Bruce Lee is often known as the founding father of martial art movies. He is said to have paved the way for actors like Jackie Chan. As Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee share a similar career, many people wonder whether Jackie knew Bruce.
Even though Bruce Lee died at the young age of 32, Jackie Chan did know and work with him. Jackie Chan was lucky enough to work with Bruce Lee in 1972 and 1973 before Bruce Lee passed away later that year.
Continue reading to find out what Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee were working on.
Bruce Lee’s and Jackie Chan’s Careers
Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan both had a similar upbringing. Although Bruce Lee was born in California, he and his family moved to Hong Kong (where Jackie Chan was born) when he was only 3 months old. So, like Jackie, he was raised in Hong Kong
Both men also had an early introduction into film, but in different ways. Bruce Lee’s father was a famous Cantonese opera star. So Bruce Lee himself started to appear in films as a baby and later on when he was 9 years old.
Jackie Chan also started acting when he was only 7 in theatre shows at the Peking Opera School. Both men went on to act in bigger films into adulthood.
Bruce Lee is often credited as helping to change the way Asians were seen in American films through his martial art films. This likely helped Jackie Chan find success in Hollywood.
Bruce Lee started martial arts training at 16 years old as he was often involved in street fights. Jackie Chan actually started training at 6 in his boarding school.
Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee both dropped out of college to pursue martial arts and film. Bruce Lee took that one step further and created his own martial art, Jeet Kune Do in 1967. Jackie Chan later went on to practice the art as well.
Chan and Lee’s Relationship
Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee met on the set of Enter the Dragon in 1973. Bruce Lee was the star of the film and Jackie Chan was one of the extras that Bruce Lee’s character had to fight.
During one of the scenes, Bruce Lee accidentally hit Jackie Chan across the face with a stick, but continued the scene. He went up to Jackie afterwards though and apologized.
Jackie says he pretended to be more hurt than he actually was to garner more attention from Lee as Jackie idolized him. Chan says that Bruce Lee remembered his name from this encounter and would sometimes make conversation with him on set.
Jackie Chan frequently reminisces on this brief time with Bruce Lee in interviews. He says that Bruce Lee hugged him to apologize and Jackie never wanted him to let go. It is clear that Jackie Chan really respected Bruce Lee.
Enter the Dragon was the highest-grossing film of the year and has made $200 million to date. Due to its success, there was a fad in martial arts films.
This also made directors try to groom Jackie Chan into becoming the next Bruce Lee following his death. They quickly realized that he had his own style though and worked better with creative freedom.
Not only did the two work together, they did spend time together outside of filming. Chan told Yahoo, that he saw Lee on the street once when Chan was on his way to go bowling. Lee asked him if he could come and the two men played two games together.
Chan says it is his favorite memory of Lee and only ten days later, he passed away. So, not only did Jackie Chan know Bruce Lee, it seems like they were on the way to becoming friends before Lee’s untimely death.