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Assembling The Cast
The next step was assembling a cast with the talent to match the scope of the film. The director and the producers looked to worldwide superstar Jackie Chan. A gifted athlete and physical comedian blessed with warmth and accessibility, Chan plays Passepartout, Fogg's valet, assistant, protector, and, on several occasions, savior. By the end of the film, one might even call them friends.

Producer Hal Lieberman sees the role of Passepartout—who is involved in a key subplot of the film that involves the Chinese valet returning a valuable jade Buddha to his home village of Lanzhou— as an opportunity for Chan to reach out to a new audience. "We asked Jackie to show sides of himself as an actor and a physical comedian that represent the next level of what he can do,” says Lieberman. "I think it's the first time that we asked Jackie to play not just to grown-ups but to kids as well. And he is fantastic at it.”

Chan welcomed the acting challenge. "I really like the audience to treat me like an actor, not just an action star,” he says. "I'd rather be like a Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, or Al Pacino — you can act until you're 60, 70, 80. But an action star… how long can he keep fighting?”

But in one way, Chan says, the role was not such a stretch. "I play a Chinese man who comes to England, a fish out of water. That's what I am in real life – it required no research! "I'm really happy to be in an adventure movie that spans the globe and a family movie. Everybody knows the story; I'm honored to be involved,” says Chan.

One thing Chan had to relearn for a role in which he impersonates a French valet was the French language. As a child in China, Chan had learned the language and spoke it fluently. As the years went by, though, he fell out of practice. With a little guidance, he learned to sing a mean "Frère Jacques.”

When he wasn't learning something, Chan was educating the cast and crew about martial arts and film combat, as well as designing fight sequences. Inspired by everyone from Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin to Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, Chan and Coraci put together several of the film's most exciting and dynamic scenes. Chan performed in them, too, often going through 20 of the same costume in one day and dozens of pairs of shoes. "I taught the fighting to so many people,” he says. "It was fun. I can make anyone a great action hero!”

Hong Kong-born Chan is an accomplished instructor. When Chan was younger, he became skilled at the ‘southern style' of martial arts, dominated by jumping. Later, he learned ‘northern style,' which incorporated more movement. As he completed more movies, he learned everything from boxing, Karate, Hapkido and Judo to skateboarding and motorcycle riding. Today, he calls his style "Chinese chop suey. Everything!”

Even so, Chan pays his director the ultimate compliment. "Frank really concentrates on the movie. He's very good. Sometimes even he taught me how to fight! He's full of energy.”

Chan's own exuberance and professionalism was contagious among the crew, and many recognized that Coraci/Chan was a winning combination. "Cutting a Jackie Chan fight scene is great, because he really knows action thoroughly,” says editor Tom Lewis. "He's a master because he knows storytelling and comedy; his instincts are terrific. It's great working with Frank because he really knows how to construct a scene dynamically; he knows how to weave the action into the story in an organic way. He and Jackie are both thinking three steps ahead of the game.”

"For me, it's always fun making a film,” says Chan. "And of course, going around the world is more fun for me because I see so many things. I learn so many things when I travel. I really like to

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