When Jackie Chan first Met Steven Spielberg

Jackie Chan

There's no denying that the plot of Kevin Donovan's 2002 film The Tuxedo was adorable. Jimmy Tong (Jacky Chan) is hired to drive Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs), a friendly government agent, to and from work. Tong inheritsDevlin’s tuxedo after he abruptly dies. Turns out, the tuxedo is, in fact, a high-tech suit of armor that can robotically move the limbs of its user.

If The Tuxedo had only been about Chan's talents and charms, it would have been an instant hit. Instead, the film was rejected by moviegoers due to its slapstick plot and some bizarre scenes, such as a deer peeing in a river at the beginning.

Even so, he couldn't say no to a chance to work with Steven Spielberg. Spielberg co-founded DreamWorks, the studio behind The Tuxedo," and he is notorious for discussing or interacting, even in a perfunctory fashion, with every film and television show to which he is linked. The man is not known for his aloofness. Because of this, it was Spielberg who first approached Chan about a role in The Tuxedo. After this, the two men were both in awe of each other.


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Canadian daily, Tribute, interviewed Chan about how he got the role o, asking if it was really as simple as receiving a phone call from Steven Spielberg, and his experience meeting Spielberg face-to-face for the first time. Although it took a few more steps, Chan said it was nearly as simple as that. Chan exclaimed excitedly, "Well, at first my manager told me about this DreamWorks movie by Steven Spielberg and said, he wants to meet you. So I said, okay. When I came to Hollywood, there were two people I wanted to meet: One was Steven Spielberg and the second was George Lucas. I just think that the two of them are geniuses. When I met Spielberg I was so excited, but he was just like a normal person. But what made me so happy was the first time that he saw me, he held out his hand and said, 'Jackie, hi, can you give me your autograph because my son just loves you.' ... It was like, wow, he asked ME for my autograph!"

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Even before he became one of Hong Kong's top stuntmen and martial arts directors in the 1970s, Chan was already a household name. It wasn't until 1995's release of Stanley Tong's Rumble in the Bronx (1995), the first Jackie Chan film to be widely distributed in the United States, that he became a household name in the United States. In 1998, Chan appeared in Rush Hour and in 2000, he appeared in Shanghai Noon both of which were high-profile American films. At least to him, Chan was always more of a Chinese star than an American one. When Chan learned that Steven Spielberg was a fan of his work, he was awestruck.

Chan went on to explain his experience with Spielberg. asked Spielberg a question on one of his most popular films, Chan wanted to know more about it. This is Spielberg's response, and it's perfect:

"I was so happy, but I didn't know what to say. So I turned around and asked him, 'How can you make dinosaurs and people walk together on screen? It's amazing.' He says, 'Jackie, that's easy, I press a lot of buttons.' Then he asked me, how I jump from one building's roof to another roof. I told him that I just roll and jump. Camera rolls, director says action, I jump, and then it's cut. That's all!"

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Even though there are presently more than 90 Star Wars-related programs on Disney+, Chan has yet to make an appearance in any of them. And if Chan does get involved in one of these projects, which is entirely possible, he will have the opportunity to meet George Lucas, another filmmaker who has a long history of pressing many buttons.

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