commit,” when probed about his affair and illegitimate child with Elaine Wu (吳綺莉). Seeing that his wife, Joan Lin (林鳳嬌), stood by him through that rough period, Jackie decided to dedicate half of his estates to Joan and their son, Jaycee Chan (房祖名), while the remainder would go to charity. Although the reports of his will was met with much criticism, there has been little to no conflict with Elaine as she chooses not to mention Jackie by name nor interact with him in any way.
Jackie shared, “As I get older, I approach my work with responsibility. Which means as a public figure, a director, an actor and a producer, I need to take responsibility for my actions. When I’m finished working on a film, I ask myself, ‘Would I let my own son see this’” If my answer is yes, then I can share it with the world. For example, in my past film, Drunken Master <醉拳>, I would do silly scenes like slapping a butt and picking my nose for comedic effects, but do these methods really make people laugh? No, because there are many ways to achieve that. Many years later when I re-watched the film, I realize I was wrong, I should never encourage people to fight while drunk.
“When I had an opportunity direct Drunken Master 2, I vowed not to drink and fight again. I want to slowly use my films to reinforce some positive messages to the younger generation. I don’t want kids to think that one person fighting a group of ten is heroic or courageous. That’s why I choose to use my films to speak for me.”
In CZ12, there was an extremely dangerous airplane sequence where Jackie jumps off the plane without a parachute. When asked why he chose to perform such a death-defying stunt, Jackie said, “The scene was a part of the movie ever since it was conceptualized about 7 years ago. I did wear a safety vest which I invented myself and took a long time to design. But that’s the beauty of movies – whatever you imagine can become a reality.”
Jackie also shared that there was another more daring scene which he hopes to save for a sequel to CZ12, estimated to cost about 400 to 500 million RMB to produce. “In part one, I knocked out my opponent. When I realized that she was a girl, I flew to save her and was thanked by her people. In the end, I became friends with the villains who tried to steal the 12 zodiac statues. If there is a chance to film a sequel, I want to bring those villains back, this time as my friends, who will help me in return.”
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