Jackie Chan in Asia Society New York

Article by William Koestiono
Photo credit Santiago A. Gomez Flor

Martial arts fans in New York City were ecstatic to have world famous, multi-talented, Hong Kong celebrity, Jackie Chan on June 11, 2013. The famous Chinese stuntman visited NYC and attended a live evening conversation in front of the audience. Asia Society was very proud to host Jackie Chan discussion about his journey on becoming the greatest China’s top star. Yesterday on June 10, 2013, the New York Asian Film Festival presented Jackie Chan a Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award. Already involved in over 100 films thus far, he plans to continue his career in the film industry. All his productions were highly successful. His latest movie, CZ12 (Chinese Zodiac 2012) has grossed $150 million in Asia. With his lively personality and is captivating life-stories, Chan was both inspirational and entertaining for the fans that gathered that day. Not to mention, his special stunt performance was spectacular.

Most popularly known for his stunt skills above his other talents, Jackie Chan talks in depth about the action films he’s a part of. Alike traditional film actors who depend on special effects to perform a particular stunt, Jackie Chan believes in executing them. In all his films, all his stunts are unedited and performed spontaneously on the spot. Though his efforts make the film more realistic, his bold and brave actions constantly put his life in danger. Chan have many broken bones and surgeries due to his stunt performance on television. Some injuries almost cost him his life. He explained that because he was constantly injured, every movie typically had behind the scenes of takes where he fails to perform a stunt. One example he gives to the audience is in Armor of God (1987) where he had to jump to a tree and grab a branch. In one take, he missed the branch and falls on the ground, head first. Another example is in Police Story where he had to jump several floors down using power cables with light bulbs still on. At the end of this scene, he suffered several bruises and damaged both his palms. Through his injuries he endured, it demonstrates his dedication and effort in every film. This trait is admired and respected by the crowd and people all over the world.

After Jackie told the audience about his experience on performing dangerous stunts, he talked about his film career in America. Shocked by the difference in culture, Jackie Chan realized how cautious the American film industry is and how fortunate health insurance coverage is. Everything Chan has suffered in the past was considered unnecessary because it’s heavily based on special effects. Using Rush Hour as the prominent example, he explained the unnecessary need for specialized skills and the excessive amount of safety equipment used for a stunt. The American producers and directors were so frightened and cautious for Jackie Chan’s safety when he quickly climbed the wall without any equipment in the Chinese Embassy scene featured in Rush Hour (1998).

Jackie Chan proceeded on explaining one of his future projects. A couple years ago, he met with an American movie producer, Steven Spielberg, about his incredible special effect skills. Chan hopes to incorporate special effects with his stunts to create a fresh, new outtake to his movies. He is working hand in hand with his stunt team to create new moves for future productions alongside his addition of video editing.

He took time to reflect on the highlights of his life, explaining his goal to enter the American film industry and success in that. Chan explains the benefits being in both industries, relating back to the advantages of American health coverage. Jackie Chan concludes this seminar with excitement for future projects. Even with everything he has accomplished, he still continues entertaining viewers throughout all type of mediums, continues to fundraise for his charity, and continues to better the world through his movies and his actions.

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