Jackie Chan Talks About Rush Hour 3 and Stunt Work
Jackie Chan returns to the Rush Hour franchise after a six year break, ready for action and more than ready to reunite with his onscreen partner, Chris Tucker. The delay between films wasn’t Chan’s fault (Tucker was dragging his feet) and Chan hasn’t ruled out a Rush Hour 4. “Rush Hour 4, I will wait for them to call me. I will never call them,” joked Chan.
The Stunts of Rush Hour 3: Chan can’t point to any one stunt as the most difficult to accomplish in Rush Hour 3. “Actually, you can say every stunt or you can say none because I choreograph all the stunts myself,” explained Chan. “I know how far I can go, how high I can jump. Mostly, we are not doing special effects, [sound effects], those kinds of things. I just do the basic, basic things with the things around me - table, chair, same thing actually. Nothing really special. I think the audience right now just sees, ‘Wow, Jackie still can do something, eh?’ Not like the old days, ‘Wow, look at the amazing stunts. Amazing movements. So quick.’ Now they say, ‘Wow, Jackie still can move.’ Different thought.”
No matter how you view Chan’s stunt work, the actor says it’s important to keep in mind that his movies aren’t about people with super powers. “We are not like Superman, Spider-Man... The audience coming to see Rush Hour, they see Jackie, Chris, how they do the action. They see Jackie doing a stunt. They see Chris Tucker saying all the funny things. That is Rush Hour and I say, ‘Oh yeah, lucky, lucky.’ Rush Hour 2, $20 million? ‘Yes, wow, let\'s do it.’ Rush Hour 2 for the money. Rush Hour 3 is not for the money. It\'s for the audience.
When I travel, everybody [asks], ‘When is Rush Hour 3? When is Rush Hour 3?’ Now I slowly understand American culture. ‘Oh, that\'s the way.’ Not like Hong Kong. Hong Kong is stunt, action, comedy, script, quality. America is quality, script, relationship, comedy, then action. So it\'s totally different. Then, because the audience keeps, wherever I go, ‘When, when, when?’ I said, ‘Let\'s do it.’\"
Coming Up with Unique Set Pieces: It\'s not easy for Chan to do a stunt involving a set piece he’s never done before. “Very hard,” admitted Chan. “Really, really hard to think. In the old days, I travel a lot to watch so many things. When I see the balcony, I write it down, ‘Hmm, balcony.’ I see a double decker bus. ‘Double decker bus, oh.’ ‘TV, okay, recorder, hot water.’ I write it down. Then suddenly I have an office fight or a hotel fight, the hot water, the table, wow. But now nothing. I\'ve fought everything already. An airplane? I did it before. None, none. So this movie is good with the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower helps me to do the stunts. It\'s not [that] I created the stunt. You take the Eiffel Tower away, all the movement, kicking, punching, the same. Nothing different from 20 years ago. [It’s] the same. I just put in the Eiffel Tower, then combined with the story, comedy, then, ‘Wow, new movement.’ Nothing new. Old. Honestly, if you do human things, what can you do? Just that much.”
Those “I Hate Rush Hour” Comments: Chan’s said he hates Rush Hour so does he still feel that way after doing Rush Hour 3? “Not hate,” explained Chan. “In the beginning, like Rush Hour 1, I hate to do…how should I say? Not hate, I\'d lost confidence in the American market. I don\'t know what American audiences like. My manager begged me to do it until I proved the audience [doesn’t] like these kinds of movies or they don\'t like you. Then I make Rush Hour 1. I wasn\'t lying. I hate the American system. I cannot move the table, I cannot move the dolly. I\'m the stunt coordinator. I cannot put my camera angle because that\'s the DP. The DP controls it. The DP is not the action director! How can he know my angle? I want more days. No, cut. Dialogue, five days. Action, one day. That doesn\'t make sense. I hate the movie.
By the time we finish, suddenly the director says, ‘Let\'s act a scene. You say, ‘Hey, ho, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.’ I don\'t know the song. ‘Chris will teach you.’ I said, ‘Are you going to sing the song?’ ‘Yeah.’ Chris sings in his normal life. ‘What is it good for?’ I hate that, the whole thing, I hate it, even the movement [bobbing his head]. Then after editing I see the movie and I think, ‘That\'s it, my career is finished.’
I go back to Asia and I tell all my friends how I hate the American system and I hate Rush Hour. Boom! I get a phone call, big success. I said, ‘What? I don\'t understand.’ But when I\'m in the theater, when I sing, ‘What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.’ Wow, the audience, whenever I traveled around the world, the children, ‘What is it good for? Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?’ Everybody. Then I\'m like, ‘Wow, that\'s how good is Brett Ratner, the director and the writers too.’ Because for me, I don\'t know the dialogue. I don\'t know what\'s the fun. The action, compared to my own movies, my Hong Kong movies, it\'s nothing. When I\'m making an action film in Asia, three months for a five minute fight scene. Dialogue, one day. It\'s totally different.”
The Forbidden Kingdom with Jet Li: The dream team of action movies headline Forbidden Kingdom. “Forbidden Kingdom is kind of like the Chinese Lord of the Rings. Jet Li and me, New York, Ching Dynasty. I\'m the old monk and I\'m the immortal. All kinds of fighting, a lot of special effects.”
Chan dashed the rumors The Forbidden City is meant to be a trilogy. “One picture. One picture. I think the director is from Lion King [Rob Minkoff is directing the film]. The writer I cannot remember. The writer, I think he loves Chinese culture. He tried to write everything into the movie. There\'s a Ching Dynasty, there\'s a monkey, there\'s an immortal.”
And working with Jet Li? “Good,” responded Chan. “I\'ve known Jet Li for 15 years, 20 years. We\'re good friends. Just like with Chris Tucker, we didn\'t work, the first time on the set with Jet Li, just like, ‘Wow, finally we work together.’ The first time we fight, spar, wow, good feeling.”
Chan added, “Jet and me on the location, so many people come. We have to cover with more security guards. Everybody wants to see what happens. All the crew members, ‘Yeah, you two.’ Everybody’s waiting for something. A funny, funny situation. A funny feeling.”
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