'The Foreigner', starring Jackie Chan as Quan, a reserved and troubled shop owner whose past has been hidden deep in hopes of having a normal low key life with his teenage daughter. But everything changes when a politically motivated terrorist act, as we are so deplorably familiar in the world as of lately, kills the only family member he has left, his daughter. This sparks the fury he had hidden for so long and he is willing to risk it all in order to find the responsible killers and the men behind the whole charade. Chan ends up in a contrived and constant pursuit with many near captures, and repeated escapes antagonizing Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), a former IRA member turned British government official whose he accused of being the mastermind behind the act. Pierce past connection to the IRA is the element that boils his relentless hunt. The director Martin Campbell who's a 'James Bond' franchise expert as having directed a couple films of the franchise in the past and having worked with Brosnan in 'Golden Eye' tried to bring elements of it to the film pushing new angles on Chan and Brosnan. Jackie's acting went a little darker, a distinct style to what Chan's is usually known for; this time being a bit more dramatic and less comedic than we are used to see nonetheless transcending into a more James Bond-esque style but in a drier and grizzlier form. The director pushed the actor to look more to his age, with make-up and slower and heavier movements, making him look more vulnerable and fragile.
At a recent press conference in Los Angeles Chan shared that and his role "The only thing I prepared was English. I had a dialect coach to teach me. I also had to understand what Pierce's speaking, because he has a very different accent. On set, the director taught me, 'Jackie, move slowly. You are not 'Jackie Chan.' You are Quan.' Some times when I'd turn around and move things, he'd say, 'Jackie, too quick. Slow down.' He made me so old. Even the fighting – 'No breath!' That's what makes the movie works."
Chan has been trying to break out of his mold and typecasting and wanted to show he is more than a comedic action star with this role adding "I'd been playing my career so long. As I looked at the history, an action star's life is very short. I want to be an actor. The audience always treats me as a comedy-action-star. In Asia, I'm already tough to slowly change. But the last 20 years, my fans in Asia are slowly accepting it. 'Wow, Jackie is an actor – not an action star!'
But in Hollywood, I receive so many script: police from Hong Kong, police from China, secret police from Hong Kong, secret police from China. I always look at so many American movies. I say, 'That's suitable for me! But why nobody hire me to do these kinds of movies?!' Not like LA LA LAND, but kind of like LA LA LAND. I said, 'Yes! Why not me?!"
Jackie has been trying to get out this constriction for a while and he recounts his past experiences trying to show his talent arsenal to the world.
"I wanted to show my directing skills. I used MIRACLES to do the best I can with camera movement. After I finished that movie, at that time, I used $90 million Hong Kong – that was a lot. I promised my camera guy, lighting, 'You'll get the Oscar.' That's my goal. And the movie comes out, the box office was no good. Nobody gets anything. It destroyed my ego. Then later on, I wanted to just make a good movie – that's all. Then I got best box office – so many things! Later on I learned when you do something don't aim for something. It ends up you get nothing. If you make a good movie, the result is you get so many things. They come to you. You don't have to find them."
Jackie Chan's career was marked when he won an Oscar and he tells us how he felt about the experience.
"I just didn't believe it. Why me?! I'm just making a cheap action-comedy movie. I asked the chairman of the [Academy Awards], "Why me?" He said, "Because you do so many things – not just acting. You did so many things for animals for charity. We've been looking for you. The first time 50 people agreed. Then I realized all those years I never thought I could get anything. Making a movie is like gambling. I just follow my dream and do the best I can – every movie I make enriched my life. I never thought I'd win something. In the old days, I'd try to come to Oscar, so many years. Then I gave up. Then now, they came to me."
Hopefully Chan keeps showing the world all his talents and goodwill. But one thing we should all agree is that Chan can be cast in more diverse roles because there's no reason we should imposed limits on him or any other great artist that just want to share all their talents with the world.
'The Foreigner' only in theaters October 13.