'Karate Kid' Dallas screening, with Will and Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, attracts crowd
How jazzed were the nearly 900 kids crowding the red carpet at a Karate Kid advance screening Thursday? Well, take their excitement about meeting the film's stars, 11-year-old Jaden Smith and action idol Jackie Chan, then imagine loading it into an Independence Day aircraft and shooting it into space. Now that's excitement.
Jaden's dad, superstar Will Smith, turned up to shake hands, sign autographs and exclaim to the crowd that it's a fantastic film, opening June 11.
The young crowd, invited to the Cinemark 17 at Webb Chapel from a variety of schools and organizations, had been primed to party during pre-event festivities with pizza, snow cones and soda.
Some had their faces painted to look like tigers and lions. Others wore temporary tattoos or Chinese calligraphy in honor of the film's being set in China. Nearly all were clutching posters and photos of Jaden, his legs outstretched in a kung fu kick of about 180 degrees.
Jaden followed his dad in addressing the adoring crowd, saying: "Thank you guys for coming out and supporting our movie!"
Will Smith acknowledged and thanked Chan, too, who stood beaming beside Jaden, wearing a denim jacket and pants from his signature line, with Chinese characters signifying love and charity.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was the first celebrity to walk the carpet, with his 6-year-old daughter, Alexis, clinging to his leg.
Cuban said he has always loved the "wax on, wax off" scene in the original 1984 movie with Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. Jaden and Chan step into those roles, as the bullied kid and the mentor who not only teaches him kung fu, but also how to control himself and show respect to others.
Cuban said he was excited about sharing the updated movie with his daughter. She takes gymnastics, and he hopes this will inspire an interest in martial arts as well.
Former Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco followed with his daughters, Hailey, 8, and Katelyn, 6, and two of their friends. Turco said the movie meant a lot to him growing up as he watched Macchio's character press on through his pain.
"That final scene where he gets up on one leg to fight – that's still the most memorable scene to me," Turco said. "I look forward to seeing what effect this has on a new generation."
Local martial arts students showed off their moves, performed the lion dance and beat drums. Then, as Jaden and Chan arrived to shake hands, sign autographs and answer a few quick questions on the red carpet, thunderclouds gathered.
It was like the scene from Mary Poppins when a sudden downpour puts an end to the children's jolly holiday in Bert's chalk drawings. Except for this crowd, as they raced indoors to watch The Karate Kid, the next adventure was just beginning.WATCH video on the red-carpet scene at The Karate Kid screening. dallasnews.com/video
Chan kicks old habits with 'Karate Kid'
By Devin Heller - Times Correspondent
His legendary stunts have graced the silver screen from Hong Kong to Hollywood for more than four decades, but Jackie Chan made it clear on Wednesday in Chicago that he plans to break away from his typical stunt heavy status-quo.
He stars as stoic sensei Mr. Han in his latest film "Karate Kid," scheduled for release June 11.
"I want to be a true actor. I want to show the audience that I'm the actor not the action star," Chan said.
Chan darted up and down the street at the AMC River East Theater slapping hundreds of hands alongside the barricaded area of 322 E Illinois St. during the Chicago premiere of "Karate Kid." Turning and throwing his hands toward the sky, Chan was showered with shouts from the packs of children clad in "Karate Kid" t-shirts. As Chan made his way to the red carpet, he left his mark on his fans' promotional garb in bold block letters. By the time Chan had made his rounds, the recognizable etching of JACKIE CHAN was plastered across every chest adjacent to the red carpet.
As fans cheered, Chan outlined his plans to break away from the comedic clichés and over-the-top action that have defined his American movie career with his role in "Karate Kid."
"I'm a totally different Jackie Chan not like in "Rush Hour," "Shanghai Noon" and "The Tuxedo." I want to show I can do everything. I want to be an Asian Robert De Niro."
Chan described his character, Mr. Han, as being a flawed "old man" in contrast to his counterpart from the 1984 original Mr. Miyagi. Alongside Jayden Smith as American transplant in China Dre Parker, Chan chose to present a new generation of moviegoers with his personal interpretation of what a kung-fu master should be. Being that Miyagi is such a classic American character; Chan said he was honored to be given the opportunity to come into his own as Mr. Han.
"It was a lot of pressure. I forget Miyagi and just be Jackie Chan -- it's much easier," Chan said.
Chan cited Will Smith as playing a pivotal role in allowing him to flourish as a dramatic actor.
"I really thank Will Smith for giving me a chance to act. For a long time I want to show the audience I'm not a comedian. I'm not an action star. I'm a true actor. For a long time nobody wanted me to act these kind of roles, but Smith said ‘Jackie, do it!'"