Action star Jackie Chan dived into freezing waters just days after operation

Disha Patani and Jackie Chan in Singapore to promote the movie Kung Fu Yoga.
Disha Patani and Jackie Chan in Singapore to promote the movie Kung Fu Yoga.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan is no stranger to putting his life on the line for his movies - but for his latest film, Kung Fu Yoga, he may have set a new record even by his gung-ho standards.

Playing an archaeology professor searching for the lost treasure of the ancient Magadha Kingdom, the 62-year-old plunged into icy waters in Iceland.

Freezing waters - all in a day's work for this seasoned Mr No-StuntDouble, right?

But this was only a few days after he had undergone a five-hour operation in London. Before he was admitted, he had been feeling under the weather for some time, presumably because of an inflammation of the lymph nodes.

One day, the pain turned overwhelming and he was rushed to hospital.

I couldn't say anything since I'm the big brother.

ACTION STAR JACKIE CHAN


He's super strong, so nobody really thought that he also needed help.

INDIAN TELEVISION ACTRESS DISHA PATANI, who plays a descendant of Magadha Kingdom royalty in Kung Fu Yoga

It turned out that his skin and muscle had rotted and his intestines were out of alignment.

"I arrived at the hospital at 7pm and could have gone just like that," he said.

He did not give more details about his condition, though at a press conference atResorts World Sentosa yesterday, he looked his usual irrepressible self in a blue long-sleeved shirt and jeans. He was in town to promote Kung Fu Yoga, which opens here on Friday.

He remained matter-of-fact about his physical feats.

On his stunts in the freezing waters of Iceland, he said: "After travelling all the way there, to use a stand-in, no way, I decided to do it myself."

At the same time, he had to take care of Indian television actress Disha Patani, 23, who plays a descendant of Magadha Kingdom royalty.

She was also present at the press conference, along with writerdirector-producer Stanley Tong, fellow Indian actress Amyra Dastur and Chinese yoga instructor and actress Mu Qimiya.

Not only was she new to the ice and snow, but Patani also had to dive into the freezing waters with 27kg of weights to help her sink.

When they were shooting the scene, everyone was always rushing to her aid first.

"But I couldn't say anything since I'm the big brother," Chan said.

"Because he's Jackie Chan," she says. "He's super strong, so nobody really thought that he also needed help."

Referring to Police Story 4: First Strike (1996), in which Chan reprised his role as police officer Chan Ka Kui, Tong quipped: "I worked with da ge (big brother) for 350 hours in shark-infested waters, so I knew he could hold out a little longer."

Chan said he did not want to halt production because he did not want to keep the large crew on set waiting.

He said: "Every year, I rack my brains to think of how to give back to my fans. I can't shake hands and sign autographs for everyone, so movies are the best present I can give them."

•Kung Fu Yoga opens in Singapore on Friday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2017, with the headline 'Diving into freezing waters post-op'. Print Edition | Subscribe