Jet Li is a Chinese film actor, film producer, martial artist, and wushu champion, known for his lightning fast moves and inventive choreography. Here are 50 facts about the actor:
- Jet Li is the fifth child of Li Qingquan and Zhang Feng Lan. He was born on April 26, 1963 in Beijing, China, in a town called Hebei. He lost his father at the age of two.
- He started to learn martial arts at the age of eight. Even in between a lot of struggle after his father’s death, Li’s natural talent made him win his first national championship in Wushu (Chinese combat arts) at the age of 11.
- He performed martial arts on the white house lawn in front of Richard Nickson and Henry Kissinger as part of people’s junior Wushu team.
- Jet Li won five gold medals in martial arts during his childhood. He was crowned “Gold Champion” at the Chinese martial arts competition.
- Before attaining teenage, Jet Li won five national titles in Wushu and even got the name as Jet, for his blazing speed in martial arts.
- He was in fact nicknamed as Jet after a publicity company in a Philippines, found his real name too difficult to pronounce.
- It is reported that Li, as a child, was asked by President Richard Nixon to be his personal body guard, when the Chinese National Wushu team went to perform for the President in United States. He replied, "I don't want to protect any individual. When I grow up, I want to defend my one billion Chinese countrymen."
- He was married to Huang Qiuyan in the year 1987. Their marriage lasted only for 3 years. She was his WUSHU team member and his co star in the movie “Kids from Shaolin”. They were together till 1990 and got divorced. He has two daughters with Qiuyan - Si and Taimi.
- His second wife is Nina Li Chi, who is also a Shanghai-born actress and they married in 1999. He had two daughters with Nina Li – Jane and Jada.
- He became a Singapore citizen during 2009, by renouncing the US Citizenship. He did so because the education system in Singapore is good for his daughters.
- Jet Li made his directional debut with the film “Born to Defence” in the year 1986. He also worked as martial arts choreographer in this film.
- The reason behind Li’s minute scar on his nose is that it was broken during the filming of a boxing scene in “Born to Defence.”
- He made his debut in the film “Shaolin temple” in the year 1982. The development of the film, which was based on the martial arts, started in 1979.
- He made his first debut in the Hollywood film called “Lethal Weapon 4” in 1998 as a villain. This film was directed by Richard Donner. This also marks his first ever villain role in his entire career.
- When he made his Hollywood debut, all he knew was only a few words in English, like ‘Good Morning,’ ‘Thank you,’ and so on, and had to learn fully. Remembering that in an interview with Los Angeles Time, he said, “When I started I only knew how to say “good morning," “thank you” and few single words. Warner Bros hired a teacher and he taught me enough. If you want to make Hollywood movies you need to study [English]."
- Jet Li’s character name in this film “Lethal Weapon 4,” was Wah Sing Ku. Jackie Chan was the first person chosen for the role, who refused to perform the role as villain.
- During one particular fight sequence in the movie “Lethal Weapon 4,” Jet Li’s actions were so fast that the camera was not able to capture all his moves. The director asked Jet Li to perform his actions again, but slowly.
- Li acted for free for the drama “Ocean Heaven” in 2010 and it was his first full dramatic role.
- Li’s unsatisfied film was “War” in 2007. He has expressed his dissatisfaction about the movie, in many interviews stating that he was not happy with this film.
- His first leading role in Hollywood was as Han Sing in the film “Romeo Must Die” in 2000. It was after the producer Joel Silver promising him the lead role in this movie that he agreed to do the villain role in “Lethal Weapon 4.”
- Even though Jet Li was not good in English in the film “Romeo Must Die,” his character attracted the audience and was also well received.
- He was initially cast as Li Mu Bai in the 2000 movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” but had to turn it down, due to his promise to his wife Nina Li Chi that he would not work while she was pregnant.
- His film “Fearless” was released in the year 2006. This film is based on a kung fu master who turns from a fighter into a man. This film brought the message that martial arts is only for self betterment.
- He was awarded as the Best Actor for his performance in “Fearless” by Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards.
- Jet Li performed the role of policeman in the film “Kiss The Dragon,” which was banned in China because he played a character that kills the foreigners. He was also the writer of this film.
- Last fight scene of the film “Once Upon a Time in China – 2” was performed by Li with plaster on his knee. It was damaged while he was jumping from a tea shop with umbrella.
- The first film where both Jet Li and Jackie Chan acted together was “The Forbidden Kingdom” in 2008. In the movie, Chan played the role of Drunken master Lu Yan and Li played the role of a silent monk.
- In “The Forbidden Kingdom,” Chan expressed that he was very comfortable in fighting with Li as he was synchronized in the movement with Chan.
- His another famous movie is “The One” in 2001, in which he is seen fighting and killing an alternate universal version of himself. In the scene in which he fights against his alternate version was shot by painting green colour in the face of a stunt man who has similar physic like Jet Li. And after that they replaced digitally Jet Li’s face in the stuntman face.
- Almost 18000 Authentic soldiers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army and 300 Ebony horsed were utilized in Li’s film “Hero.”
- Fighting moves like cheek slap, back of the head slap were removed from “The Fearless” by Li, as he felt that these moves were impudent or uncultured to the western peoples.
- “The Expendables” and “The Expendables 2” is the third and fourth films respectively that Jason Statham and Jet Li have acted together, following “The One” in 2001 and “War” in 2007.
- Jet Li’s Character name in the film “Expendables” was Yin Yang. Originally, his character's name was listed as Kong Kao.
- In the film “The Expendables 2” complete scenes of Jet Li’s were shot in Hong Kong since he was busy in acting in another film at the same time.
- Jet Li has been known as Astaire of Hong Kong action film. It is reported that although he was very brave through all the action scenes in front of the people who are in the set, still his face turns red when a girl moves close to him.
- Being a Tibetan Buddhist, Jet Li has strong belief in “The difficulties of everyday life can be overcome with the help of religious philosophies.”
- When Jet Li was spending his time at Maldives during the year 2006, he and his family managed to escape from the Tsunami. This led Jet Li to start the “One Foundation” Charity, with the main idea of disaster relief, health and education.
- The concept of Li’s charity company “One Foundation,” is that everyone has to contribute one dollar or 1 yuan each month from their earning. He notes that one dollar is not a smaller amount and also one million dollar is not a bigger amount. The idea of donating to the public is more important that any.
- In February 2009, Former U. S. President Bill Clinton spoke about Li’s “One foundation” that “The ‘One Foundation’ believes as I do in the strength of our common humanity, and the spirit of giving is the same no matter how much money you give or how many hours you volunteer.”
- In the year 2009 Jet Li teamed up with the British Prime Minister and launched a project called “Thousand Village Project” which deals with the way of use of the electrical energy in the village homes. This project creates awareness and educates the public to use solar energy for the electrical consumption.
- He donated 500,000 Yuan to Red Cross for their project supporting mental health. The money was from his box office collection from the movie “Fearless”. He is also a Philanthropic ambassador of that society.
- He was appointed by "International Red Cross", as the first Good Will Ambassador in the year 2007.
- Jet Li and Jackie Chan joined their hands in helping the victims who were affected by Typhoons which divested Taiwan during the year 2009. They helped the victims both physically and financially.
- In 2013, Li revealed in a Chinese Talent Show that he is suffering from Hyperthyroidism which according to him is the reason for his recent weight gain. He was diagnosed during the year of 2010. He has been advised not to do any exercise.
- AMPAS – Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science which declares Oscar every year has invited Jet Li to join it as a voting member in the year 2008. Li is now one of the voting members, who decide about Oscar Award Winning candidates.
- In 2011, Jet Li formed a program called “Taiji Zen,” along with co-founder and executive chairman Jack Ma. Taiji Zen actually combines the Martial arts Taijiquan with mindfulness practises like Meditation.
- His upcoming movie with a budget of 300 million HKD is “Feng Shen Bang” 3D film, in which his character name is Jiang Ziya.
- Jet Li has capitalized on the recent instability in Chinese equities. Li and Nina Li have invested HK$1.15 billion in Far East Holding International Limited, a Hong Kong listed holding company.
- It is reported that he had recently spent three months in Asia to learn more about Buddhism. "In Tibet I was not able to shower for two weeks," he told in an interview. "There was no hot running water. But while I was there, I was truly happy."
- Jet Li and Jackie Chan are planning to collaborate once again for another movie, following their first teaming up in "The Forbidden Kingdom." Both Li and Chan revealed their desire to work together at Hong Kong news conference, to promote the "Lion Gate Films."
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Editor's Rating : 9.9 out of 10