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?