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Behind the scenes: Inside Jackie Chan's den

  • Story Highlights
  • Rare treat to film in Jackie's Hong Kong den
  • Personal office looked like organized chaos and revealed his many collections
  • Action superstar was still raring to go after exhausting five-hour shoot
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By Nick Parker
CNN Talk Asia Producer
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Talk Asia producer Nick Parker gets a glimpse into the hidden world of Jackie Chan

HONG KONG, China (CNN) -- Jackie Chan: A-list Asian megastar, iconic kung fu hero to millions and basically a really famous guy. We had been pursuing an in-depth interview with him for months through "The JC Group," Jackie's all-conquering management company.


Gaining access to Jackie Chan's personal "museum" uncovered many gems during filming.

Schedules conflicted, dates came and went - then finally a breakthrough. He was setting aside an afternoon in between a dizzying array of international commitments. Better still, we would be filming in Jackie's Hong Kong den -- his office which is home to a private "museum" of memorabilia and awards collected over the years.

Jackie Inc. is a sprawling, multi-tentacled empire with offices all over the world - but his hideaway is in a particularly charmless area of Hong Kong. Once inside the dreary office block, you pass a team of people working on JC merchandise and into Jackie's inner sanctum.

The first thing that confronts you is the ordered chaos in his suite of rooms. Clearly incapable of throwing anything away, his office is littered with props, costumes, trophies (including several for his bowling skills), CDs, and -- some might say -- junk.

He is also a compulsive collector. As he later tells us, if a friend gives him a gift such as a tea cup, he begins amassing tea cups until he has to build glass display cases to house his out-of-control collection.

Another obsession is antique locks, including one vast, heavy model he hand-carried back from Turkey.

Show times

Anjali Rao talks to Jackie Chan this week.

Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore and Taipei

Saturday, April 12: 07.30, 23.00
Sunday, April 13: 08.30, 21.00

Bangkok and Jakarta

Saturday, April 12: 06.30, 22.00
Sunday, April 13: 07.30, 20.00

Our first sighting of Jackie is odd. We were told he is a very late riser and the main challenge of the shoot for his staff was getting him out of bed. Instead, he arrives early, unannounced and on his own - a rarity with film stars.

We are still setting up and he stares at us blankly through thick glasses, then disappears into his gym without a word. We begin to wonder if he actually knows about the interview.

Introductions are finally made and the effusive, likeable Jackie Chan is alive and well. He throws himself into the idea of us filming him working out - putting on a bright yellow sweat suit, then pouring out the sweat from his sleeve after 40 minutes on the cross trainer.

During the interview, he is animated and a great story teller, discussing brushes with the triads and the last time he saw Bruce Lee alive.

As China's Olympic poster boy, he was clearly uncomfortable discussing Tibet and drew the distinction between sport and politics currently favored by the IOC.

Our eventual guided tour took in his room of autographed film star photographs (Robert De Niro his most treasured) and his personal walk-in wine chiller, which was naturally behind a false wall.

His business drive is evident. His merchandising arm produces clothes, glasses and Jackie Chan action figures, while he also dabbles in gizmos that interest him - he owns the distribution rights to the Segway in Hong Kong and cheerfully taught Anjali how to ride one.


Exhausted, we took our leave after a five hour shoot while Jackie still appeared to be warming up. The following day he left for Japan - ahead of Olympic duties on the Great Wall of China and a quick skip over to India.

Unarguably "the hardest working man in showbusiness" -- when awake. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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