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“That was very hard for Jackie. It freaked him out”: Chris Tucker Made Jackie Chan’s Life a Nightmare While Shooting ‘Rush Hour’

"That was very hard for Jackie. It freaked him out": Chris Tucker Made Jackie Chan's Life a Nightmare While Shooting 'Rush Hour'

Rush Hour announced Jackie Chan on the world stage. While the martial artist had been working as an actor for a long time, this was the first time he was recognized by American audiences and more. After all, the movie grossed more than $245 million on a budget of $34 million. Not to mention the fact that the success of the first one spawned two more movies in the trilogy. However, the shooting process wasn’t easy for Chan and it was all due to his co-star Chris Tucker. Chan’s co-star made filming a nightmare situation for the martial artist.

Chris Tucker Caused Problems For Jackie Chan On Rush Hour Sets

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour franchise
Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in the Rush Hour franchise

What made Rush Hour so popular was the unorthodox pairing of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. One was an established action star and the other was a comedian. No one expected the movie to work. But it did. However, all was not well behind the scenes of the film. In an LA Times interview, the director of Rush Hour, Brett Ratner, explained that Chan had trouble adjusting to Tucker’s style of improvisation. This combined with Tucker’s use of slang made the problem worse.

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Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker
Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker

As per Ratner:

“Jackie has a hard enough time with his own dialogue. The way he remembers dialogue is by remembering the last word of Chris’ sentence. Ninety-nine percent of the time that word never comes.”

The outlet also stated that Chan was exasperated by Tucker’s style because the latter would improvise during rehearsals and then change the dialogues again during the actual filming. Ratner said:

“That was very hard for Jackie. It freaked him out.”

However, the martial artist overcame all such barriers to successfully make the movie. In fact, he was the one who suggested that they need to tone down the gunfights and introduce actual fight choreography.

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Jackie Chan Told Brett Ratner To Include Lesser Gunfights In Rush Hour

Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan

In a 1998 LA Times interview, Jackie Chan explained what made Rush Hour different from other movies like Lethal Weapon 4 which had Jet Li, a Chinese action star, and Danny Glover, a black actor, among many other plot similarities. He said that the difference was in the way the action sequences were presented. Chan went for a style that wasn’t seen in typical American action films.

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As per the veteran actor:

“The difference is that in ‘Rush Hour’ they really gave me a lot of freedom. I can control all the fighting scenes. In ‘Lethal Weapon 4’ all the fighting scenes are similar to American movies–BOOM BOOM BOOM–big explosions. So when the movie started–‘Rush Hour’–I went to the director and said, ‘Look, you have to promise me. Fewer explosions. Less violence. Fewer gunfights. Even if you have the gunfights don’t show the blood. We want no special effects. Jackie Chan will be the special effects, doing exactly what I am doing in Asia.’ So when the pool hall fighting scene took place they just let me do it. Even the director let me do all the things. So the audience really can see something different than the typical American action movie.”

The Rush Hour films showcased some of Jackie Chan’s best fight moves and this combined with the awkward chemistry between the two leads created magic and a classic at the box office.

Source: LA Times

Written by Ishita Chatterjee

A literature graduate who loves sharing her views on everything pop-culture and entertainment. Ishita especially loves dreaming about superheroes and comic books when she isn't day dreaming about them everyday either way.