Donnie Yen ready for Star Wars Rogue One and Xander Cage

Donnie Yen ready for Star Wars Rogue One and Xander Cage

Hong Kong-born actor Donnie Yen is set to reach new heights, starring in prominent roles in two Hollywood blockbusters – Star Wars’ Rogue One (2016) and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (2017).

The Ip Man-famed action star plays Chirrut Îmwe in the Lucasfilm production. Here is the official description of his character:

“Deeply spiritual, Chirrut Îmwe believes all living things are connected through the Force. His sightless eyes do not prevent him from being a highly skilled warrior.

“Though he lacks Force abilities, this warrior monk has rigorously honed his body through intense physical and mental discipline.”

The first full trailer, since releasing on YouTube on August 11, 2016, has effortlessly clocked over 13 million views. Check it out!

Along with renowned actor Jiang Wen (Baze Malbus), they are believed to be the first Chinese characters to appear in a film franchise that has been the target of discussions of diversity and representation.

His next project in Hollywood, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, would seem to break some new grounds as well.

The 53-year-old star plays a warrior Xiang, and from the looks of the adrenaline-fused trailer, he’s certainly someone you don’t want to mess with!

Donnie Yen ready for Star Wars Rogue One and Xander Cage
Photo credit: Donnie Yen Facebook

Describing Xiang, Donnie says:

“It’s a positive role, I am the new xXx agent who will team up with Vin [Diesel] to take down all bad guys!”

What a breath of fresh air to see an Asian actor cast in an empowering role in a mainstream movie!

Not that Rick Yune (Die Another Day), Ng Chin Han (The Dark Knight) or Jet Li (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) haven’t done a superb job nailing it as the captivating villains, but Donnie fighting alongside Vin will be a welcome change.

Besides, as a fellow Hongkonger, I could not be more proud to see him do his thing in a film that is bound to make all the right noises at the international box office.

Take a look at the stunning trailer:

Star Wars Rogue One will release on December 16, 2016, while Xander Cage will come out on January 20, 2017.

It is going to be a good year for Donnie Yen, who will undoubtedly open the doors for more amazing opportunities for Chinese and Asian actors everywhere!

Jay Chou makes history with Now You See Me 2

Jay Chou makes history with Now You See Me 2

Taiwanese superstar and star of Now You See Me 2, Jay Chou, is the first Chinese artist to pen and perform music for a Hollywood film.

Simply titled ‘Now You See Me’, the upbeat track also marks the first time any Hollywood production features a Chinese-language song as its official theme song.

Although his vocals are also featured in Kungfu Panda 3’s ‘Try’, it is more a collaboration with Canadian-Taiwanese Patrick Brasca and contains more English lyrics.

Not only can Jay call ‘Now You See Me’ truly his own, he even takes over the director’s chair to create a dazzling music video for his second Hollywood venture.

Peppered with his signature style that fuses R&B, Hip-Hop and classical Chinese elements, this is the perfect song to introduce his musical genius to a global audience!

The song has been released as part of his latest and 14th album ‘Bedtime Stories’, and the video has already collected over 3 million views on YouTube!

Watch the video of ‘Now You See Me’ here:

Jay plays Li, a magic shop owner, in the Jon Chu-directed Now You See Me 2 – a sequel to 2013’s Now You See Me.

This is his second acting role in Hollywood and gladly, one that yields more commercial and critical success than his debut as Kato in Green Hornet (2011).

It helps that the 37-year-old singer-songwriter gets to share the silver screen with A-listers and Oscar nominees Mark Ruffalo and Jesse Eisenberg.

The calibre of his other cast members – Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and the refreshing Daniel Redcliffe – is also a big step-up from that in the lacklustre revival of the 1960s TV series.

This will undoubtedly open many more doors for him in Hollywood and beyond.

Despite some criticism of a flaky storyline, the crime thriller has grossed over US$238 million worldwide to date, against a budget of $90 million.

In fact, the stylishly-shot film has raked in $94m in China alone, reportedly a staggering 679 per cent up from the first installment. Looks like Lionsgate have Jay to thank for that!

A third installment is already in the works. Will Jay, who has a real life passion for playing magic tricks and unparalleled star power across Asia, reprise his role?

Wedding: The Date ♥ 婚禮: 吉日

You’ve found your dream venue. You pray it’s available for your dream date. In the not-so-sunny UK, it’s a desperate fight and risky gamble among 200,000+ couples for a beautiful spring/summer wedding. The dilemma in Hong Kong, however, is more tradition-related.

The Chinese believe marriage – one of the most important life-events – should take place at the right time, in the right place and with the right people. By doing so, the couple will be blessed with eternal happiness, which is extended to their parents. Hence, the tradition called “擇吉日” (choose a good day).

In order to work out the “good day”, you need to get hold of a copy of “通勝” (Tung Shing) which is written based on Lunar calendar and provides comprehensive information and guidance for what the suitable activities are for each day of the year. If you struggle to decipher its language (don’t worry, most people probably do), the alternative is to visit a Feng Shui Master at a temple. You can find many of these dotted around Hong Kong, with the most popular one in 黃大仙 (Wong Tai Sin).

13 - Tung Shing
The fate of a Chinese marriage is in the hands of Tung Shing.

As the saying goes, “a marriage is not between two people but two families”, the “good day” takes into account the birth dates of six people – the couple and both parents. Some say the wedding day should avoid the exact dates, while others believe only the birthday months should be avoided, both with a goal of not “sharing” or “diminishing” the happiness of their elders. The “good day” also takes into account some traditional Chinese festivals related to the departed. According to Lunar calendar, the third, seventh and ninth month are not suitable for weddings. This is roughly equivalent to April, August and October in Western calendar, during which prayers are offered and rituals are performed for the deceased. As you can gather by now, strict adherence to the traditions and rules would quickly eliminate a number of months in the year.

The Brits also have some interesting traditions for choosing wedding dates, but they are rather myths than guidelines to be followed. There are different old verses or poems that describe which month is good for marriage and what kind of fortune it brings, and vice versa – not dissimilar to the spirit of “通勝”. A common one is May, because apparently if you “marry in the month of May, you’ll surely rue the day”. And if you marry in June, “life will be one long honeymoon”. Think I’ll remember that next time I sign a wedding card.

The day of the week matters to the Brits, too. An old English poem once says, “Monday for wealth / Tuesday for health / Wednesday the best day of all / Thursday for crosses / Friday for losses / Saturday, no luck at all”. Hmmm, I believe we have found the culprit to a rising divorce rate, as almost 60% of weddings in the UK take place on Saturdays!

Seeing as I am from Hong Kong and my husband is from the UK with some Chinese roots, our wedding is clearly going to be a yummy fusion. We flirted with the idea of an August wedding simply because it would be a lot cheaper, but quickly decided against it as some family members weren’t comfortable with having a “red” (wedding) and “white” (ghost festival) occasion in the same month. This was about the only religious instruction from our family, fair enough. At the end of the day, we wanted as many family and close friends to attend as possible. So it was clear to us July was the answer. We knew it would be hot as hell and those typhoons would creep up on us anytime, but it would be summer holiday for everyone and this was particularly important for our family and friends abroad. As for the day, Saturday suited most guests as crazy working hours in Hong Kong means Fridays are ruled out and Sundays are reserved for rest.

Our simple guide to setting a wedding date:

  1. Guests’ availability
  2. Venue availability
  3. Avoid crossing the lines on those key traditions and respect our cultures

This obviously varies from couple to couple, but should get you started on how to approach the first step in wedding planning if you have a multicultural family.

Last but not least, here is one of my recent favourite songs to get you in the mood while planning the best day of your life!