An Exclusive Interview With Martial Arts Action Legend : Donnie Yen

Selected Filmography
Drunken Tai Chi
In The Line Of Duty 4
Once Upon A Time In China II
Sha Po Lang
Ip Man
Kung Fu Jungle

Donnie Yen has been involved in some of the best Martial Art/Kung Fu movies of the past 30 years. As his army of fans around the world continues to grow; Donnie continues to break new boundaries with movies such as Sha Po Lang, Flash Point, Ip Man, Iron Monkey, and the brand new Kung Fu Jungle.

Donnie Yen is always trying to make each movie better than the last, developing fighting styles which suits the mood of the characters involved in the movie.

His latest movie Kung Fu Jungle, recently held a world premier in London and the audience loved it, with many saying “It’s one of Donnie’s best ever movies”.

Donnie has concreted his place in World cinema forever and his legacy will be there for future generations. We would personally like to thank Donnie Yen for taking time to do this interview and also Bey logan for setting this up.

kung fu jungle

 

The Donnie Yen Interview

I wonder if i could start by taking you back to the early days in your career. You met Yuen Woo Ping before becoming an actor, then went on to star in your first movie Drunken Tai Chi. How did you feel at the time, working with such an iconic director and stepping in front of the camera?

Donnie : I was very happy to have the chance. Of course, I knew director Yuen’s work, and realized it was a great opportunity to work with him. I always treat him as my ‘Sifu/Shrfu’, which means ‘fatherly teacher’. I learned alot from him, and then later moved on to develop my own style. I still have the utmost respect for him, and its great that we are working together again after all these years.

 

TigerCage

 

In 1988, you starred in the movie Tiger Cage which your great friend Michael Woods appeared in also. He also appeared in the movies In The Line Of Duty, Tiger Cage 2 and others. How did your relationship start with Michael, one that has continued to grow for many years?

Donnie : I first met Michael as one of my mother’s students. He was a very good athlete and, contrary to his screen persona, he has a very quiet, easygoing nature. When I had the chance to cast foreign fighters in my Hong Kong films, of course I wanted to work with people I knew and trusted, so I turned to Stephan Berwick, Michael, John Salvitti, even Bey Logan, though I think even Bey would admit he’s not as talented as a screen fighter as the other guys! These days, Michael prefers to live a very quiet life, but we still talk occasionally.

 

kung fu jungle

You recently did the world premier in London for Kung Fu Jungle. How did that experience go and what can we expect from this movie?

Donnie : It was an amazing experience! The reaction in London was just incredible. I’ve been to London several times over the years, and I love the city. I know I have a very loyal fan base there. I’m my own worst critic, but I’m quite pleased with ‘Kung Fu Jungle’. Its been a long time since we had a real ‘kung fu’ movie shot in Hong Kong. I think audiences will really enjoy it. We had a great team in front of and behind the camera.

I know I have a very loyal fan base there. I’m my own worst critic, but I’m quite pleased with ‘Kung Fu Jungle’. Its been a long time since we had a real ‘kung fu’ movie shot in Hong Kong.

 

 

You have filmed the sequel to the monster hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with Yuen Woo Ping and also worked with Michelle Yeoh again. How was the experience working on the movie and again with Michelle?

Donnie : It was great to see Michelle again. Its hard to believe it was over 20 years since we worked with director Yuen on ‘Wing Chun’! She’s a good friend, but we haven’t seen each other much in recent years. It was a great experience to spend some time with her and Yuen Woo-ping in Auckland, as we’re all so busy in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

 

 

As an Action Choreographer and Director, what would you consider, is your best work to date in terms of choreography?

Donnie : Probably ‘Wu Xia’, which was released in the US as ‘Dragon’. And I saw ‘Lost Bladesman’ again recently and thought there was some good stuff in there. And my scenes in ‘Kung Fu Jungle’. I’m never really happy, though.It can always be better!

 

Donnie Yen in 'Special ID' (2013)

 

You starred with one of my favorite actors Yuen Biao in the movie Circus Kids and had a small fight scene. Is there any chance you two could star together in the future? As id love to see a wing chun screen fight with Yourself and Yuen Biao.

Donnie : I’d be happy to work with Yuen Biao if there’s the right part in the right film.

 

the monkey king, donnie yen

 

You have made some incredible movies from Iron Monkey to Sha Po lang. But if you had to introduce someone new to your movies, what three movies would you choose and why?

Donnie : Hmmm. Probably ‘SPL / Kill Zone’, because that was kind of a breakthrough in showing MMA style action, then ‘Ip Man’, which was my breakthrough kung fu movie and ‘Kung Fu Jungle’, because its the latest.

 

Making geometry appealing: kids, this is a (little loose) triangle choke.

If you could work with anyone past or present (Actor/Director), who would you choose and why?

Donnie : Bruce Lee and Marlon Brando! I missed my chance…

What’s next on the list for Donnie Yen? Do you have anything you can share regarding future movie plans?

Donnie : Well, I think everyone knows I am doing ‘Ip Man 3’ next year, so that’s the biggest Chinese project on the horizon.

Finally thank you again for this interview and do you have a message for your fans around the world and for Asian Movie Pulse?

Donnie : Thank you. And thank you to all the fans for their support!

 

Thank you. And thank you to all the fans for their support!

 

[cbtabs][cbtab title=”Kung Fu Jungle Trailer”]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqbcG-mvSIQ

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[cbtab title=”Donnie Yen Tribute Video”]

 

 

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Once again a big thank you to Donnie Yen and Bey Logan for arranging the interview 

donniebey

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