Jackie Chan Knew He Had To Be More Than An Action Star To Continue On In The Film Industry

Jackie Chan has been in the entertainment business his entire life. His 1978 film "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" forever cemented his name as an action star — this was an actor who performed his own stunts no matter how many bones he broke. Jackie Chan is a household name, not just in East Asia but all over the world.

Chan's contribution to the slapstick kung-fu comedy style of films has made him so popular it's impossible to meet someone who doesn't know his name. He's one of the biggest action stars in the world — and even with all the critical acclaim and existing love for his work, the "Drunken Master" star still believed that he needed to do more to continue working and being memorable in the film industry.

In Chan's 2017 profile published by GQ Magazine, the Hong Kong-based star explained how he was always looking for a "different script, different character, different Jackie Chan" in every movie. He wanted to be seen as an actor, as a performer who could do everything — and not just an action star. Certainly, Chan is an expert in the genre, but he hopes his choice of movies tells us enough about him as an artist.

A different Jackie Chan in every film

The "Rush Hour" actor discussed with GQ how in the East Asian film industry, several action stars had come and gone. To be memorable and relevant year after year was a challenging task, and Chan thinks in order to do that, every performer needs to change and dabble in different kinds of films. Like Sylvester Stallone, who Chan seems to look up to.

"If I'm [to] continue on in the film industry ... I have to change. Otherwise, you gone. You see—in Japan. Korea. America. China. Hong Kong. How many action star all gone? Only few can stay. Stallone's different. He's a legend. Other action stars already gone."

Chan also detailed how stars like Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro had taken over multiple roles in the film industry — they'd all gone from acting to directing to producing films. It's something that interests Chan too.

"So that's why I'm looking for different script, different character, different Jackie Chan. I want the audience look at Jackie Chan as an actor. Not the action star. Actor who can fight. Look at Clint Eastwood. If he continue to 'Make my day'? Gone. So he change to directing. He change some other things. Look at Al Pacino. Robert De Niro. I wanna be an Asian Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino."

The actor wants more for his movies

The actor went over how films like "Titanic" and "Avatar" had made history — and are memorable and still talked about decades after their release. Those are the kind of films that Chan wants to make, films that continue to enthrall a new generation of fans every time, and don't disappear after being released. Chan concluded:

"I want the movie not just finished, released, gone ... I don't want to make a movie, boom, finish, release one month, gone."

Jackie Chan has appeared in over a hundred movies. He has been performing since the 1960s, he has directed multiple films over the course of his career, he has completed his own stunts, and he has been injured for it. Still, he has never stopped being ambitious. He has often played a good guy who finds himself in crazy circumstances with the bad guys. But every once in a while, there will be a film like "The Foreigner" or "The Karate Kid" where Chan will give an emotional, dramatic performance that outweighs the action of it all, and it'll tell you the one thing you've known all along: there's nothing the man cannot do.