Donnie Yen to Play a Chinese Mexican Drug Kingpin in ‘Golden Empire’

It's the first cartel film to star an Asian lead.

donnie yen

Actor Donnie Yen will produce and star in “Golden Empire,” a crime thriller centered on a notorious drug kingpin wanted by the U.S. and Mexican governments.

The film is set to explore the complexities of the Chinese Mexican character, who hits the top of the most wanted list in both countries.

Image via Donnie Yen and Bullets Film (CC BY 4.0)

Yen will produce the film with Peter Luo, chief executive officer at Starlight Media whose credits include “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.”

Luo thought of Yen as the perfect lead after seeing his performance in the 2017 movie “Chasing the Dragon,” in which he also played a real-life gangster.


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“The talents of Donnie are undeniable and will be utilized in every imaginable way to bring this epic story to life,” Luo said, according to Deadline. “Spanning the continents of Asia, North America and South America, ‘Golden Empire’ is really the first major narco film with an Asian lead that plays to global audiences. Showcasing diversity in cinema, while retaining authenticity, has always been a primary focus of ours, and this unique and fascinating story is representative of our mandate.”

The film is said to showcase the inner turmoil of Yen’s character, who happens to be “one of the world’s most successful multinational drug lords.”

Yen most recently starred in “Ip Man 4: The Finale.” He plays Commander Tung in Disney’s live-action remake of “Mulan,” which hits theaters on Aug. 21.

Over the weekend, he also teased working on the theatrical adaptation of “Sleeping Dogs,” a 2012 video game developed by United Front Games and published by Square Enix. He will star as main character Wei Shen, an undercover police officer who infiltrates the Hong Kong triads, according to Variety.

Feature Image via Getty

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