For most action stars, 60 is a difficult age to continue their career. Yet, the 63-year-old Jackie Chan just finished his last action thriller The Foreigner, together with 74-year-old director Martin Campbell and 64-year-old actor Pierce Brosnan.
Arguably the most famous Chinese star in the world, Chan rose to fame with his unique action style.
“Though they were not that gaudy or exciting like scenes of explosions, audiences still liked my performances,” Chan said in an interview with People’s Daily, adding that people’s preference for him ended up making him “a superhero from China.”
Chan explained that while some kung fu stars practice specific martial arts school, his style is more mixed, incorporating elements from both northern and southern schools, as well as styles from other countries and regions.
“I have studied Bak Mei, Wing Chun, as well as [Korean] Hapkido,” Chan said. “It was a time when there were no iPads, computers, or even karaoke. I had no other way to entertain myself except to train.”
Chan sees his mixture of various martial arts as a good thing.
“There are too many schools in China, so I think we should consider how to create a mixed style called Chinese kung fu,” Chan said, adding that this style might be easier for the world to accept.
Chan attributes audience’s interest in kung fu to Bruce Lee, as well as the hard work of his followers. He noted that though kung fu had been popular in a few places in the US, this popularity never lasted that long until Lee came on the scene.
“All of a sudden, a great number of people became interested in kung fu,” Chan noted.
Although he is getting up there in years, Chan said he still works out, although his routine mainly consists of light exercise with slow movements. He explained that since he has a solid foundation already, he doesn’t worry too much so long as he can keep his body flexible.
When asked if he considered focusing on films outside the action genre Chan said the possibility occurred to him.
“Of course I like art films too, but there seem to be few roles that are the right fit for me,” Chan said. “And I like romance films, too, which has those scenes of people strolling on the beach, singing love songs and kissing, but no one has asked me to do that.”
Yet Chan seems happy about his close connection to action films. The star noted that he personally believes that these types of films are the only ones that can truly be accepted globally “by people from different ethnic groups and nations and who speak different languages.”
Promotional material for The Foreigner