Jackie Chan had only just arrived in Dublin to begin shooting on The Highbinders when he revealed that he is already planning a return visit to film the sequel to Shanghai Noon.
His presence in Ireland was a curious story to begin with; he is making the biggest Hong Kong movie of all time in the country. But Chan topped that at a Dublin press conference on Friday (Aug 10) by saying he will be back in Ireland next year to shoot Shanghai Knights. And all that despite the fact that he cannot get to grips with the weather and has no real love for the nation's favourite drink, Guinness.
The flavour-of-the-moment star, who was reportedly paid $20m for Rush Hour 2, was doing some rest-day PR for local press for The Highbinders with co-stars Lee Evans, Claire Forlani, and John Rhys Davies and the film's co-directors Gordon Chan and the legendary Sammo Hung.
Chan, who is himself a backer of the $35m Emperor Multimedia Group project, admitted that Ireland's tax breaks for movie-makers were a major reason for filming there. EMG spokesman and The Highbinders co-screenwriter Bey Logan explained that once it became clear that the production would use Ireland rather than Australia they worked up some Irish angles to the story. Evans plays a bumbling Irish detective who becomes Chan's partner in crime-busting.
Chan was quick to praise the local facilities "The Irish crew working with us are just fantastic. We want to learn something here, we want to be Irish."
Shanghai Knights is set to be directed by David Dobkin for Disney-backed Spyglass Entertainment with shooting beginning in February 2002. Chan re-teams with Owen Wilson in a Victorian London-set chase to uncover a conspiracy to overthrow the Chinese and British empires.
Filming of The Highbinders continues in Ireland until the end of this month, before a break, while Chan shoots The Tuxedo. Shooting will then resume in Asia in December this year or January 2002.