On the latest episode of True Fiction, we put the life of one of the most beloved movie stars of all time, Jackie Chan, under the microscope. The acclaimed martial artist has put his body through the kind of punishment few others could recover from. Time after time, Jackie Chan endured painful injuries and it was all in service of entertaining us.
But the question is: Why? The answer to that may lie in his upbringing and history. And we delve into Jackie’s early life, his education, and rise through the movie industry to find out why.
You can check out True Fiction on the GameSpot Universe YouTube channel, where new episodes will be released every Sunday. You’ll also find a little more about the process of making the episode from host and writer Kurt Indovina.
Kurt: When I was five years old I destroyed the backyard patio furniture of my childhood home pretending to be Jackie Chan.
I punched my arms rapidly into thin air as I fought off imaginary thugs. They kicked back, sending me over the picnic table. I launched to my feet, grabbing a chair and swung it around like a weapon, before throwing it across the yard.
My older brother–who was “babysitting” me at the time–watched safely from the kitchen window. I remember him make a half-hearted attempt yelling for me to stop; I replied by hurling myself into a plastic birdbath, shattering it into pieces.
His threats didn’t mean anything to me–I was Jackie Chan. My parents came home, however, and to say the least, I wasn’t praised for my actions.
I grew older, and, well, things haven’t really changed. I still have bursts of fluttering kicks in the GameSpot office; I’ve leaped from my seat rolling across the floor, launching myself into a battle pose, only to then calmly fill my water bottle; and currently, on my desk are not one, but two Jackie Chan auto-biographies prominently on display.
It goes without saying that Jackie Chan has had a deep influence on my life. But it goes beyond just the thrill of throwing myself into imaginary danger. As I grew up, and the more I learned about Jackie, the more I began to appreciate his unrelenting dedication to his craft. Beyond the punches he’s thrown and the injuries he’s endured, Jackie is an artist of many traits, and that is what’s most inspiring to me about him.
So when the opportunity arose to write an episode of True Fiction about Jackie Chan, it was as though my entire life and career had led to this moment.
In previous episodes, the truth has been much darker than the fiction it’s inspired, making some of the subject matter a little tough to sensitively approach. And even in the case of Jackie Chan, a figure known for his mix of comedy and martial arts, the task wasn’t any easier.
Given the scope of Jackie’s highly disciplined childhood, I feared that we’d be glorifying what could be viewed as child abuse, which can be subjective depending on the culture.
I don’t view what Jackie went through as child abuse, but some others certainly may. It was a hurdle to handle his story properly and respectively, without praising what he went through. But I think we handled it right.
When it came to filming the episode, I wanted to try and capture a glimmer of five-year-old Kurt who destroyed his patio furniture and broke many windows pretending to be the illustrious filmmaker and martial artist. But, of course, maybe a little less destructive.
If it weren’t for the logistics of my health and well being, and the necessary barriers of GameSpot’s human resources and legal department, I would have thrown myself through a window. Since we couldn’t go to those lengths, I settled for sugar glass bottles. The end result, still, is something I’m very proud to share.