Jackie Chan is often cited as one of the most influential action stars responsible for bridging the cultural chasm between the east and the west through his works. Due to Jackie Chan’s unique style of action-comedy, his talents were recognised by Hollywood which gave him the opportunity to work with other icons like Steven Spielberg.
Since the early 1980s, Chan had been trying to break into the American market through projects such as The Big Brawl but it was his later American films like Rumble in the Bronx and Rush Hour that established him as a true cultural figure. Even though he was sceptical about being typecast in subpar Hollywood productions, Chan retained his Hollywood ambitions.
One such subpar project was the 2002 sci-fi action comedy titled The Tuxedo which came across Jackie’s desk. A parody of clichéd spy films, this particular work featured a tuxedo that imparted special abilities to anyone who wore it and the narrative revolved around a conspiracy involving the poisoning of America’s water supply.
While Jackie had his reservations about the project and the viability of such a premise, he eventually agreed to star in the film because it would give him the chance to have a meeting with Spielberg. His first encounter with the acclaimed director was even better than he expected since it turns out that Spielberg and his family are Jackie Chan fans.
“Well, at first my manager told me about this DreamWorks movie by Steven Spielberg and said, he wants to meet you,” the actor recalled while revisiting the details of the meeting. “So I said, okay. When I came to Hollywood, there were two people I wanted to meet: One was Steven Spielberg and the second was George Lucas.”
Adding, “I just think that the two of them are geniuses. When I met Spielberg I was so excited, but he was just like a normal person. But what made me so happy was the first time that he saw me, he held out his hand and said, ‘Jackie, hi, can you give me your autograph because my son just loves you.’ … It was like, wow, he asked ME for my autograph!”
Jackie Chan’s meeting with Spielberg might have been like a dream but The Tuxedo was far from that. The Hong Kong star was uncertain about the combination of special effects, stunts and Hollywood’s approach to action and he turned out to be right since the film was bombarded with negative reviews and is largely forgotten now.