With over four decades in the industry, Jackie Chan’s name has become synonymous with martial arts for his impact on martial-action movies. A living legend, Jackie is known for his acrobatic fighting style which involves the use of improvised weapons. He is known for such works as Rush Hour, Rumble in the Bronx, A Police Story, The Spy Next Door, Armour of God, Kung Fu Panda, Drunken Master, and Karate Kid.
Despite how well known he is, there are facst about Jackie Chan and his movies that will still leave you amazed. Read on to discover 7 things you didn’t know.
7 Things You Didn’t Know About Jackie Chan and His Movies
1. Jackie Chan is not His Birth Name
The legendary martial artist was born in Hong Kong on April 7, 1954, to Chinese refugees, Charles and Lee-Lee Chan. They named him Chan Kong-sang and nicknamed him Pao-Pao meaning “Cannonball” because of how lively and full energy he was as a child.
His parents worked at The Embassy of France in Hong Kong but migrated to Australia in 1960. Seven-year-old Chan was left at the Chinese Opera Research Institute where he spent the next decade learning martial arts and acrobatics along with drama and singing.
He joined his parents in Canberra, Australia in 1976 where he wound up working as a construction worker. A fellow worker named him “Little Jack” which was shortened to “Jackie.” Since then, the name Jackie Chan, which is now synonymous with martial arts has stuck with him.
2. Chan Went Full Frontal for an Adult Movie
Jackie started acting at a very young age in 1962 in Hong Kong and has gradually made his way to Hollywood. He also worked as a stuntman in Bruce Lee films including Fist of Fury and Enter the Dragon under the stage name Chan Yuen Lung. He has left no stone unturned in his quest to conquer the biggest entertainment industry in the world and he now he successfully enjoys tremendous success with more than 150 films under his belt.
After struggling for a breakthrough in his early career, in 1975, Chan starred in a comedic adult film All in the Family, which was his first nude sex scene. In an interview in 2006, he stated his need to make a living by all means as the reason for shooting the scene though he thinks it’s not a big deal. The film remains the only one he has made to date without a scene of action or martial arts.
Besides the scene and one other sex scene in Shinjuku Incident, virtually all of his films treat violence with a comedic bent while a few others have any excessive gore or content that would make them unsuitable for general audiences.
3. He had a Very Close Call with Death in One of His Movies
Going by the risky nature of Chan’s stunts, it’s sightly amazing he is still with us. His prolific stunt career has raised concerns about his safety. He has had his more than fair share of broken bones and has had his body battered enough to last him three lifetimes.
He came close to death while shooting the 1986 film, Armour of God after a stunt attempt went awry. During a routine stunt, he leapt onto a tree from a ledge, unfortunately, the branch he grabbed snapped, sending him plummeting and hitting his head on a rock. He fractured his skull which necessitated a surgically-inserted metal plate and a permanent, quarter-sized indentation in his skull.
Being the funny man he is, Chan will sometimes invite people, such as co-stars or talk show hosts, to stick their fingers in the hole in his head. Notwithstanding, the movie went on to become a success, spawning a franchise; Armour of God II: Operation Condor (1991) and CZ12 (2012).
4. He Holds a Guinness World Record for “Most Stunts by a Living Actor”
Chan has performed most of his own stunts throughout his film career and holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Stunts by a Living Actor.” He earned the berth for his stunts in his 2012 film, the third entry in the Armour of God Franchise, CZ12 also known as Chinese Zodiac. Other than the stunt record, he also made Guinness World Records for “Most Credits in One Movie”.
Jackie is known to often direct, produce or star in his Hong Kong films but we have seen him take on additional responsibilities. In CZ12, he had 15 credits including producer, lead actor, writer, director, executive producer, cinematographer, art director, unit production manager, stunt coordinator, prop man, gaffer, stuntman, composer, theme song vocalist, and catering coordinator. This no easy feat earned him the Record for most credits (15) in a single film.
The film grossed more than US$145 million at the Chinese box office and also won Best Action Choreography at the 32nd Hong Kong Film Awards.
5. Chan is Not a Fan of the Rush Hour Series Despite its Huge Success
As strange as it may sound, Jackie Chan has stated that he is not a fan of the Rush Hour series. Although the movie gave him his Hollywood breakthrough and was his first huge blockbuster, he thought the series was terrible. Funnily, his reasons were that he neither appreciates the action scenes in the movie nor understands American humour.
Co-starring Chris Tucker, the first entry in 1998 grossed US$130 million in the U.S. alone. Despite his take on the movie, it made him a Hollywood star and his autobiography, I Am Jackie Chan in collaboration Jeff Yang was written after the film.
6. He is a Polyglot
Despite his rocky start in academics at a young age, Jackie found a way to get things right and is now a known figure in education. His academic portfolio includes an honorary Doctor of Social Science degree from the Hong Kong Baptist University in 1996, an honorary professorship by the Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong in 2008 and another honorary doctorate from the University of Cambodia in 2009. He also teaches Tourism Management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as a faculty member of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management.
Besides his academic achievements, he has also mastered many languages. He can speak 9 languages fluently including Cantonese, Mandarin, English, German, Korean, Japanese, Thai and knows the American sign-language as well.
7. Chan is an Impressive Singer
It’s worthy of note that a man of such physical vigour is given to music. Jackie Chan has released at least 20 albums since 1984 with vocals in Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Taiwanese and English. He often sings the theme songs of his films. Chan has also sung publicly including at the closing ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.