Donnie Yen Reveals He Only Had $12 to His Name When He was Directing Films

Donnie Yen Reveals He Only Had $12 to His Name When He was Directing Films
Bryan Ke
July 16, 2019
Donnie Yen, star of the “Ip Man” franchise and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” is one of the many multi-million dollar actors to come from Hong Kong, but it has not always been easy.
Speaking to Taiwan GQ, the 56-year-old actor only had 100 Hong Kong dollars ($12) under his name while he was a struggling film director and had to rely on his production team for food, according to South China Morning Post.
Yen made his directorial debut in the 1997 film “Legend of the Wolf” when he found himself in massive debt and had to borrow some money. Things got worse when he almost went bankrupt.
“However, I can’t elaborate because it was such a long time ago, I don’t feel it any more. Now I just look back at my past with a smile,” he said.
But through perseverance and hard work, Yen was able to turn his life around. He became an overnight superstar when his 2008 movie “Ip Man” became a huge success.
“As I grow older, my perspective of life changes, and I’ve become a more understanding person. I’m not saying that I totally don’t have a temper – everyone has emotions,” the action superstar said. “Without emotions, you can’t be an actor. Acting and artists are the same, you must have emotions in order to portray your character realistically. The key is learning to balance those emotions.”
This isn’t the first time Yen has opened up about the struggles he faced early on in his career.
Yen appeared at the “A Date with Luyu” talk show last month where he told Lu Yu that he only earned 600 Hong Kong dollars ($76) a month when he first started working for TVB during the 1980s.
“Although the company rented a flat for us and I shared it with my colleagues, I didn’t have much money and I had most of my meals at the film set because it was free,” he said.
Yen is set to appear in the Disney live-action adaptation of “Mulan” in March 2020.
Featured Image via Instagram / donnieyenofficial (Left, Right)
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