Donnie Yen of Rogue One: I Want to Be a Role Model for Young Asian Actors

Donnie Yen from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Donnie Yen from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

As the first Asian actor in a Star Wars movie, Donnie Yen wants to savor every moment of  “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

“I hope it will set a great example,” the Hong Kong action star tells Made in Hollywood reporter Kylie Erica Mar. “That’s my every intention. As an Asian actor, it’s not easy, especially on the world film stage. It took me a while to get there.”

A major celebrity in Asia for films like “Flash Point” and the “Ip Man” series, Yen — also a director, producer and fight choreographer — gets the meaty role of Chirrut Imwe in “Rogue One,” allowing him to showcase both his acting and physical skills.

“My character is kind  of the spiritual center,” he says. “I get to say all these cool lines: ‘May the Force be with you,’ ‘I fear nothing.’ How cool is that? I hope that from my example, I can inspire many other young Asian actors to believe in themselves and keep striving for their goals and dreams.”

As for any more details about his character or the film, that will have to wait. Like the rest of the cast, Yen remains mostly silent. “There’s a lot of secrets,” he teases, “but I can’t give them.”

He will say, however, that “Rogue One,” which takes place shortly before the originally shot “Star Wars” movie in 1977, holds its own in the franchise.

“I think it’s the look, the ensemble of the cast, the direction that the producers and director (gave), what they chose, the setting, the storyline,” he says. “Everything about it is just very standalone, in a very special, great way. I think the audience will discover, once you see it, even more magic.”

Same goes for his part in the movie, something he’s just now totally appreciating. “Now it sinks in,” he says. “Being part of Star Wars, you are immortalize. You are making history.”