Donnie Yen stole the show in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and was featured prominently in the promos for xXx: Return of Xander Cage. At 53 years old, Yen may be on the verge of a well-deserved Hollywood breakthrough. It may come in the form of a video game movie.
Yen will star in an adaptation of Sleeping Dogs, which will be developed by Neal Moritz’s Original Film. Original Film is the same production company responsible for the first two xXx movies and the Fast and the Furious franchise.
Developed by United Front Games and Square Enix London and released in 2012, Sleeping Dogs centered on Wei Shen, an undercover cop taking on the Triads, a criminal organization well known in Asia. The open-world game was set in Hong Kong.
This isn’t Yen’s first dance with the American film industry. Yen had supporting roles in Highlander: End Game (2000) and Blade II (2002), but neither film opened the door for him in Hollywood. He returned to Hong Kong and made SPL: Sha Po Lang in 2005, which reinvigorated the Hong Kong action genre and raised Yen’s profile considerably. Yen would become a certified leading man in Asia thanks to 2008’s Ip Man. The film kicked off an Ip Man craze, and the third film in the franchise was released last year.
Yen had to work until his 40s to become a recognized martial arts movie superstar in Hong Kong and China. Almost a decade later, mainstream America has finally taken notice.
A few years ago Matthew McConaughey’s career rebounded in a big way and we had a McConaissance. Perhaps this is the start of the American Donnie Yenassaince.[via Deadline]