Donnie Yen (甄子丹) is currently filming for the popular Hollywood franchise John Wick: Chapter 4 with Keanu Reeves. Getting along extremely well despite their first-time partnership, Donnie praised Keanu for being a “gentleman” and a “lovely soul.”
Describing Keanu as a talented and hardworking actor, Donnie spilled, “He was even better than I imagined. He pushes himself to do everything by himself. He puts in the hours and the work. I respect him, and he is a cool guy to work with.”
Director Chad Stahelski also impressed with his broad spanning knowledge. With the cast and crew working well together, Donnie enthused that this is the happiest experience he had while filming for a Hollywood movie.
Calls for Fair Asian Representation
Despite filming many different movies and several Hollywood projects over his 40-year career, Donnie still has a dream, “I want to represent my Chinese culture and roots. The majority of people don’t understand the beauty of our culture, and what we can do for the world. Unfortunately, Chinese actors are not always given opportunities. Why are the Chinese actors always stereotyped? It’s about the person, not how they look. I want to be the person to do something about it before I retire.”
When prompted that Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings features an all Asian cast, Donnie responded, “What I’m trying to say is, have they done their research with the culture, language, and how we dress and talk? It’s not my intention to criticize and I appreciate what [Hollywood] has done so far, but there is still so much more they can do.”
Remembers Benny Chan’s Passion
A martial arts legend, all of Donnie’s action movies have performed exceptionally well at the box office, including his new movie Raging Fire <怒火> which reignited interest in Hong Kong movies.
“We were originally going to film the movie in Mexico, and had spent a lot of money in pre-production. [Director] Benny Chan (陳木勝) said the film company wanted to put the project on hold, as it cost more than they expected so we switched to making a local film,” Donnie revealed.
With Benny passing away before post-production was finished, the director did not see the strong reception Raging Fire received. “I got a call from Benny one day, and he said that he has cancer but he remained optimistic. He did admit that it was very painful and could not eat. The month before he passed away, the one thing I remember most is that despite his deteriorating condition, all he talked about was how he could make Raging Fire better. He was so in love with movie making, and this will be a very big loss to the Chinese film industry.”
Benny’s passion for filmmaking inspired Donnie to pursue his own dream projects too. For years, Donnie had planned to turn Sleeping Dogs, a popular video game with a storyline centered around Hong Kong triads, into a movie. While the project has not moved along, he remains hopeful. “I’ve been collaborating with Neil Moritz and Toby Ascher, and I’m talking with a few big platforms. Every day, they tell me it’s going to happen. I believe in destiny–if it work out, then hopefully it’ll be early next year.”
This article is written by Kiki for JayneStars.com.