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Working with Jackie Chan a dream come true for martial artist and filmmaker Maria Tran

Originally published in the Fairfield Advance:

Marital artist, stuntwoman and filmmaker Maria Tran’s ultimate career goal is to be like her Hong Kong action star idol.

“Eventually, I want to be like a female Jackie Chan,” Tran said.

So being selected by Screen NSW as a stunt attachment on Chan’s film Bleeding Steel, the biggest budget Chinese film to shoot in Australia, was a dream come true for Tran.

The feature is the first film announced under the NSW Government’s $20 million Made in NSW fund.

The Carramar resident, who started martial arts in Year 8 because she was picked on at school, honed her skills at community martial arts group Dong Thanh, formerly based in Fairfield. She was raised on Chan’s films and cites the “fish out of water” flick Rumble in the Bronx as a childhood favourite.

“Growing up you either watched Neighbours and Home and Away, or you popped in that VHS tape that your uncle might have brought over,” she said.

“The family would always get together to watch his films, and we’d enjoy the fact that Jackie’s this brilliant underdog that goes through a lot.

“Finally he fights through adversity and wins the day.”

She said Chan’s films drew parallels to the “migrant story”. “We related to that. We all came to Australia and wanted to contribute and make our families proud,” she said.

Tran said her first time on the filmset in the company of Chan was “surreal”.

“I spent more time avoiding him than trying to meet him!” she said.

“Now we’re three weeks in. Jackie is such a ball of energy; he’s a larrikin. He’s like a big kid on set.”

Working on Bleeding Steel also offered Tran an ending for her documentary, The Quest for Jackie Chan, six years in the making.

“It’s about a western Sydney girl who wants to meet her idol,” she said.

“It never got completed because I’d never met Jackie Chan. Now that I’ve met him I’m hopefully able to finish it.”


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