This past week in Los Angeles, Beyond Fest has been in full effect. If you are not familiar with the festival, it is twelve days of films. New and old, and presented for cinephiles on the big screen. Some films this year presented were tribute to Tobe Hooper, George Romero, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan. Not only were they presenting his favorite films but he was there in-person for a Q&A session.
Taking some questions, he revealed some interesting details about his career direction as of late. In one instance, he answered a question about his recent selection of more acting-based films. He mentioned The Foreigner and proceeded to tell the fans that the life of an action star is brief. Being 67, he knew that he would have to challenge himself in a different direction. Try new things. Which is why he had been absent for a while.
He talked about a possible Shanghai sequel. Jackie proceeded to tell the audience that he would do it if the script was right. He said that one script delivered to him had both Jackie and Owen Wilson’s character heading back to China. The plot evolved around Owen’s father selling weapons to the Chinese and Jackie’s son a member of the Royal Guard. He shook his head in disbelief and asked what were they doing? Then turned it down.
He began to see a responsibility that, as filmmakers, they have to their audience. Jackie realized the importance of that after the release of his hugely popular Legend of Drunken Master. Arguably considered one of his classic films. He cited the message that he could only be good if he was drunk was giving his fans, and children, the wrong message. So when he chose to make the sequel, he focused on not drinking.
He touched on making Rush Hour 4 and director Brett Ratner was on hand to speak of Jackie and the possible film. Ratner proceeded to explain that he had wanted to work with Jackie for a long time. Bringing Chris Tucker into the mix, he explained that the films worked because of their natural chemistry. The actors did have trouble understanding each other but that was part of the charm. Ratner proceeded to explain that working with someone of Jackie’s caliber was a huge film school for him.
Ratner went on to explain Jackie’s frustration about the way American’s make movies. The long hours waiting for a set-up. Ratner told a story about a night shoot that was taking hours to set up. They were pulling a crane up to the top of a building for a simple over the edge of the building POV shot. Ratner claims that Jackie kept bugging him about how long it was taking. “We could’ve done 25 scenes in that time!” Jackie told Brett he was coming up there.
Ratner proceeded to explain that Jackie had shown up with members of his stunt team. He demanded the camera from Ratner, who reluctantly gave in. His stunt team tied a rope around Jackie’s waist, they proceeded to lean him over the edge of the building to get the shot. Afterwards, Jackie tossed the camera back to Ratner and said, “was that so hard.” That story had the audience in stitches.
Many people don’t understand the brilliance of his martial arts. There were no wire works and he constantly hurt himself onscreen for his art. Before the Q&A, they showed Jackie’s favorite film, Miracles. A beautiful gangster story that followed a down-on-his-luck Korean man, who ends up being the mob boss. While it doesn’t focus too much on his fighting skills, it does bring a huge sense of emotionalism and comedy that made it such an enjoyable movie.
Following the Q&A, they proceeded to show Supercop: Police Story 3 and the original Police Story. Being able to see Jackie Chan in person was an amazing moment and getting a chance shake his hand is a simple experience that I will never forget. Being a fan of his late in his career, he came to my attention when Rumble in the Bronx was released in the U.S. After that, I started to watch all of his films and was a fan. To Jackie Chan, thank you for your wonderful career and I am so glad that I got to meet you. From a fan, thank you.