International action star Donnie Yen recently shared he once considered quitting the film industry after failing to earn profits from the films he was making.
Yen revealed the low points in his career during a speech at the graduation ceremony for the 2022 Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area International Film Marketing Certificate course on Dec. 3, reported AsiaOne.
The 59-year-old martial arts legend, who set up his own film company in the late ‘90s, said that at one point his bank account only had HK$100 (approximately $13) due to a failed movie investment.
“At that time, I only had HK$100 in my bank account, which dealt a big blow to me,” the actor said. “I couldn’t make any money and I was so frustrated. I asked myself if I entered the wrong business and considered quitting. Fortunately, I didn’t leave the industry and persisted in pursuing my dreams.”
According to Yen, better opportunities eventually came his way and turned his career around.
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He then reminded the aspiring filmmakers in the audience of the importance of studying the course: “No matter how much you enjoy filming, you can’t do it without funds and market demand.”
Yen has spoken about his struggles in an earlier interview, in which he shared that he once had to rely on his production team just so he could eat.
While Yen did not mention which of his films resulted in failure, he earlier told GQ Taiwan that his directorial debut, “The Legend Of The Wolf, earned only HK$818,345 (approx. $104,600) at the box office. Yen’s film company, Bullet Films, produced “Legend of the Wolf” in 1997 and “Ballistic Kiss” in 1998.
“I had to borrow money from my production crew to pay off my debts. I didn’t have much money, and I had most of my meals at the film set because it was free,” he was quoted as saying.
His first big success came about a decade later after he was cast as Wing Chun Grandmaster Ip Man in 2008. The actor’s latest project is the highly anticipated action film “John Wick: Chapter 4,” in which he stars opposite Keanu Reeves.