|Height:||173 cm (5' 9'')|
|Birth Day:||July 27, 1963|
|Birth Place:||Yuexiu District, China|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|173 cm (5' 9'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
He studied T'ai Chi and breakdancing as a teen. He made his debut film appearance as a stuntman in 1983's Shaolin Drunkard.
Yen was the fight choreographer for the 2010 film Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen. For this film, Yen mentioned that he included Jeet Kune Do elements as a tribute to Bruce Lee, who played Chen Zhen in the 1972 film Fist of Fury. Furthermore, he incorporated many MMA elements in the film, coupled with the utilisation of Wing Chun. Yen also stated that the concept behind Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do is similar to that of MMA, hence the incorporation of many forms of martial arts was a necessity in the film.
Yen's first step into the film industry was in 1984 when he landed his first starring role in the 1984 film Drunken Tai Chi.
Yen met his first wife and Hong Kong advertising executive, Leung Zing-ci (梁靜慈), in 1990. The couple began dating in 1993. After three years of dating, they married secretly in the United States in November 1996. The marriage ended in less than a year. After their divorce was finalized, Leung realized that she was pregnant with their son, Jeff, who was born in 1995.
After filming Drunken Tai Chi and Tiger Cage (1988), Yen made his breakthrough role as General Nap-lan in Once Upon a Time in China II (1992), which included a fight scene between his character and Wong Fei-hung (played by Jet Li). Yen had a starring role in the film Iron Monkey in 1993. Yen and Li appeared together again in the 2002 film Hero, where Yen played a spear (or qiang) fighter who fought with Li's character, an unnamed swordsman. The film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2003 Academy Awards.
In 1995, Yen starred as Chen Zhen in the television series Fist of Fury produced by ATV, which is adapted from the 1972 film of the same title that starred Bruce Lee as Chen Zhen. Yen reprised his role as Chen Zhen in the 2010 film Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen.
In 1997, Yen started the production company Bullet Films, and made his directorial debut in Legend of the Wolf (1997) and Ballistic Kiss (1998), in which he played the lead character. At age 34, Yen almost went bankrupt. Films produced by his own production company and directed by him were critically acclaimed but did not do well at the box office. Yen was forced to borrow money from loan sharks and his production crew to get by.
In 2002, Jet Li was filming the movie Hero and insisted to the director that he wanted Yen to play the role of Sky, his adversary, due to Yen's martial arts ability. Li personally invited Yen back from Hollywood to star in the movie, marking the second time the two actors appeared onscreen together since Once Upon a Time in China II ten years earlier. In 2003, Yen played the antagonist against Jackie Chan in Shanghai Knights.
Yen choreographed most of the fight animation in the 2004 video game Onimusha 3, which featured actors Takeshi Kaneshiro and Jean Reno. Yen continued to be active in Hong Kong cinema in the 2000s, starring as Chu Zhaonan in Tsui Hark's wuxia epic film Seven Swords, and as Ma Kwun in Wilson Yip's brutal crime drama film SPL: Sha Po Lang in 2005. Both films were featured at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival. Later that year, Yen co-starred with Nicholas Tse and Shawn Yue in Wilson Yip's Dragon Tiger Gate, an adaptation of Wong Yuk-long's manhua series Oriental Heroes. Yen also worked as action choreographer in Stormbreaker, starring Alex Pettyfer. Yen continued to work with Wilson Yip in Flash Point (2007), in which he starred as the lead character and served as producer and action choreographer for the film. He won the award for Best Action Choreography at the Golden Horse Film Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards for his performance in Flash Point.
Yen was born in Guangzhou, China. His mother, Bow-sim Mark, is a Fu Style Wudangquan (internal martial arts) and Tai Chi grandmaster, while his father, Klyster Yen (甄雲龍), was a newspaper editor. When he was two years old, his family moved to Hong Kong and then to the United States, settling in Boston when he was 11. His younger sister, Chris Yen, is also a martial artist and actress, and appeared in the 2007 film Adventures of Johnny Tao: Rock Around the Dragon.
However, despite his muscular build, Yen has gained tremendous attention for his dedication to his roles and for the lengths to which he goes to achieve the physical build and appearance of the characters he plays. In 2007, Yen lost over 30 pounds to reach the weight of 120 pounds to better portray the slender Ip Man and the techniques of wing chun, which focuses on techniques and not strength. He did so through a very strict regimen of limiting himself to a plain diet consisting mainly of vegetables.
In 2008, Yen starred in Ip Man, a semi-biographical account of Ip Man, the Wing Chun master of Bruce Lee. Ip Man marked Yen's fourth collaboration with director Wilson Yip, reuniting him with his co-stars in SPL: Sha Po Lang, Sammo Hung and Simon Yam. Ip Man became the biggest box office hit to date featuring Yen in the leading role, grossing HK$25 million in Hong Kong and 100 million yuan in China.
Near the end of 2007, Yen added a new martial arts system to his arsenal. He was offered the role of Wing Chun grandmaster and mentor of film star Bruce Lee, Ip Man, in a 2008 film named after the grandmaster. He worked hard and studied Wing Chun under Ip Man's eldest son, Ip Chun, for 9 months before tackling the role. Ip Chun has since praised Yen for his effort, his skills as a martial artist, and his ability to grasp the full concept of Wing Chun much faster than anyone else he has taught.
In 2010, still fresh off Ip Man 2, Yen was cast as Chen Zhen in Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, which was originally portrayed by Bruce Lee. He had to regain his muscular physique for the role and took 6 months through a precise and dedicated diet routine. Focusing on high-protein drinks and vitamin and mineral supplements, he managed to hit 165 pounds for the role. He maintained this bulk and physique while filming The Lost Bladesman, in which he plays Guan Yu, a Chinese general known for his size and spear-fighting abilities.
In August 2011, while Yen was on a vacation with his family in the United States, he reportedly received an invitation by producer Avi Lerner to star in The Expendables 2. It was stated that Yen was considering the offer, had many films at hand, and would wait until deciding whether the script appealed to him. Later on, Yen revealed to the Hong Kong media that he had rejected the role.
In 2011, Yen revealed that he was venturing into other genres of movies and had taken up two comedy roles in a row, in All's Well, Ends Well 2011 and All's Well, Ends Well 2012, and would be working with Carina Lau in the former and Sandra Ng in the latter. Both films obtained huge critical and box-office success and proved Yen's versatility as an actor.
In 2012, Yen returned to the movie industry and commenced the filming of Special ID, in which he played the main lead, an undercover cop, and also took on the role of action choreographer. In 2013, it was reported that Donnie Yen would be playing the lead role for The Iceman Cometh 3D, a sci-fi action film dealing with time travel and which was filmed in 3D. Yen confirmed that MMA would be used in both of the abovementioned films.
In 2012, Donnie Yen and his wife Cissy Wang co-founded Go.Asia, an online charity platform encouraging people to participate in charity work and serve local communities.
In February 2013, the Weinstein Company confirmed that it had purchased the rights to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel and contacted Yen to play the male lead. In March 2013, Hong Kong magazines surfaced photos of Harvey and Bob Weinstein traveling to Hong Kong to meet with Yen and persuade him to accept the offer. It was reported that Yen was considering the role and quoted as saying, "The first is that my schedule this year is very packed. The second is that the first film is already such a classic. I am afraid of the pressure, that the original cannot be surpassed."
In May 2013, during the annual Cannes Film Festival, the Weinstein Company announced that Yen would play the lead role of Silent Wolf in the Crouching Tiger sequel, titled Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, alongside leading female action star Michelle Yeoh reprising her role as Yu Shu Lien, and with director Yuen Woo-ping, Yen's mentor. It was revealed that the movie would be filmed in both English and Mandarin to appeal to the international market.
In October 2014, Donnie Yen was invited to be a guest speaker in front of a crowd of 20,000 youths for WE Day Vancouver, where he spoke about the hardships he faced growing up and how he overcame difficulties to become the reigning martial arts star.
Principal photography for Ip Man 3 began on March 25, 2015, and the finished movie was released in December 2015 in parts of Asia and around the world in early 2016 to generally favorable reviews.
In 2015, Yen reduced his muscular physique yet again to reprise the role of Ip Man in Ip Man 3 and for his role as the blind warrior monk Chirrut Îmwe in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. For his role as Xiang in XXX: Return of Xander Cage opposite Vin Diesel, Yen rebuilt his physique.
In 2015, Yen visited refugee camps in Thailand, bringing donations and gifts for the refugees. Yen is also an ambassador for the international charity Save the Children.
In December 2015, Yen established a charitable fund, Yen's Honour Protection Fund, with the purpose of empowering celebrities to use the law to defend their honor and reputation. Yen said the fund "[seeks] to assist and render help to everyone who needs it, most importantly to heal and repair the hearts and dignities which have been affected." This fund was established after Yen won a lawsuit against Geng Weiguo (AKA Tan Bing), who defamed Yen and hired netizens to threaten Yen's family.
In 2016, Yen co-starred in the Star Wars anthology film Rogue One as Chirrut Îmwe, the Zatoichi-like blind transient warrior. On February 12, 2016, it was confirmed that Yen would replace Jet Li in the role of Xiang in the upcoming action film xXx: Return of Xander Cage.
In September 2017, Chasing the Dragon was released with extremely positive reviews from critics, citing Yen's versatility as an actor and his incredible portrayal of the late Ng Sek Ho, the main character of the film. Chasing the Dragon was also a huge hit with audiences in most parts of Asia. In Hong Kong, Chasing the Dragon is ranked as one of the top 5 Hong Kong films in 2017.
In 2017, Yen received a call from old friend Jet Li and Alibaba CEO Jack Ma about a potential collaboration on a short martial arts film known as Gong Shou Dao - to promote a new form of Taiji as an olympic sport in the future. Yen was on holiday with his wife to celebrate their anniversary, but cancelled his plans to take part in the film. Yen declined any salary for this participation for GSD as he stated that "friendship is not measured by money" and that he hopes his participation can help promote Chinese martial arts to worldwide audiences. In return, Jet Li and Jack Ma surprised Yen and his wife Cissy, by helping to celebrate their wedding anniversary on the set. The full GSD 20 minutes short film was released on 11 November - China's Singles' Day, debuting on Youku and Jet Li's official Facebook page, garnering a total of more than 100 million views worldwide. Netizens in China praised Yen's speed and technique in the film, with most audiences (over 190,000) voting Yen as the highlight of the short film.
In late 2017, Yen began filming Big Brother, a MMA film where Yen plays a high school teacher with unconventional methods and a dark past.
In 2017, a live action film adaption of the video game Sleeping Dogs was announced, with Yen playing the lead character Wei Shen. In February 2018, Yen confirmed the continued production of the film through social media.
In 2019, Yen reprised his role as Ip Man for the final time in Ip Man 4: The Finale. During the Hong Kong protests of that year, protesters urged a boycott of the film, citing the pro-Beijing stances of Yen, co-star Danny Chan, and producer Raymond Wong. Nonetheless, the film was a box office success, grossing over three times its budget of $52 million and becoming the highest grossing Chinese film of all time in Malaysia as well as the third highest grossing Chinese film in North America in five years.
In March 2020, as part of the press tour for Disney's live action remake of Mulan, when Yen was asked by reports whether he was interested in appearing in a superhero movie, Yen revealed that he had been offered a role in Warner Brothers' Justice League and Aquaman films by Zack Snyder, but had turned down the role due to conflicting schedules. The role offered was that of Nuidis Vulko, which eventually went to Willem Dafoe.
In February 2020, in light of the coronavirus pandemic in China and the rest of the world, Donnie Yen stepped in to donate HK$1 million to frontline medical workers in Wuhan. He also produced and dedicated a short clip to thank all medical workers in China in their fight against the coronavirus; the clip was uploaded on Chinese social media site, Weibo, where Yen has over 11 million followers. He also donated a painting done by himself and his two children, to the frontline medical workers.
Currently, Donnie Yen is 58 years, 2 months and 21 days old. Donnie Yen will celebrate 59th birthday on a Wednesday 27th of July 2022.
Find out about Donnie Yen birthday activities in timeline view here.