Donnie Yen

(Donnie Yen Ji-dan)

Donnie Yen
Donnie Yen
  • Born: July 27, 1963
  • Nationality: Hong Kong
  • Profession: Actor, Martial Artist, Film Director, Producer, Action Choreographer

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Donnie Yen Ji-dan is a Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film director, producer, action choreographer, and multiple-time world wushu tournament champion.

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A lot of Chinese martial arts films were based on Chinese martial arts novels. And these novels created a world of putting history, calligraphy, and martial arts into one. History
A lot of people don't realize, when you are acting in a martial arts film, you're not just performing martial arts. You're not just performing martial arts. You're actually acting as much as any other actor.
A period film, where you, for example, where you have a traditional wardrobes, you are bound to act a certain way. But in a modern film, a lot of body gesture.
Action choreographer is like talking. When you talk, you have a rhythm. When you act, you have a rhythm. When you're moving your body, you have a rhythm. So as an actor, as a choreographer, the objective is trying to blend everything in - into - ultimately back into that character.
An action choreographer is kind of like a dance choreographer. You choreograph the moves and you let the director, cinematographer take into positioning their cameras.
As an action director, I always try to bring something fresh and new.
Better to be called something positive and inspirational than something negative.
Bruce is the man. He was definitely ahead of his time. Time
Doing a movie is a stressful thing. You spend months of you life focusing into that one project, and I want to make sure I do something I really like or I'm really passionate about. Life
For me, I like to have explosive moments, whether it is a particular movement itself in the whole sequence. I like to have shocking moments; for audiences to feel, like, 'Whoa!' It's always been my forte.
For me, shooting, editing, and scoring rely on rhythm.
For me, the challenge of a period film is that, unlike a contemporary film where the character can be very free-form when it comes to the acting, there's a burden to acting in a period film because you have to stay within the character's historical background and the gestures of certain periods.
For years, I looked to Bruce Lee as a mentor as being a Chinese and Asian man living in this country.
From my experience as an actor, choreographer, action director, and producer, I understand the elements and the dynamics of being a film maker.
I act according to the requirements of the character, and if I try to play the role, then I play it truthfully. In my daily life, I'm a laid-back, peaceful guy. I'm just doing my job to act. Life
I always tell younger filmmakers, it's not just about the acting or the art itself. It's about how big of an audience watches your film. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
I always used to wonder why American actors were getting fat, then I made a U.S. movie. I'm seeing all the food every day, and there's lots of waiting around because making an American movie is very slow. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
I certainly hope 'Dragon' can leave some legacy behind. Hope
I did a couple comedies to balance myself as an actor and balance how audiences see Donnie Yen as an actor, and I would even say as a celebrity or icon, to some fans. I want to show that I'm not Terminator.
I gained a lot of confidence after 'IP Man' as being a true actor. I went on to tackle what it is an actor is supposed to do before a film. Do a lot of research, get into the character. That's what I did with 'Dragon.'
I got nominated for my second film as best young director in the Aikido Film Festival in Japan.
I have always been a great fan of Peter Chan and many other great directors who specialize in anything outside of action.
I just like to choose projects that will allow me as an artist to make my art. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
I like to stay within the context of the character's background. If he's a cop, I have to make sure the audience is convinced that this person, a cop, can do only so much without a gun.
I love working with older actors because number one, I can learn so much from them because they have so much experience. And it's fun to hear their stories from their era, some of the jokes. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I spent a couple of years doing American films. I did a few.
I think a lot of people don't realize that martial arts are just an expression like anything else. It's just that most people are not trained to punch or kick, but you can walk or run or dance, which is also part of expression.
I think action movies bring more excitement than tears, but I always want to take it to another level. I mean, I think if one appreciates anything in life to a certain degree, it could possibly bring tears to your eyes. Life ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
I think every actor wants to try out different things.
I think film, to me, as a director, is about telling a story.
I try to update my arsenal constantly. Learning different martial arts since childhood. To understand what's out there. To really be in tune. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
If you're playing a cop in a modern film, you don't have to walk with your spine straight up and bow before a fight. There's a lot of free form of expressing yourself as an actor.
I'm a very emotional guy.
In Hollywood, I'm lucky, I only do big movies like 'Blade.' It's much more comfortable: you have a trailer. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
In Hong Kong, particularly, we craft this art for decades. The action choreographer actually is the action director. He takes over and he choreographs with - by himself or with his team, and place the camera where he feels cinematic effect to bring out that choreography. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
It takes years of building that experience as a filmmaker, as well as physically. You have to have a high level understanding of martial arts.
It's a blessing to be given a variety of roles to what I call an iconic action actor like myself.
I've always been in a rebel.
Like any other actor, I draw on life experience. Life
Look at every action movie in Hollywood. Every leading man from Spider-Man to Batman to James Bond, 'Bourne Identity', every one of them possesses martial arts skills.
Many friends of mine told me that normally only guys like a kung fu movie and the girls would be turned off - they want to see a love story. But Ip Man is a family man, so the women see this and go: 'I want my husband to be like this man. He'll be a scholar, he'll be fighting, he'll care for the family.' So we had a bigger audience. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Women ;Families, Children & Parenting
Martial art is a form of expression, an expression from your inner self to your hands and legs. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
My action follows my characters. If a character is a cop, you cannot be posing all the time, you cannot fly off the roof because it doesn't make any sense - it's not practical. Time
My mum lives in Boston; she's famous for teaching wushu and t'ai chi. So from when I was young, my mum and aunt were like: 'You're training; you're not playing baseball or football.' Training every day was normal. Later, when I was almost a teenager, Bruce Lee became my idol. Fame
Personally, I prefer contemporary films, but the market calls for more period choices, especially since China opened up a cinema market in Hong Kong. There's a lot of restriction for contemporary films simply because of subject matter.
Police/gangster films always have a huge following and huge audience because of the power, glamour, and certain fantasy aspect they have to them. When people watch movies, they like to fantasize being in a surreal world, and sometimes a criminal world can be attractive because you possess so much power and money, not like the average 9 to 5 guy. Power ;Money, Coins & Minting ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Still, as much as I wish Ballistic Kiss could be a better film, the recognition it gained from critics and at festivals speaks for itself.
There are two types of Chinese growing up in America. One is the kind that does really well in school, with thick, thick glasses. And the other is involved with the gangs.
There is also a strong following among the urbanites on the East Coast when it comes to martial arts films.
There's a lot of thinking when you choreograph something. You're not just choreographing some bodies, arms, legs flying around to look cool. It's a lot more complicated and sophisticated. You also have to deal with the connection of the whole film, so when I choreograph, I think of the movement itself, the camera angles, the characters.
When audiences look at an action actor like myself, sometimes we are very easily stereotyped or characterized as one type. They forget that we are actors, too.
When you direct a movie, you're basically looking at a story, the way you want to look at it. You bring that director's vision, and I'm totally open for that.
When you watch my films, you're feeling my heart.
Whether I'm acting or making it, at the end of the day it's telling the story; action, drama. You want the audience to feel it - the story, the action, the scene, or a particular shot. I just keep working on crafting my art, on how to make action movies. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle

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