Friday, August 7, 2015

Interview with Eric Tsang

Eric Tsang discusses Jackie's Armour of God accident in an interview in 2004

HKCM : In 1986, you directed Armour of God starring Jackie Chan. Could you talk about working on Armour of God?

ET : I talked to Jackie. I told him he was not improving. He had no girls in his films. I told him that, even though I'm not that famous, some girls like me. I also said he had no friends in his films. I suggested that he should begin to work with singers like Alan Tam and put some girls in his movies. I went to Yugoslavia with him to make Armour of God , but he fell during shooting.

HKCM : Were you on the set when the accident happened?

ET : I had already shot a lot of scenes without Jackie. Actually, he only was scheduled to come in and do close-ups, but he wanted to redo one of the stunts. It was a stunt in which someone climbs up a palm tree, it bends, and he comes down. The stuntman didn't land properly. He kept climbing after the tree began to bend, so it didn't look right. After the shot, we were scheduled to have a lunch break. I said, “Action.” Jackie fell, but I didn't think about it because the drop from the tree was low. I called for the lunch break. Someone came over to me, and said that blood was coming out of Jackie's ear. Chinese people feel that blood from any of the seven holes (eyes, ears, nose, and mouth) is very serious. He had fallen on his head. Now, Jackie's father was on the set. So, I had to tell him that Jackie had just broken the skin near his ear, so he wouldn't worry about the injury.

The place where we were shooting was very far away from the city in the countryside. I remember telling Jackie not to fall asleep, because I knew it was important for him to stay conscious. About 45 minutes later, we got him to a small hospital, and they told us we needed to get him to the city hospital about two and a half hours away. I called Raymond Chow , and the first thing he said was, “Again?” He was referring to the death of Bruce Lee (both Lee and Chan worked with Chow at Golden Harvest). Then, we tried to find the best doctor. Luckily, we found the best specialist in Yugoslavia . That doctor had a hospital in Switzerland , but each year he spent a month in Yugoslavia . Raymond Chow made some phone calls, contacted a specialist in France , and that doctor also recommended this Yugoslavian specialist. Yugoslavia is a lot like China , and everyone has government connections. Our producer was the son of a very powerful man, and he helped to find this doctor. Luckily, the doctor was in Yugoslavia.

I turned on the television, and there was a funeral on. Jackie was in the hospital in room number 44 which is very bad luck in Chinese, since the sound for the number “4” sounds like “death.” So, all the signs were very bad. I went to the hospital and met with Jackie's manager, Willie Chan Chi Keung , and he told me that we had to sign for the operation, because no one wanted to sign the document. I ended up asking Jackie to sign it, because I couldn't bring myself to ask his father. Jackie was still conscious, so I had to tell him that it was better to do the operation. The doctor said the operation would take about an hour and a half. Finally, after two and a half hours, the doctor came out, and said it went well. The doctor asked about Jackie, since his blood pressure and vital signs were always very strong. After a career in surgery, the doctor had never seen a guy with a body like Jackie's. He had a perfect body. So, Jackie really recovered more rapidly than the doctor predicted. For example, after a week, he could travel on an airplane. But, since this was a golden period for me, I couldn't wait for Jackie to recover, so I went back to Hong Kong and worked on another movie combining the casts from My Lucky Stars and Lucky Stars-- My Lucky Stars Go Places (1986). It was because of that movie, I left Golden Harvest.



Annet said...

reading about the accident and all makes my skin crawl, just glad his dad was there. Jackie Chan often said he had a strong body and that he healed quickly as he had blood type ab+. He sure needs it and I'm glad he as it.

Dagmar Crmanova said...

Thanks a lot for this great and detailed interview! Now the fans can know more abou Jackie´s bad injury while filming Armour of God.

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