Jackie Chan wants to stop punching people

Jackie Chan with characters from The Lego Ninjago Movie, in which he was the voice of martial-arts teacher Master Wu, at Legoland in Carlsbad, California, last month.
Jackie Chan with characters from The Lego Ninjago Movie, in which he was the voice of martial-arts teacher Master Wu, at Legoland in Carlsbad, California, last month.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HONG KONG • Jackie Chan longs for the moment in his acting career when he does not have to throw a single punch.

But the star of thriller The Foreigner and the voice behind martial-arts teacher Master Wu in The Lego Ninjago Movie knows that day is not likely to come any time soon.

"It's been difficult. Ten years ago, all the scripts from Hollywood were police from China, CIA from Hong Kong," the South China Morning Post quoted him as saying.

"It was tiring. But now, slowly, it's getting better: The Karate Kid (2010), The Foreigner. That makes me happy. It's not just Rush Hour (1998) any more. I can do so many things.

"I want to show the audience, like Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, I can do anything. Before, it was just action star, gongfu star."

But even as he pines to stretch his acting wings, he admits that action movies will always provide a big kick for him.

He is modest about his track record.

"I think what I'm doing, anybody can do it," he said. "It's just the right timing and how hard you work in training. I'm so lucky because my father sent me to the (China Drama Academy).

"These days, a lot of young children get up and the first thing they look at is the smartphone.

"Go (to) the bathroom - smartphone. Walk - smartphone.

"They don't want to train."

That dedication to perfection and fitness has helped him bounce back from the many injuries sustained in acting.

"My father said, 'Son, everybody can be young, but not everybody can get old. When you get old, you're lucky - especially you. All those years, you still survived. Not easy.'"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2017, with the headline 'Jackie Chan wants to stop punching people'. Print Edition | Subscribe