×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jackie Chan’s ‘Chinese Zodiac’ Marks New Phase in Star’s Career

59-year-old star is evolving but not slowing down

While his Hong Kong colleagues such as Chow Yun-fat, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh — who each took a crack at Hollywood in the late ’90s — have all slowed their tempo, Jackie Chan, at 59, seems to be busier than ever.

“I have always focused on doing both Hollywood movies and Chinese movies. I shot “Karate Kid,” then I made “CZ12” (aka “Chinese Zodiac”). I just finished shooting “Police Story 2013” and will do “Skiptrace” and then probably “Karate Kid 2” next year. It really depends on the story and script,” Chan tells Variety.

Few living actors can claim the kind of clout that Chan pulls on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. In Hong Kong and particularly in China, his name remains a strong magnet for investors, and while he may work with the studios most of the time in the U.S., he has been able to get the greenlight for personal projects such as “Skiptrace” that he has kept on the back burner for decades.

But Chan told press at the Cannes Film Festival “CZ12” might well be the last action blockbuster the Hong Kong native will be toplining. That would fit the recent trend in his career: He has been slowly but surely injecting more drama than action into his Chinese films such as “New Police Story,” “Shinjuku Incident” and “Little Big Soldier” in the past few years. He says he is also developing an “English-language dramatic movie that will have action.”

All of it seems to mark a new direction for the action star who, about five years ago, split with longtime managers Willie Chan and Solon So and moved his Hong Kong headquarters to Beijing where he now resides. His wife, former Taiwanese actress Lin Feng-jiao, is now managing his career and businesses.

He started off 2013 with a bang with the Indiana Jones-styled “CZ12,” another revived project that began with 1987’s “Armor of God” and its sequel, which became the third-highest grossing film of all time in mainland China, raking in $140 million. The title refers to 12 treasures of the Chinese Zodiac signs that are stolen. The film set two Guinness World Records for the most stunts ever performed by a living actor and for the most film credits (15) held by anyone in a single movie.

All in all, it’s not a bad showing for the former stuntman who has stayed consistently at the top of his game since he got his first big break in “Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow” in 1978. After 101 movies, most of them with Chan toplining (after he was given the chance to fill Bruce Lee’s rather large shoes in the late ’70s), he could be forgiven if he moderated his frenetic working pace. But, if you think that he might running out of stories to tell, you can think again — it’s only that he might just tell them in a different style.

“CZ12” will have its North American premiere as “Chinese Zodiac” on June 10 as a precursor to a retrospective of Chan’s films at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the New York Asian Film Festival on June 23-27.

Chan will also be presented with a Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award.

More Film

  • 'Death Stranding' is a 'Playground of

    'Death Stranding' is a 'Playground of Possibilities,' Will Make You Cry

    The Thursday evening conversation between game-making auteur Hideo Kojima and “Walking Dead” actor Norman Reedus about highly-anticipated PlayStation 4 game “Death Stranding” was filled with interesting anecdotes, but little in the way of hard fact. Instead, Kojima made a promise of sorts to the audience and seemingly fans everywhere waiting for more news on the [...]

  • Trailer for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Entry

    Watch: Trailer for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Entry ‘Song Without a Name’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID — Peru’s La Vida Misma and Paris-based sales agent Luxbox have dropped the first trailer and poster of Melina Leon’s “Canción sin nombre” (“Song Without a Name”), selected this week for the Cannes Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight. Written by Leon and Michael J. White, “Song Without a Name” sums up some of ambitions and focus [...]

  • 'Aladdin,' 'Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,' 'Shaft' Set

    'Aladdin,' 'Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,' 'Shaft' Set for China Debuts

    Disney’s new live-action “Aladdin” will release in China on May 24, day-and-date with North America, giving the studio a run of three films in Chinese theaters as many months.  Two other Hollywood titles will also hit the big screen in the Middle Kingdom in the coming months: “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu” on May 10 and the [...]

  • Patrimonio

    Film Review: 'Patrimonio'

    Though it never really went away on much of the globe, a sort of creeping feudalism is making such a striking comeback — with the ever-more-fabulously-rich squeezing the poor of every dime and resource — that Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale’s documentary “Patrimonio” feels like a frightening portent. Will such crude appropriations of land [...]

  • Fan Bingbing

    Fan Bingbing Starts to Re-Emerge Months After Tax Scandal

    Half a year after she was found guilty of tax fraud and disappeared from the public eye, Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing has begun to signal her comeback, attending a gala event and launching her own beauty product on social media this week. The 37-year-old actress unexpectedly hit the red carpet in Beijing on Monday at [...]

  • I Trapped the Devil

    Film Review: 'I Trapped the Devil'

    “I Trapped the Devil” sounds like the title of a sermon or gospel song, but it’s a very literal-minded statement coming from the mouth of a leading character in writer-director Josh Lobo’s debut feature. This being a horror film, there’s a chance he’s even literally correct, rather than simply mad. A mixed-bag frightfest, IFC’s limited [...]

  • American Factory

    Tribeca Film Review: 'American Factory'

    When the last truck rolled off the assembly line of the General Motors factory outside Dayton, Ohio, filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert were there to film it, documenting the end of a certain American dream, along with the unemployment of more than 2,000 people — down from 6,000 in more prosperous times. That was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content