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  • Writer's pictureMaria Tran

Jackie Chan at 70: A Personal Journey and Reflection

As Jackie Chan celebrates his 70th birthday, it’s a fitting time to reflect on the impact he has had on countless lives, including mine.

Jackie Chan and Maria Tran

Back in 2010, I had a seemingly silly idea — an ambitious transmedia project aimed at connecting with Jackie Chan through six degrees of separation. Little did I know that this journey would eventually lead me to the man himself, five years later.

2010 ‘Quest for Jackie Chan!’ self video diary transmedia project

It all started with a simple concept: travel solo around Australia in 21 days, meeting Jackie Chan fans, colleagues, and anyone else willing to share stories or send messages to him through my project. This endeavor stemmed from a period of personal reflection and creative frustration following the completion of “Maximum Choppage,” a no-budget kung fu movie that failed to ignite substantial career momentum.

Over the years, as I embarked on this unconventional quest, I never lost sight of my goal. The journey was filled with unexpected encounters, heartwarming stories, and moments of doubt. But in 2016, my perseverance paid off when I received an unexpected phone call from Screen NSW — an offer to be a stunt attachment on Jackie Chan’s movie, “Bleeding Steel.”

Stepping onto the set of a Jackie Chan film was surreal. The energy, dedication, and professionalism of his stunt team were awe-inspiring. As I immersed myself in the world of “Bleeding Steel,” I absorbed invaluable lessons and experiences of what it takes to be Jackie Chan.

By the time the wrap-up party arrived, I found myself on an unexpected adventure — a road trip from Sydney to Canberra with Jackie Chan and his family. Armed with nothing but a nervous and shaky handy cam, I documented this once-in-a-lifetime journey, capturing moments of laughter, camaraderie, and genuine human connection.

Maria Tran travels across Australia in 21 days

Looking back on this amazing journey, I’m reminded of the importance of never giving up and grabbing hold of every opportunity that comes our way. Jackie Chan isn’t just a movie star — he’s a symbol of resilience, humility, and striving for excellence.

Inspired by him, I’ve been pushing for more women to take the lead in action movies, both on-screen and behind the scenes. My proudest achievement so far is “Echo 8,” a 96-minute action thriller made with just $10,000 AUD and the support of an incredible team who believed in my vision.

Although I haven’t seen Jackie since 2016, I hope to meet him again when I finish my next two low-budget films in 2025. Once the trilogy is complete, I feel like I’ve earned my place in the industry through hard work, determination, and building a team that values integrity, kindness, and compassion — just like Jackie Chan does.

As we celebrate Jackie Chan’s 70th birthday, let’s not only applaud his incredible accomplishments but also recognize the significant impact he’s had on people all over the world. Here’s to you, Jackie — thank you for inspiring us to always aim for the stars.

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