Donnie Yen Talks 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

Donnie Yen Talks 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'

Dec 24, 2015

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Devoted fans of Asian action cinema already know Donnie Yen from his many martial arts movies, but for everyone else, his upcoming role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will serve as a grand, if delayed, introduction.

Yen began his entertainment career as a stunt double in 1982, quickly graduating to star status two years later in Drunken Tai Chi. His abilities as a martial artist were abundantly on display in movies like Tiger Cage, In the Line of Duty 4, Once Upon a Time in China 2, Iron Monkey and Wing Chun. He moved to television in the mid-1990s and then nabbed supporting roles in Hollywood; look for him in Highlander: Endgame, Blade II and Shanghai Knights, the latter opposite Jackie Chan.

Unlike Chan, however, Yen has never been known for his comic abilities and it wasn't until he returned to Hong Kong that he really developed as a dramatic actor, notably in 2005's Kill Zone (aka SPL). Since then he's turned in a string of good performances while continuing to innovate as an action choreographer.

 

What, then, can we expect to see from him in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? In a new interview with THR, he stated: "I am very proud to be the first Chinese actor cast in Rogue One. It was a good and benevolent character." It appears that Yen will be playing one of the resistance fighters who undertake a daring mission to steal plans for the Death Star, shortly before the events depicted in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.

In the first cast photo (top), Yen is sitting down to the right; standing immediately behind him is Jiang Wen, an actor and filmmaker from China who starred with Yen in The Lost Bladesman in 2011. Yen choreographed the action in that movie and the trailer gives a glimpse of his skills.

 

While we don't know for certain what Yen will be doing in the movie, Rob Inch was announced as stunt choreographer. Inch is a veteran stunt man and coordinator and it's of interest that he worked as a stunt double on The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), a movie that featured a number of Asian actors, including Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh, and many Asian stunt people.

So don't be surprised if Yen breaks out some martial arts moves, like the ones he shows off in the trailer for Ip Man 3 opposite Mike Tyson.

 

Ip Man 3 opens in theaters on January 22. We'll have to wait a bit longer to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story; it opens on December 16, 2016. In the meanwhile, take a closer look at Yen in Kung Fu Killer (below), available on home video.

Kung Fu Killer

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