Jackie Chan Explains Why He Doesn’t Do American Film Very Often Anymore

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour
(Image credit: (New Line Cinema))

Once upon a time, one couldn’t go a year without hearing about another Jackie Chan movie. When the Chinese actor was introduced to Western audiences in the ‘80s, he butterfly-kicked his way into some huge franchises between the Rush Hour films, the Shanghai films alongside Owen Wilson, and the 2010 The Karate Kid remake. But these days, the 66-year-old keeps a low profile... in Hollywood anyway.

In recent years, Jackie Chan has gone back to make more Chinese films, such as a new release called Tales of the Shadowhunter. The actor has the rare opportunity to float between two film industries, but there are specific reasons why the martial artist and actor does not make as many American movies. In his words to Brazilian site Filmelier:

I want to make sure that every year the audience can see so many different sides of Jackie Chan. I would like audiences to consider me as an actor who can do action, not just as an action star. I don't like to repeat myself.

It sounds like Jackie Chan found himself boxed in when it came to Hollywood action roles. He likes to jump into different roles, and moving over to Chinese productions has given him this. It’s true, over here we do see Chan as a beloved action star more than anything else, and it may not be easy for the actor to find completely different movies to tackle.

His latest Chinese film has the actor playing Pu Songling, an actual Chinese writer from the Qing Dynasty. Jackie Chan gets to be part of a fantasy tale in the foreign film, that is, taking the biopic in a completely different place than one might expect. Chan said following The Karate Kid, it took him seven years to choose another Hollywood film with 2017’s action-thriller with Pierce Brosnan, The Foreigner.

Jackie Chan said he has received loads of scripts over the years, but the roles are always for a “Hong Kong policeman.” He says he never actually left America, he just could not “find the right script.” Right now, he feels like he has achieved the ambitions he set out to do as an actor in terms of working in the action space and looks forward to more dramatic roles in his future.

The actor may reportedly come back to his Hollywood roots by reuniting with Chris Tucker on Rush Hour 4 and apparently returning for Shanghai Dawn with Owen Wilson. With that being said, these projects have been announced, but have not made major progress forward in development. Of course, it would be fun to see Chan make a cameo on the highly-popular Netflix series Cobra Kai and do more action movies like Fast & Furious. But we also look forward to dramatic work from him as well! Yes, pull an Uncut Gems, Chan! We’re ready.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.