“We Were Prepared to Hate the Film”: Jackie Chan Once Revealed a Bizarre Reason for Getting Suspicious of the Martial Arts Legend Bruce Lee

Published 11/20/2022, 10:15 AM EST

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Stuntman and actor Jackie Chan was a die-hard fan of the world-renowned actor and martial artist Bruce Lee. During his initial days, Chan worked with Lee, enjoying every bit of body doubling for his idol. However, before watching Bruce Lee’s first film in a lead role, everyone, including Chan, was ready to hate Lee for his foreign image. 

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Before becoming an actor, Bruce Lee was a well-versed martial artist. He founded a modern mixed martial art, Jeet Kune Do. Moreover, he is associated with elevating the world outlook on Hong Kong action. Lee brought martial arts into the spotlight through films. 

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Bruce Lee’s original nationality

Earlier, people considered Bruce Lee to be a foreigner. The martial art prodigy was born to Chinese parents in San Francisco in 1940. However, his upbringing took place in Hong Kong, a British colony then. His father introduced Lee to films as a child actor. He started working in the Hong Kong film industry. Lee learned several types of martial arts while he lived in Hong Kong. 

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Later, owing to his US citizenship, Lee moved to Seattle to study at the University of Washington in 1959. There he began giving martial art classes to earn money. It was because of Bruce Lee that martial arts became popular in the USA. They credit him with bridging the gap between east and west by popularizing martial arts. Soon he started producing martial arts-based films of Hong Kong origin in America, which made him more famous. 

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In Bruce Lee’s biography named, Bruce Lee: A Life, Jackie Chan revealed that because of Lee’s American background, people back home considered him a foreigner. As a result, people in China were prepared to hate him when he released his first film, The Big Boss, in 1971. Chan revealed in the biography:  

“We were prepared to hate the film. We really wanted to.”

He added;

We wanted to, but we couldn’t. The film was everything the movies we were making weren’t.”

Martial Arts Icon Jackie Chan Reasoned Out Why He Refused to Emulate Legendary Bruce Lee’s Fighting Style in 2015

Although, Jackie was initially suspicious of Lee’s origin. After watching him on screen and understanding his value, he became his biggest fan.

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Chan recalled that Bruce Lee treated him as an equal on film sets

Initially, when Jackie Chan worked as a stuntman in Bruce Lee’s films. Although Lee was a megastar, he treated would treat everyone equally on set. Lee would chat and eat with the stuntmen and help them with their medical bills. His persona and English-speaking skills made him appear as God to people in Hong Kong. 

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Watch This Story: Five Most Influential Female Mixed Martial Artists of All Time

Jackie Chan worked on two Bruce Lee films. In Fist of Fury (1972), Chan played a minor role of a Japanese martial arts student. In Enter The Dragon (1973), Chan had a fight sequence with Bruce Lee. 

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Written by:

Muskan Sharma

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Muskan Sharma is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Calcutta. Muskan has worked as a writer for 3+ years but has a knack for filmmaking, too.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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