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!
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!