Donnie Yen Took on Monkey King Role to Break from Ip Man Past
Donnie Yen (甄子丹) admitted that he turned to his son for inspiration when he decided to take on the titular role in The Monkey King <西遊記之大鬧天宮>.
Yesterday, the cast of The Monkey King went to Taiwan to promote the upcoming fantasy action film, which is directed by Cheang Pou Soi (鄭保瑞). In order to fully grasp the monkey characteristics of his role, Donnie revealed that he did his homework by watching a lot of documentaries and animations that featured monkeys.
However, Donnie added that his main inspiration actually came from watching his youngest son James, who was only two years old at the time, playing and jumping around at home. “Watching him, I immediately found that feeling of childhood innocence for my character.”
Best known for his critically-acclaimed portrayal of Wing Chun master Ip Man in the Ip Man <葉問> films, Donnie was asked why he decided to take on a controversial role like the Monkey King. He expressed, “Breaking through performances is my motivation!”
Donnie once suggested to the director to remove his name from the film’s billboards and posters. He expressed his desire to move from his iconic Ip Man role, saying, “No matter what I do, people would still see me as Ip Man. Hopefully, through this film, the audience would not be able to tell who portrayed the Monkey King. I want to keep people guessing, and I want the audience to feel that they’re watching a brand new Donnie Yen through my expressions.”
For the first time in his career, Donnie brought his children to the premiere of The Monkey King. He said his children enjoyed the movie immensely and was completely immersed in the world of heavenly fantasy. “They were so into it. In the scene where the nine-tailed fox gets killed, my son screamed, ‘No!’”
The Monkey King, starring Chow Yun Fat (周潤發), Aaron Kwok (郭富城), Joe Chen (陳喬恩), Peter Ho (何潤東), and more, puts a spin on the origin story of Sun Wukong – known as the Monkey King – the main protagonist in the classical Chinese novel, Journey to the West <西遊記>. The film opens on January 30 in Hong Kong and on January 31 in mainland China, Singapore, and Malaysia. It will premiere in Taiwan on February 7.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.