Call it the Rush Hour Effect.
Most of the American screenplays Jackie Chan is pitched fit the same mold. “In my own country, I can do so many different things. I can do drama, I can do comedy,” the Chinese screen legend told Yahoo Entertainment (watch above). “But in Hollywood, I always receive the [same type of] script: Police from Hong Kong, police from China, CIA from Hong Kong.
“Can I do something new? Can I receive a script like La La Land?”
His new film, The Foreigner, is not a throwback musical that has him saving jazz and floating into the sky with Emma Stone, but it is exactly the type of material the 63-year-old Chan says his stateside offers so often lack. As Quan Ngoc Minh, a blue-collar London restaurateur and widower who loses his daughter in an IRA bombing and sets out on a desperate path of revenge, Chan brings dramatic mettle and understated despair that we’ve never seen from him before.
He knew this one was different from the time he received the script seven years ago. “I said, “Wow, that’s a different kind of Jackie Chan. I want to show audiences I’m not only an action star, I can act.”
Age eventually catches up to all action stars, but Chan wants to do more serious work in the vein of dramatic heavyweights like Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro.
“An action star’s life is so short,” he said. “So for the last 20 years I’ve tried to show audiences that I want to be an actor.”
The Foreigner is now in theaters.