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Jackie Chan is returning to the small screen — in animated form.
The Hong Kong action-comedy icon will next appear in J-Team: All New Jackie Chan Adventures, a children’s 3D cartoon series featuring a child version of Chan and a team of kid protagonists who defend a magical dreamland against monster invaders.
The 104-episode series cost an estimated $6 million to produce and is set to air on three children’s satellite TV channels and 200 terrestrial channels across China. The show also stars child actress Kyana “Poppy” Downs, one of the breakout stars from the smash-hit Chinese reality series Dad, Where Are We Going?
Aimed at children ages 3 to 10, the show was designed to both entertain and impart positive values, with storylines highlighting traditional Chinese virtues and healthy habits. At the end of each episode, Chan briefly appears in live-action form to drive the lesson home and give encouragement.
“It’s meant to help young children to do things they don’t always like to do — like, don’t look at your phone for too long, remember to brush your teeth, respect your elders, pick up the trash,” Chan said during a small press gathering held on the eve of the Beijing International Film Festival in the Chinese capital.
He added: “If you just tell them that, sometimes children won’t listen, but through comedy and action, then they will start to follow.”
Chan’s production partners Zhejiang Talent Television & Film, Khorgas JJ Culture Media Co., and VJ Animation Studio have broad transmedia ambitions for the property, with a feature film planned for 2019, merchandising production underway and even theme park attractions in development.
But Chan’s goals are more straightforward. “That’s the investors,” he said. “They have so many plans. For me, I just want to make a cartoon for the children around the world.”
“Probably, when the theme park is finished, I’ll be 80,” the actor, now 63 and over four decades into his film career, added. “I just care about this year. I don’t have time to do other things. They squeeze Jackie Chan.”
The new show is a follow-up of sorts to Chan’s U.S.-made animation series, Jackie Chan Adventures, which aired on Kids’s WB from 2000 to 2005 in more than 60 countries.
“It used to be very difficult for China’s movie industry to go abroad,” Chan said. “Now, China has the capital and the ability to start purchasing foreign companies.”
“[This show] is not about making money — I have a lot of money already,” Chan continued (he earned $61 million last year alone, according to Forbes). “Today, what I’m really doing with this cartoon is, I can show to the world, it used to be Jackie’s adventures from America, but these days, everything is made in China.”
Producers are currently shopping the series to overseas networks, and expect to launch the show internationally later this year.
“I hope to use my influence to bring Chinese culture to the world,” Chan said.
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