The Role That Changed Owen Wilson’s Life


Owen Wilson is an outstanding actor who also considers himself a natural-born screenwriter, as evidenced by his talent for improvisation. But at the same time, he received recognition from viewers worldwide as a talented comedian. Films such as Zoolander, Wedding Crashers, and Meet the Parents made Wilson stand out among modern masters of the comedy genre.

His very first steps in Hollywood can hardly be called successful, but everything changed after he met the popular comedian Ben Stiller, who believed in Owen and his talent so much that he invited him to almost all of his projects, bringing sweet fame to both of them. Even though Wilson’s filmography now has over 50 projects, the one that changed the course of his entire career was the Shanghai Noon.

In this comedy set in the Wild West directed by Tom Day, Owen Wilson played his first major role — a train robber named Roy O’Bannon. In the story, he, together with Chon Wang, played by Jackie Chan, tries to find the kidnapped Chinese Princess Pei Pei, masterfully portrayed by Lucy Liu. Wilson did not receive any awards or accolades for this role, neither did Jackie Chan, but Lucy got the Blockbuster Entertainment Award.

With a budget of $55 million, the film grossed about $100 million worldwide, and the sequel, Shanghai Knights, was immediately greenlit and released in 2003. This time, the dynamic duo’s adventures continued in London, alongside such talented actors as Aaron Johnson, Tom Fisher, and Gemma Jones. But it was still the original that skyrocketed Owen’s career.

After Shanghai Noon, Gene Hackman, one of the oldest and most respected Hollywood actors, recommended Wilson for the action movie Behind Enemy Lines, based on the true story of an American pilot, who was portrayed by Owen Wilson. The aforementioned comedy Zoolander was Wilson’s next big thing, bringing him and Stiller a nomination for the Best Screen Duo from MTV Awards. 

Today Owen’s most promising project is the show Loki on Disney+, where he plays a TBA agent who really loves jetski for some unspecified reason.