Jackie Chan: ‘The days when no one listened to Chinese people have gone’

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On Nov. 12, Jackie Chan received an honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, becoming the first Chinese actor to win the award. The 62-year-old movie star shared his story in an interview with People’s Daily.

When he was 22, Jackie Chan went to Hollywood with the hope of becoming an international star. However, he ended up finding it impossible to succeed there using the same style he had developed in Hong Kong.

“In America, I could not even offer a little advice. They would not listen to you. I fought with dedication, but they didn’t like it… I designed many movements – for example, jumping over a table. But they didn’t like it. They thought I was like a monkey,“ Chan recalled of his early days in Hollywood. With his confidence low, he returned to Asia to pursue his dream.

“When I began shooting movies in America, Americans didn’t care about my ideas, and no one listened to my opinion. When I rejected some of their requirements, because I knew no one in Hong Kong would watch films shot in accordance with them, they replied, ‘Hong Kong is not our market, just forget Hong Kong.’ After Hong Kong returned to China, they said ‘China is not our market, forget China.’ At that time I thought, you cannot look down on the Chinese even if China is not your targeted market,” he recalled.

“Today, they ask me what Chinese people like to see. They need to consider every aspect of China because China has gotten strong, and China’s film [industry] has gotten strong. The Chinese market has become a big contributor to the global box office. I am really proud of this. The days when no one listened to Chinese people have gone.”

In Chan’s eyes, there are major differences between the interests of Chinese and American audiences when it comes to film.

“They [Americans] like tough guys like Clint Eastwood, who can knock someone out with just one hit. They think it’s manly. But in my films, after hitting someone I will draw back my fist and take a deep breath because of the pain. The audience does not accept this because they don’t think you are a hero. Their comedies are hilarious; there is no such thing as action comedy. It’s like two different worlds,” he explained.

With a deep understanding of movies in both the U.S. and China, Chan shared his thoughts on the globalization of Chinese film.

“We need some internationally recognized films, songs, stars… It takes time for good work and stars to grow. There is no shortcut. We need to create works that will withstand the test of time, which is what I am doing. A hundred years later, I hope people will say China has Bruce Lee, as well as Jackie Chan. That is enough,” he said. (People’s Daily)

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