Jackie Chan started his career in film industry as a stuntman and completed a couple of Bruce Lee’s movies – His first movie “Fist of Fury” was released in 1972 , in which he also had a very small character as a Japanese martial arts student, and Join the Dragon (1973). Chan generally reminisces about his regard for Lee, his expertise at kung fu, and just how he was enthusiastic when Lee spoke with him on set.
Jackie Chan on working for Bruce Lee
“He inspired me considerably,” Chan stated in an interview in 1997. “I liked him, and how he would talk. He can even communicate in English. Everyone believed he was a god.”
Lee earned the honor of the stuntmen as he handled them as equals. He would talk with them on set and eat along with them. Sometimes he would even make contributions towards their doctor bills if they got hurt. Such conduct impressed the young Chan.
“He handled us humble people perfectly,” Chan informed me. “One day I got hurt and he ran up to me and asked, ‘Are you fine?’”
“In those days, I was only a young guy and he was a truly big legend,” Chan said, referring to working on on his first movie Fist of Fury. “He would speak with the stuntmen, however, not me, as I was only a child. But quickly, in some way I got the opportunity to be on stage with him.”
Chan’s act involved him being hanging by a wire. The staff released the wire too rapidly, making him smack the floor with unpredicted power, and Lee sprinted over to look that Chan was okay. “Bruce Lee picked me up. I went, ‘Wow! He touched me!’” Chan recalls.
Chan later on accepted he was delighted to get some attention from the legend, he would play up his injuries to build up a connection with Lee. On the set of Enter the Dragon, Lee by chance hit Chan in the face with a stick.
“When the director shouted cut, he dropped the sticks down and ran to me. I was used to being hit. I bought hit every day as a stunt boy – I got hit, I got kicked. However when I saw him sprinting towards me, I pretended I was hurt.”
This made the young Chan stay in Lee’s thoughts, and led to him being selected for night work and stunts that involves water, both of which intended higher pay for the stuntman.
After doing work for Lee, Chan promised to accomplish all his own stunts if he ever got the opportunity to be a main character.
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“After seeing stuntmen double for Lee, I made the decision from that point on that I would try everything myself and let people realize that it was me. You could tell when it’s a stunt double. Therefore I ensure that audiences can still see my face,” Chan said.
Even though he quickly came to revere him, Chan was first worried about Lee, who was viewed as a foreigner, until he saw The Big Boss (1971).
“We were ready to hate the film. We actually wished to,” he says in the biography Bruce Lee; A Life. “We wished to, but we couldn’t. The film was everything the films we were making weren’t.”