By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 25, 2002 10:00 AM

With his new movie, “The Tuxedo,” set to open Friday, action star Jackie Chan hopes his fans will accept his romancing of Jennifer Love Hewitt. In fact, he tells Reuters, he hopes audiences will accept him as a lot more than just a high-kicking hero.

“I don’t want ‘Rush Hour’ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,” said Chan, 48, referring to his box-office hits with Chris Tucker. He calls “The Tuxedo” his opportunity “to let audiences see I have different style.”

In “Tuxedo,” Chan goes from driving a cab in jeans and a T-shirt to becoming a rich man’s chauffeur. And, yes, despite the relationship between Chan and Hewitt, there are stunts involved.

“She can do everything,” Chan said, speaking of his 23-year-old costar. “Even men say, ‘I’m not going to do that, Jackie. It’s too dangerous, ooh, it’s too difficult.’ She never says too difficult.”

Still, as he pushes 50, Chan faces the difficulty of growing older. “I don’t want somebody to later mention my name, always ‘Jackie Chan,'” he said, making a yelping karate cry, “Hi-ya,” and holding up his fists in a fighting pose.

“Why does nobody ever say, ‘Robert De Niro?'” he added, mimicking the same “Hi-ya” and fist action.

Two words, Jackie: “Raging Bull.”