Jackie Chan brings Hollywood to Macau

A significant scene in ‘Skiptrace’ filmed in MGM MACAU’s Grande Praça (Photo provided by MGM MACAU)

Indiana Jones, James Bond and a host of other movie icons, both regional and international, have over the years passed through the scenic streetscapes of this romantic and exotic city, and now the perennially popular Jackie Chan returns to the city that never sleeps.

MGM MACAU is the exclusive sponsor of the movie icon’s latest action-adventure comedy, part of which has been shot in Macau. ‘Skiptrace,’ directed by Renny Harlin of ‘Die Hard 2’ and ‘The Legend of Hercules’ fame, brings together the legendary Chan, Bingbing Fan, Johnny Knoxville and Winston Chao, in what is described as a ‘death-defying adventure shuttling across East and West.’

The plot begins in Hong Kong with local detective Jackie Chan following a trail of destruction taking him to Macau, Siberia, Erenhot in Inner Mongolia, and the Mongolian desert. MGM’s interiors and exterior will star as cinematic backdrops in various scenes, with the Grande Praça, the majestic and opulent Villa, and the VIP Hotel Lobby and Main Hotel Lobby all getting their ‘15 minutes of fame.’

During a break in filming, Chan - who, besides starring, wrote the original story - revealed that his interest in Macau goes back some 35 or 40 years. “I knew Macau so well when it had only one casino; today it’s totally different,” he said, noting, too, the difference between U.S. and Chinese filmmaking. “In America there are so many rules, you know; the actor cannot touch the table - you cannot do this, you cannot do that because those are the rules (…) In China it’s a bit different.”

Finnish director Renny Harlin has become a regular in big Hollywood productions but had never visited Macau before, saying that Jackie Chan sparked his curiosity in the city. “When I met Jackie the first thing he was talking about was Macau. I had never been to Macau and he said ‘you have to see Macau, it’s so fantastic.’ And he also said that we have to make a big important part of the movie take place in Macau because the rest of the world should see what a great place it is. That’s why we’re here, just because he loves this place. And now I know why he loves it so much. It’s so beautiful.”

Everybody on the crew is either from China, Hong Kong or Macau, he says, adding, “It’s been an incredible collaboration and I look forward to many more after this.” Commenting on local film talent, the director revealed that the production had hired “a lot of people from Macau, and it has been smooth, pleasant and professional.”

The shoot in Macau will mainly feature MGM but other locations are possible. “It’s a secret,” said Chan with a twinkle in his eye. The movie is slated for release at the end of 2015.