Donnie Yen on Raging Fire, John Wick 4, and How Yuen Woo-ping Discovered Him - VRGyani News and Media


Sunday, August 29, 2021

Donnie Yen on Raging Fire, John Wick 4, and How Yuen Woo-ping Discovered Him

If you’re a fan of Donnie Yen and want to hear him share some fantastic behind-the-scenes stories about his life, career, and the way he changed his priorities from focusing on directing action to being a better actor, you’re going to be very happy. That’s because on a day off from filming John Wick 4 in Berlin, I landed an extended interview with Yen to talk about his latest film, Raging Fire, and his career.

During the conversation, Yen talked about why John Wick 4 has been his favorite Hollywood movie to work on, why he loves working with Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski, how Yuen Woo-ping discovered him when he was looking for a new Jackie Chan, why he’s frustrated with movies not doing a better job portraying Chinese people and their culture, what it was like making Rogue One and being part of a Star Wars movie, his favorite Chow-Yun Fat and Jackie Chan films, how he gets ready to direct action, why he’s been so focused on getting better as an actor, why The Monkey King was a nightmare to shoot, the status of the Sleeping Dogs movie (based on the video game), and so much more it would be impossible to list it all here.

But for me, the real highlight was hearing Donnie Yen talk about the Raging Fire director Benny Chan. If you didn’t know, Chan died from cancer when the film was in post-production. Yen shares what happened in the editing room and how Chan worked till the very end trying to make the film better. He also talks about the mixed feelings of having this big hit but the person who directed it is not here to see it. I’ve done a lot of interviews and it’s rare to have someone be this honest and share their personal feelings the way Yen did in this conversation.

RELATED: Donnie Yen Is Still Hopeful For That 'Sleeping Dogs' Movie: "I Believe In Destiny"

Trust me, if you are a Donnie Yen fan you are going to love watching the interview and you’ll learn a lot of things you didn’t know. Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is a full list of everything we talked about including the time index.

Raging Fire is now playing in theaters and stars Yen as a highly respected hardline cop whose past comes back to haunt him when a sting operation is attacked by a mysterious group of criminals led by Ngo (Nicholas Tse), his former protégé. It’s then a race to see who can stop who first.

Donnie Yen

  • If someone has not seen a Donnie Yen movie what film should they start with? Talks about the many roles he has played.
  • 3:00 – Why he’s having such a great time working with Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski on John Wick 4 and reveals it is his favorite thing that he’s worked on in Hollywood.
  • 4:00 - How Keanu Reeves is more than he expected.
  • 4:50 – Does he have a project that he’s always wanted to make but hasn’t been able to get the financing?
  • 6:00 – How he’s always thinking about how to make something better.
  • 7:00 – Why he’s frustrated with movies not doing justice to Chinese culture and how American movies can do better.
  • 10:00 – Is he looking forward to Shang-Chi?
  • 11:00 – How Hollywood can do better in terms of portraying Chinese characters on screen and portraying them accurately.
  • 11:45 – How he was doing a movie where the director was telling him how to hold chopsticks but didn’t know what he was talking about.
  • 12:30 – Is he thinking about directing again (not just action) which is a melting pot of China and Hollywood?
  • 14:20 – Does he have a favorite Jackie Chan movie and stunt?
  • 16:00 – What did it mean to him to be part of Rogue One and Star Wars? How he was allowed to make some changes to his character.
  • 18:30 – How a great script can lead to a bad movie and sometimes you can improvise a lot on set and it turns into an awesome film.
  • 20:20 – How movies are art but they’re also a business.
  • 21:10 – Does he have a favorite Chow-Yun Fat movie and is it The Killer or Hard Boiled? How his career changed with A Better Tomorrow.
  • 23:25 – What working with director Benny Chan meant to him and what he meant to filmmaking in Hong Kong. How they were originally going to make a film in Mexico but due to costs it didn’t happen. They made Raging Fire instead.
  • 27:25 – How he worked with Chan on the final edit of Raging Fire. Everything was going well until one day he got a call where Chan told him he had cancer and was very sick.
  • 29:30 – How even though Benny Chan was dying all he cared about was making Raging Fire better.
  • 31:00 – How Chan passed away without a final cut and the way everyone worked together to make the film as great as it could be.
  • 32:45 – How he has mixed feelings about the success of the film because the person that directed it isn’t here to see it.
  • 35:30 – How being in John Wick 4 will lead to a lot of people seeing his work for the first time.
  • 36:45 – How the past year and what he’s lost has changed him.
  • 37:35 – How does he get ready to direct action and what is his process before he steps on set?
  • 40:50 – How he had no intention of being an actor early in his career.
  • 41:15 – How Yuen Woo-ping discovered him and wanted a new Jackie Chan.
  • 42:20 – How he wanted to be great at action and directing action. Then he realized he needed to be better at acting.
  • 44:30 – Why he has focused the past decade on the character and not on action.
  • 46:00 – How the way he crafts action now is about character first.
  • 49:00 – What is the status of Sleeping Dogs? Talks about how the project happened.
  • 53:00 – How he owns the rights to the script and the movie rights.
  • 55:10 – After he wraps on John Wick 4 does he know what he is doing next?
  • 56:15 – Which was the toughest action sequence to pull off?
  • 57:35 – Why The Monkey King was a nightmare to shoot. Shares some very honest stories.
  • 1:05 – How during the making of IP Man he couldn’t lift his arms due to inflammation and how they adjusted the fight scenes.

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