Never Forget: Jackie Chan Spent His Teens In Canberra Where He Was Known As Steve

He's an Aussie!

Never Forget: Jackie Chan Spent His Teens In Canberra Where He Was Known As Steve

Jackie Chan offers up a startling confession soon after he sits down for a chat.

"I am Australian," Chan, the legendary 63-year-old Hong Kong-born martial arts star, told AAP last weekend while promoting his new animated family-comedy film, The Lego Ninjago Movie.

It's the first of numerous startling insights into Chan's little-known and influential years growing up in Canberra and the long connection his parents, Charles and Lee-Lee Chan, have with Australia.

Both were buried in Canberra.

Known worldwide as "Jackie Chan" after making more than 100 Hollywood and Asian films including the Police Story and Rush Hour franchises, Shanghai Noon and The Tuxedo, Chan has had a few different names - several from his time in Australia.

If it wasn't for Australia the world would not know him as Jackie.

When he attended the ACT's Dickson College he was known as "Steve".

Around the US Embassy in Canberra where his parents worked he was known as Pao.

"When I go to try to learn English at school they call me Steve," Chan said.

"I tried to find a job.

"A guy said 'What's your English name?' and I said 'I don't have one'.

"My friend was a driver for the embassy.

"His name was Jack so it was, 'Ok, call him Jack'.

Oh yeah.

Chan offered another interesting tidbit - his dad was a spy.

Chan Sr was hiding out at the US Embassy in Canberra because he was a Chinese nationalist agent who originally fled China to Hong Kong to avoid being captured by rival Communists.

"My father was spy hiding in Hong Kong and hiding in Australia at the American embassy for so many years," Chan said.

Chan, however, spent most of his young life estranged from his parents.

While they lived in Canberra he grew up at a Hong Kong boarding school where he trained in martial arts and acrobatics.

It was only in his teens he permanently joined them in Australia.

A son estranged from his dad is a key theme of his new Ninjago movie.

A team of young ninjas battle the evil warlord Gamardon (voiced by Justin Theroux), who repeatedly attempts to invade the ninja's island city of Ninjago.

Garmadon is the estranged father of green ninja, Lloyd (Dave Franco).

The film was made in Sydney by Australian digital studio Animal Logic and Chan shot live action scenes as his character Master Wu in Sydney, and also provided the voice for the same character as a Lego figure.

While in Sydney the workaholic Chan also shot the action film Bleeding Steel, including fight scenes on top of the Sydney Opera House, while working on Lego Ninjago.

"I'm the first person fighting on top of the Opera House," Chan proudly said.

"At the same time I'm dubbing the Lego movie.

"Night time I'm dubbing.

"Day time I'm filming."

When Chan, as a teenager, left Australia and went to Hong Kong to pursue an acting career he took his Aussie "Jack" name, but extended it to "Jacky".

"Later on when I knew a little bit of English I said , 'Jack, no good, No rhythm'," Chan said.

"Then I said, 'OK, I'll put 'y' for Jacky Chan'.

"Then I made movies, but none were a success.

"The box office was no good.

"Then I changed to another company, Golden Harvest, and they said 'y is no good. You should change it to ie - Jackie'.

"They changed the posters from 'y' to 'ie' and the movies were a big success."

The Lego Ninjago Movie is playing in Australia.

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