Will Smith Almost Teamed Up With Jackie Chan For One of the Best Action Movies of Chan’s Hollywood Career

Will Smith almost shared the screen with Jackie Chan in the 1998 buddy action comedy film.

Oscar-winning actor Will Smith has given some incredible performances throughout his career. He has showcased his acting prowess through a range of roles spanning drama, comedy, and action. Despite his considerable talent, the actor has lost several big opportunities, particularly due to his personal preferences, one of which also includes the 1998 hit buddy action comedy film Rush Hour.

Will Smith in King Richard


Starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, the film became a massive success, solidifying Chan’s status as a Hollywood star. However, before Tucker was cast as the street-smart LAPD Detective, Smith was offered the role but opted not to pursue it.

Will Smith Was Offered the Role of Carter in Rush Hour

It’s hard to envision anyone other than Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in the iconic buddy cop franchise of Rush Hour. Fans still cherish the lively antics and unparalleled chemistry between the comedic duo in the original film, making it a standout in both actors’ careers.

Rush Hour (1998)

Surprisingly, Tucker was not the first choice to share the screen with Chan in the 1998 film, as the role of James Carter was initially offered to Will Smith. The filmmakers reportedly wanted to cast established actors in the movie.

Their preference for Carter’s role included Dave Chappelle and the Bad Boys stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Smith and Lawrence had already starred in the 1995 buddy cop film, which followed two Miami narcotics detectives and was a box office hit.


Bad Boys (1995)

However, all the actors the makers approached turned down their offer, including the Men in Black star. Smith was allegedly not interested in doing another buddy cop movie after Bad Boys. And the role of James Carter eventually went to Chris Tucker.

Despite not securing a star like Smith, Rush Hour would go on to become a massive success, grossing $244 million worldwide against an estimated budget of $33 million. The franchise continued with two follow-up sequels, and discussions about a fourth installment are ongoing.

Will Smith Would Eventually Collaborate With Jackie Chan

While Will Smith and Jackie Chan were not able to share the screen in the 1998 film, Rush Hour, they would eventually collaborate for the 2010 film The Karate Kid. The movie features Smith’s son Jaden Smith alongside the now 69-year-old actor.

Will Smith and Jaden Smith in a still from Pursuit of Happyness

Talking about their collaboration in an appearance on Lopez Tonight, Chan shared that he initially met the King Richard star in a “Japanese restaurant” where he suggested that they should do a movie together. While he took the suggestion lightly, he was surprised when Smith approached him for The Karate Kid.

“One year later, he just called my office, ‘Jackie, I want you to do The Karate Kid,’” he recalled. The Police Story star initially presumed that he would be playing the titular character, before realizing, “how old I am.” Smith then told him that he would be playing the role of the teacher.

The Karate Kid (2010)

The Oscar-winning actor served as a producer alongside his wife Jada Pinkett Smith for The Karate Kid, which was a box-office success, earning $359 million worldwide. Chan praised Smith’s efforts as the film’s producer and also credited him with its success.


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