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Daily Drip

Jackie Chan Almost Drowned While Filming, and the Internet is Losing It

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While filming his latest action thriller, Vanguard, Jackie Chan disappeared underwater for 45 seconds. Director Stanley Tong burst into tears, fearing the worst.

Luckily, the 66-year-old star was fine, excitedly recounting his experience mere seconds after resurfacing. Although the drowning scare happened in December of last year, social media was recently flooded with concern after Chan shared the story himself during the press circuit for the movie, due to release in Chinese cinemas in September.

In a behind-the-scenes clip of the incident, Chan is seen riding a jet ski with actress Miya Muqi. It crashes into a rock, and both actors are tossed from the ski as it flips over — Miya quickly surfaces, but Jackie disappears from sight.

The cast and crew search frantically for the star, but 45 seconds pass before he’s seen resurfacing behind the rocks. In an interview about the incident, Jackie recounts, “I pushed, pushed, pushed the jet ski, and as soon as it was out of the way — boom! — the current pushed me out of the water.” In his confusion, he assumed it was his co-star Miya who the staff was searching for. 

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The incident reached the number one trending spot on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, with 430 million views on the hashtag “Jackie Chan nearly drowned while shooting his new film” (#成龙拍新片时意外溺水#) at the time of writing. Most fans were understandably emotional.

“Jackie Chan’s movies are the real deal,” reads one top comment. “He’s been injured many times… I’ll always support his films!” “Too much risk, it hurts to think about,” reads another.

“Some of these younger actors like Cai Xukun and Luhan are definitely going to catch flack now,” wrote one commenter, comparing Jackie to his younger onscreen peers. “What current actors actually are, versus their income, is completely out of proportion.”

Despite scaring the cast and crew, in classic Jackie Chan fashion, the star was more excited than scared by the event. “It was like a divine spirit saved me,” he recalls. Considering this is just one blip in a long list of on-set accidents for Chan, it’s no wonder he’s taking it in stride.

Lakshmi Iyengar
    Lakshmi Iyengar is a Yenching Scholar studying health, economics, and modern China. Before moving to Beijing, she majored in Biomedical Engineering at Yale. Follow her on twitter @vlakshmiiyengar for insights on China and life