Recounting the Heart-warming Friendship of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee
When you think of martial arts legends, Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee will probably immediately come to mind. The duo is two of the biggest kung fu movie stars.
Lee started in 1971 with an explosion in The Big Boss. Thanks to the movie, he became a worldwide sensation.
He had a massive impact on the kung fu genre and changed the approach studios, directors, and producers used to make martial arts films. He taught the creators that they needed highly trained actors with backgrounds in martial arts if they wanted a blockbuster movie.
And thanks to Lee's changes, people like Chan got the opportunity. Chan was initially working as a stunt double and struggling to make ends meet, but when the Kung Fu craze took over the film industry, he rose through the ranks.
He dominated the genre over the next three decades and became a world-renowned actor, all thanks to Lee.
Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee Cemented their Friendship with ‘Fist of Fury’
While Lee and Chan never co-starred in a movie, they had the opportunity to work together before Lee’s tragic death in 1973.
The two met while Lee was filming his second movie, Fist of Fury. At the time, Chan’s career had taken a dive as a stunt coordinator.
He worked as a stuntman again to make a living and ended up as a stunt double for Lee in Fist of Fury.
During an interview with Post journalist Richard James Havis in 1997, the actor opened up about what it was like to work with Lee.
He shared that the late martial arts icon influenced him a lot. He accepted Lee was the king of martial arts and admired the way he spoke and his skills.
The Rush Hour actor also lauded his icon, sharing that he was good to everyone.
“Because he [Lee] was born in the US, he was more open than us. Everyone liked him, he was very good to us, very good to the low-class people, and he didn’t really care that much about the big bosses,” said Chan.
Bruce Lee Helped Jackie Chan as Much as He Could
And not only was Lee kind to everyone around, but he also ensured that Chan earned as much as he could from working as his double.
During the interview, he revealed that the late actor would ask the stunt coordinator to let him work overtime with him.
Jackie Chan sharing an incident where Bruce Lee hit on his head during filming. (Source: Instagram)
Lee would also tell the stunt coordinator a stunt was dangerous when it was just to help Chan get more pay.
“Bruce Lee got me more money. I made US$200 in one day. It was double pay for me. He got me even more money by telling the stunt coordinator it was a dangerous stunt — but it wasn’t dangerous. He was just trying to help me get more pay, which made me so happy,” said Chan.
The duo got so close working together that the Rush Hour star fooled around with him on set.
In a famous anecdote Chan recounted, he pretended he was hurt more than he was when Lee hit him with a stick simply because he enjoyed the attention he received from Lee.
After this encounter, Lee remembered Chan’s name, which led to Lee selecting him for even more stunt work in Enter the Dragon.