Aspiring action stars take note: You don't have to crack heads in kung fu to make it big. And that's coming from Jackie Chan, one of the biggest names in the business.
Chan has been canvassing applicants to his new Chinese talent TV show, "The Disciple," and he's frustrated by the emphasis placed on kung fu skills.
He said in a blog entry on his Web site Monday that he's looking for grace in movement, be it from sports, dance or kung fu.
"One of the people who registered for the competition did a sword dance on her demo tape. It was awful! But then she also did a regular dance and it was just beautiful. She was a terrific dancer," the actor wrote.
Chan said a background in kung fu was not necessary to succeed as an action star, citing former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star Zhang Ziyi as examples.
"Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi knew nothing about kung fu - but they were dancers. With their dancing skills, they quickly and easily learned the stunts and movements from the stunt choreographers," he said.
Chan said modern movie technology can enhance the look of kung fu moves.
"Action actors today are not required to be able to knock down an opponent such as George Foreman! As long as you have basic skills in action or movement and you can take direction from the stunt choreographers, the skills of the cameraman and the other technical staff will make you look like a kung fu master even if you're not," he said.
"In my movies, I don't want any violent action. I'm looking for people who have beautiful and rhythmic movement so that the action can look something like dancing," Chan said.
Chan himself was trained in Peking Opera and is known for his comical, dance-like moves and stunts.
By contrast, another action star, Jet Li, was a national kung fu champion in China before he crossed over to the film industry.