THE PUBLICIST: From the movie to marketing, Jackie Chan is the biggest star

Who's the biggest movie star in the world? Mel Gibson? Tom Hanks? Julia Roberts? Tom Cruise?

Who's the biggest movie star in the world? Mel Gibson? Tom Hanks? Julia Roberts? Tom Cruise?

For my money, it's Jackie Chan. For starters, he's an action star, and action movies translate internationally better than other genres. He's been doing his one-of-a-kind physical artistry for three decades, and remains at the top of his game. He's a household name the world over. He's even known in remote areas of Africa and Asia, where the mention of Willis and Stallone elicits blank stares. And he's the hardest-working actor around. But then, I'm biased. I worked with Jackie last year and I've never been more impressed with a major star. Jackie Chan is a global brand name, on par with Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, because he gives his all, not only to the film, but to marketing too. In short, he's a publicist's dream. Unlike most action stars, who read their lines and let doubles do the heavy lifting, Jackie still does nearly all of his own stunts. Because much of a movie's stunt work is typically done by the "second unit" - a separate production team from the main unit - Jackie was often required to work seven days a week. Yet he still found time to create and rehearse his famous choreography and cooperate with all of my considerable requests. During the four-month shoot, we did international junkets, TV and print interviews, a photo gallery, an ad poster shoot, even a live satellite broadcast for ABC's stuntmen awards, for which he got up at 4am. What's more, Jackie enjoys talking with press. I remember many instances when he'd enter a room of journalists with fatigue and reticence on his face, and within five minutes he was totally energized, captivating everyone with his enthusiasm and infectious humor. Many entertainment writers will say he's one of the most entertaining and appreciative interviews in the business. Jackie also allowed me to write a weekly online journal of his experiences making the film, for which he supplied every word. I know of few stars that would take the time to dictate a journal after 15-hour workdays. In an era where movie stars are paid $20 million, yet complain about coming to work and doing interviews, Jackie is a marvel. (I won't even mention the fact that he routinely gives gifts to crew and media alike.) While some people I encounter in this industry make me wish I'd gone to law school, Jackie makes the job a pleasure. And I'm proud to say that I'm a fan of Chan.
  • Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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