Legendary actor Jackie Chan nearly killed while filming 'scariest scene' in river

20 July 2016 / 3 months 1 week ago

Joanne Soh
The New Paper
20 July 2016

What does one expect from a Jackie Chan movie?

Slick martial arts action, slapstick comedy and, most importantly, spectacular stunt-heavy set-pieces.

His latest offering, Skiptrace, is not short on white-knuckle sequences that are trademarks of Chan's works.

The intrepid Hong Kong actor has survived joint dislocations, bleeding in the brain and near-blindness over the course of his illustrious career.

While Chan, 62, has been seriously hurt countless times, no incident was as life-threatening as a scene in Skiptrace that almost took his life.

Calling it the "scariest scene" he has ever made, the stunt sequence had Chan falling off a raft and into a gushing river with treacherous rapids.

"I was supposed to fall into the river and act as if I didn't know how to swim," he told M in an e-mail interview.


"I nearly drowned as the river was very rough, and I am not a good swimmer. I really called out for help."

Opening here on July 22 with sneaks on July 21, the Sino-American action-comedy sees Chan pairing up with Hollywood actor-comedian Johnny Knoxville.

Chan's detective Bennie forms an unlikely partnership with Knoxville's small-time criminal Connorto help Bennie's goddaughter Samantha (Fan Bingbing), who has got herself into a predicament involving a notorious Chinese criminal.

The buddy road-trip movie takes audiences to scenic Hong Kong, Macau and Russia. It also boasts the picturesque rivers and mountains of Guilin, and the desert and grasslands of Inner Mongolia.

Directed by Hollywood film-maker Renny Harlin and produced by Chan, Skiptrace is the latter's love letter to China and has been brewing for over 20 years.

Chan said: "The story has been with me for a long time.

"I like (Robert De Niro's 1988 action-comedy) Midnight Run very much, and I have been thinking of doing something like that with Jet Li or Queen Latifah.

"I discussed with Owen Wilson and Chris Tucker too, but it took a while to make Skiptrace happen."

US actors Tucker and Wilson were Chan's co-stars from his Hollywood hits Rush Hour (1998) and its 2001 and 2007 sequels, and Shanghai Noon (2000) and Shanghai Knights (2003) respectively.

"Injuries during filming are common, and I am used to it," he said.

"One of the most memorable injuries sustained was during the filming of Chinese Zodiac (2012). I had a terrible fall and hurt my back, and at that time, I was really worried that I might be paralysed and be wheelchair-bound for the rest of my life.

"But of course, I was lucky."

Chan, who has at least six films in production including The Karate Kid 2 and Rush Hour 4, has never entertained thoughts of stopping work.

"There are no such words as 'slowing down' or 'retirement' in my dictionary.

"I love movies, and I hope I can keep making good movies."

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