During his panel today at MCM London Comic Con 2017, actor Donnie Yen took the time to answer a few fans’ questions about his work and career so far. Below you can find the fans’ questions, as well as Yen’s answers and stories:
Q. Which of your films has been the most physically demanding so far?
DY: I’ve done a lot of movies. (laughing) Every time I do a movie, it becomes tougher…it’s more and more of a self-challenge. I will create a scene or act a scene out and say “this is not refreshing enough, not innovative enough” and I will change the scene. I just finished shooting a movie called Chasing the Dragon, where I play this gangster. I wanted it to be a breakthrough [movie], so I hired a prosthetic make-up artist from Hollywood, and I put myself in a make-up chair for three hours a day. And as I sat there, I said to myself: “Wow, I’m going through the same thing again. Always finding obstacles, constantly pushing for new grounds that I can reach.” I’ve gone through it all…I’ve been in the middle of the desert, fifty degrees…steam coming out of my head! Now I look back and think “Oh wow, I could’ve died”, but during that moment, if you’re a passionate filmmaker, you don’t think about that. You just think about getting the shot. I mean, when I was filming in the desert, I didn’t know how to ride a horse, at the beginning. But by the time it came to film, I was fighting on horseback with heavy armour and a giant sword. The scene came out pretty good!
I think we have such great abilities within ourselves, but sometimes it takes a little bit of [thinking] “Do you want it badly enough?” to have [this ability] coming pouring out of you. And I’ve been using that as self motivation throughout my films. Each new film, I treat as a new battleground.
Q. What are your thoughts on productions and actors who use body doubles for their stunt work?
DY: You know, it’s a big debate. Recently, there’s a lot of articles talking about doubles, and I think it’s perfectly fine to use a double. It’s really dependent on how you use your doubles, you know? If you’re gonna have a shot where you have something like someone walking down an avenue, but you don’t see any acting…this might be because the actor needs to reserve their energy for their next intense, dramatic scene. Also, [you might need them] in life-threatening situations…I mean, actors are humans. They can’t do it all, right? We shouldn’t expect them to do it all. But, at the same time, if you take your doubles for granted and you sit around in your trailer watching TV, of course that’s bad. But then again, the audience are smart enough to see doubles. They know when the acting doesn’t look right.
Q. Who’s been your favourite actor to work with, and who would you like to work with in the future?
DY: I like to work with any true artist. There’s so many of them–I can’t just name one because I’m not being fair to others. I love good actors, I appreciate their work. Every movie is a new experience for me. And by working with people, you learn from each other and you create new sparks.
Stick with Cultured Vultures for up-to-date news, interviews and more from MCM London Comic Con 2017. We’ll bring you the latest updates from Donnie Yen and the other guests at the show, too!