With his unique blend of martial arts and physical comedy, Jackie Chan has been called the Charlie Chaplin for a new generation.
In his latest film, a retelling of Jules Verne's classic "Around The World In 80 Days," he plays a mysterious man who helps an English inventor accomplish this massive feat.
"Everybody knows "Around the World in 80 Days," and that's been a great jumping-off point for us to make something like nothing before," says Chan. He visits The Early Show on Wednesday to talk about the film, in which he not only acts, but also serves as co-executive producer.
Along the way, the heroes (London inventor Phileas Fogg, played by Steve Coogan; his valet Passepartout [Chan] and thrill-seeking French artist Monique, played by Cécile De France) face many adventures and obstacles.
And as usual, Chan does all the stunts, which he notes are not easy. "I hurt myself," Chen tells co-anchor Hannah Storm, "But the director doesn't know. He watches the monitor." He says many times he has to do several takes leaving his body quite sore.
"Sometimes, the director is crazy," Chan says. "Sometimes, I really want to put him up (to do the stunts)."
Frank Coraci ("The Wedding Singer" and "The Waterboy") directs. "This is a hilarious movie," says Chan, who shows off his signature comic-action style in several set pieces. "Frank was very open to all the ideas I had for the action scenes. We both like to make people laugh, and I think people are going to laugh when they see this movie. It's a lot of fun."
Chan actually has his own stunt team that he has personally trained and takes them to each movie he does. Chan, who has broken many bones over the years, notes that things in Hollywood are done quite differently from moviemaking in Hong Kong.
He says, "When I'm making a Hollywood film, they so protect me. Whatever I do, 'Wait, wait, wait, let me check first. Let everybody check.' There's a safety captain on the set, ambulance on the set, so many people watching me. In China, in the old days in Hong Kong, we don't care. Rolling, do it, boom, ow! Make sure the camera got the shot. OK, send me to the hospital. It's different."
And it is understandable for Hollywood to want to protect the actor, who, this time gets to work with such stars as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathy Bates, and Rob Schneider.
Working with Schwarzenegger was something Chan has always wanted to do.
"I tried to work with him so many times," Chan says, noting that the right script had not come along until now. "He doesn't want to die; he wants to win; I want to win. But the first time we invited him to 'Around The World In 80 Days,' he jump in right away. And when I see him, he's not tough anymore. He says, 'Hi, Jackie, nice to see you, nice working with you.' He was always playing chess in the corner."
Always playing chess?
"Yeah, big giant guy," Chan says. "Then after he became governor, I think: 'Aaah, that's how he trained how to protect friends.' Probably one day, he's president."
As for Chan, he says he has a clothing line, a restaurant and other venues to prepare him for retirement. But at 50, he still plans to continue with his movie career.
"I am different than some other people. I had very good training when I was young. This is why I'm 50 and I can still move a lot of things, still can do a lot of different things," he says.
Fast facts about Jackie Chan: