×
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.”

Popular on Variety

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

  • Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan

    Harvey Weinstein's Request to Move Trial Out of NYC Is Denied (Again)

    An appeals court denied the second request from Harvey Weinstein’s legal team to move his trial out of New York City on Tuesday. Weinstein’s attorneys asked the Appellate Division last week to move the trial to Albany or Suffolk County, arguing it is impossible for him to get a fair trial due to the “carnival-like [...]

  • Adrian Rossi appears in Summer White

    Visit Films to Sell Sundance Player ‘Summer White’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    New York-based sales company Visit Films has acquired worldwide rights for Mexican feature “Summer White,” world premiering in Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition on Sunday Jan. 26. Visit will also be screening the film at Berlinale’s European Film, Market. Now a key North American sales company for Latin American films, Visit’s catalog includes other major [...]

  • Avengers Endgame

    4DX High-Tech Cinemas Break Box Office Records in 2019

    CJ 4DPLEX, the company behind multi-sensory 4DX cinema technology, has announced that it had a record-breaking 2019, grossing more than £246 million ($320 million) for 4DX worldwide. It was the best year yet for the groundbreaking format, marking a 12% increase from 2018’s record $286 million. The uptick is partly credited to booming revenues in [...]

  • Endeavor Content Studio Logo

    Endeavor Content, Exile Strike First-Look Deal With Mexican Producer Subtrama (EXCLUSIVE)

    Endeavor Content is upping its local-language game, signing a significant first look deal with Mexico City-based producer Subtrama. Endeavor enters the deal with Exile Content Studio, a long-form English and Spanish content maker. Subtrama is behind films like Gael García Bernal’s “Museo.” Mauricio Katz, Manuel Alcalá, and Panorama Global’s Gerardo Gatica and Alberto Muffelmann run [...]

  • Taylor Swift Variety Facetime

    How Midterm Elections Inspired Taylor Swift's New Song, 'Only the Young'

    Miss Americana was keeping another song about America in her back pocket, as it turns out. Taylor Swift recorded a song during her “Lover” album sessions, “Only the Young,” that was held back and kept under wraps for the right occasion — that occasion turning out to be “Miss Americana,” the Lana Wilson-directed documentary that [...]

  • Bradley Cooper Nightmare Alley

    Netflix Nabs Bradley Cooper's Leonard Bernstein Drama

    Netflix will back Bradley Cooper’s upcoming drama about Leonard Bernstein, the legendary conductor and musical maestro behind “West Side Story” and “Candide,” Variety has confirmed. The film was initially set up at Paramount. It has an A-list lineup of producers, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, and Todd Phillips. Kristie Macosko Krieger from [...]

  • The Simpsons - Disney parodies -

    Disney Mashes Up 'The Simpsons' Parodies of Disney Films, Theme Parks

    Disney has embraced some of the gentle ribbing dished out by “The Simpsons” over the years — hoping to convince more people to sign up for Disney Plus. The media conglomerate released a compilation of what it calls “the best Disney references in ‘The Simpsons,'” which is now part of the Disney empire, with past [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content