‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ star Donnie Yen revealed how he insisted the director of the film, Chad Stahelski to change his character’s name to a more ‘normal’ one as everyone in the film’s supposed to be ‘cool and fashionable’ in a recent interview with GQ magazine.
Donnie’s character at first was not named ‘Caine.’ The name was changed after the star reportedly called out the Asian stereotypes that were included in the film’s script.
“The name was Shang or Chang,” Yen shared. “Why does he always have to be called Shang or Chang? Why can’t he have a normal name? Why do you have to be so generic? Then the wardrobe again — oh, mandarin collars. Why is everything so generic? This is a ‘John Wick’ movie. Everybody’s supposed to be cool and fashionable. Why can’t he look cool and fashionable?”
This wasn’t the first time the star was approached with stereotypical roles as he was asked by Disney to play a ‘generic martial arts warrior’ in the 2016 Star Wars prequel Rogue One. “One thing I pointed out is he was a stereotype. Typical master. Doesn’t smile,” he said of the role.
The star also talked about Hollywood’s attitude toward Chinese filmmakers. “I try to look at it less defensive than before. Some people don’t know,” he said. “They think they’re serving Chinese food. They’re not serving Chinese food—because they never had authentic Chinese. They are meant to be respectful. But they’ve never been to China. You know what I’m saying?”
Donnie comments on Michelle Yeoh’s Golden Globe win
Yen commented on his fellow Chinese actor and close friend Michelle Yeoh winning a Golden Globe. “There will always be more people like Michelle,” he said. “People who continue to keep thinking and to go forward no matter what the negativity or setback.”
Michelle Yeoh earlier this year won the Golden Globe Award in the Best Actress – Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy category for her performance in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once,’ beating the likes of Margot Robbie, Anya Taylor-Joy and more.
Donnie Yen further talked about his retirement, “I can’t retire, because I still have projects I’m committed to.” The ‘John Wick 4’ actor added, “I don’t want to. As an actor I don’t want to. Because action movies—which is what I do best—action movies take a certain fire, a passion, and that is relative to physical ability. Who knows: In my 70s I might be lucky, and be one of those very few that are still able to—but why push that?”
‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ arrives in theaters on March 24, 2023.