The Film That Lit My Fuse is a Deadline video series that aims to provide an antidote to headlines about industry uncertainty by swinging the conversation back to the creative ambitions, formative influences and inspirations of some of today’s great screen artists.
Every installment asks the same five questions. Today’s subject is Donnie Yen, the Chinese actor, martial artist, feature director, producer, action choreographer and stuntman. A world Wushu champion numerous times and an expert in an array of other martial arts styles, Yen established himself as one of Hong Kong’s top action stars with films including the four Ip Man films and action films including Chasing the Dragon, before establishing himself in U.S. films that include Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and xXx: Return of Xander Cage. Yen next stars in the live action adaptation of Mulan, which premieres September 4 on Disney +.
Yen grew up in Guangzhou, China, and his family moved to Hong Kong and then to Boston, where he spent much of his formative years. The iconic martial artists action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping would become a big influence, and as Yen describes here, he established himself as the successor to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li with his incredible fitness and blinding speed. Then he put his focus into becoming the best actor he could, along with choreography, director and editor, with the meticulous attention that distinguishes his films.
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