Tag Archives: star wars reshoots

EXCLUSIVE: The Latest on Rogue One Actor Donnie Yen

Last month, we reported that actor Donnie Yen ((甄子丹) will go back to London for Rogue One, even before news of the reshoots broke.

Yesterday, we learned that Chirrut is back in the UK to shoot additional scenes.

Bothan spy “Peter Chang” says Donnie left during the past week, and is now be inside the guarded walls of Pinewood Studios in London.

“The guy is very low-key. Despite being one of Asia’s highest earning celebrities, he doesn’t travel with PAs. He and Cissy (Donnie’s wife Cecilia Wang 汪詩詩) often travel by themselves and carry their own luggage. So his departure from HK wasn’t picked up by the media.”

Taking on the role of Chirrut

In the official cast photo and trailer, Disney took great pains to emphasize Chirrut as a staff-wielding warrior. That’s because the role was specifically tailored for him.

“Not many people know that Donnie is a wushu world champion. Before he branched out into the MMA, wushu was his life. His mother founded a wushu school in Boston and he was sent off to Beijing Sports University for further training. So handling a wushu long stick is second-nature to Donnie,” says Chang. “In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he choreographed the fight with the stormtroopers himself.”

However, even the 52-year old needs a breather every now and then. “From what I heard, Donnie had to take a break after one particular fight scene for Rogue One last October. The cause wasn’t specified, but it’s likely because of his recurring spinal injury.” Yen suffered serious neck and spine injuries while filming a local action movie three years ago, a mishap that’s plagued him since.

May madness

According to this Far East Bothan, Chirrut was really busy over the past month. “Donnie had a full schedule in May. Most of it was booked for XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, where he plays the main villain after Jet Li backed out.”

“The XXX shoot wrapped up in the third week of May, and Donnie flew home to Hong Kong. The Rogue One reshoots weren’t public knowledge yet, but he was the first to clue in fans when he was interviewed by Oriental Daily News (an HK publication) during a local event. He said he was due back in London for additional Rogue One photography.”

“He then flew to Japan for a quick shoot for a German brand. That was when news about the Rogue One reshoot went public.”

Pre-Rogue One R&R

In preparation for his Rogue One duties, Donnie took some time off to unwind. This suggests he may be in the UK for a while. “From Japan it was back to HK for three days. Then it was off to Singapore for a much deserved vacation with his staff.” Donnie has his own production company, Bullet Films.

donnie yen rogue one newsDonnie Yen (in blue shirt) with the Bullet Films crew in Universal Studios Singapore

“He and his wife treated over three dozen staff members to a holiday. They stayed at Resorts World Sentosa where the couple are brand ambassadors, and visited Universal Studios. Donnie doesn’t normally splurge, so this could mean he’ll be gone for a while and made the most of his break in Asia.”

Star Wars Celebration Europe,  happening on July 15-17, coincides with the reshoots. So it’s possible Donnie and the Rogue One crew will attend the event and have their stay extended.

“For Donnie, it was a well-deserved break before a jampacked June and July for Rogue One. But he made sure his employees got to have enjoy the same break he did, and that’s the wonderful thing about him.”

The Star Wars secrecy

Chang says that out of Donnie’s films, Rogue One has got to be the most secretive. “From Ip-Man to Monkey King, Donnie loved to post teasers about his projects. In fact, for XXX he posted updates almost daily. But there was almost none of that for Rogue One.”

Actually, Donnie did post an update: he was the first to leak the Death Trooper and Shore Trooper helmets on his Instagram account last August:

donnie yen death trooper rogue one leak

The image was quickly taken down, but not before the entire Internet saved it. Within hours, everyone from Entertainment Weekly to The UK Mirror was talking about the new helmets. And Chang says that might be the reason for Donnie’s subsequent silence.

“From what I heard, the PR agency behind Lunak Heavy (the production name for Rogue One) hands out penalty cards to members who violate the non-disclosure policy. And yes, not even cast members are exempt. So that’s probably why he’s been mum on all things Rogue One ever since.”

However, even Chirrut has a weakness. “The Yen kids love Star Wars. But it’s the middle one, James, who’s an absolute fan. The little guy has everything from costumes to lightsabers, and he celebrated his birthday with a Star Wars-themed party. I don’t see how Donnie could NOT tell him about Rogue One and expect some peace and quiet at home. So if you want the real scoop, ask James!”

Rogue One and the Chinese market

Despite Donnie’s (as well as his wife’s Cissy’s) spoiler gaffes, Chang believes his role Chirrut is critical to the film’s success — perhaps even more so than the other characters.

“China is the world’s 2nd biggest box office market, second only to the US. What better way to penetrate that market than through the star of Ip Man?”

The Ip Man film franchise is one of the highest-grossing films in Asia. In fact, for regions like Hong Kong and mainland China, the name has more recall than Star Wars. “Remember that PRC (China) was a closed society during the ’70s and ’80s when Star Wars became a global phenomenon. That’s why Hollywood is trying its best to penetrate the market, by roping in recognizable names like Donnie.”

In fact, China is so important to Disney that Rogue One features not just one, but two Asian celebrities. Chinese actor and director Jiang Wen plays Baze, a freelance assassin. While Donnie captures the pan-Asian market like Hong Kong and Malaysia where Ip Man set new records, Wen’s inclusion is directly aimed at the mainland and its 1.3 billion audience.

The Chinese market is still a mystery to the West. While the recently released Warcraft movie bombed in the US, it became a box office hit in China, outgrossing even The Force Awakens within five days.

This is the reason why Donnie Yen (and his compatriot Jiang Wen) are the Mouse’s only hope for galactic success in China.

Special thanks to “Peter Chang” for the exhaustive intel, as well as Bullet Films Productions member “Agent Wai” for confirming some of the details for this story!


Rogue One: Mads Mikkelsen Claims Reshoots Seek to “Add and Polish”

In the latest on the Rogue One reshoot drama, cast member Mads Mikkelsen claims the reshoots seek to add more to the film, rather than tone it down as fans fear.

Speaking to the UK daily The Independent, Mikkelsen talked about the Rogue One reshoots, as well his other appearances on a new dark comedy called Men and Chicken, Doctor Strange and Hannibal.

But Stormtrooper Larry doesn’t care about those, so here’s the juicy Rogue One parts from the interview:

There is a lot of talk about the ongoing reshoots, are you involved with them?

I have one day. I can’t remember when, in two weeks I think.

It’s been very mixed in the press, with two sides; some sources are claiming the film will undergo big changes while others are saying it will be very minimal. What’s the feeling you have from being involved with the film?

Basically, all the big films I have done always have reshoots, it is part of their budget. They’re either not super happy with a scene bit, the way we were acting, or maybe there’s something they want to add. It’s not a new thing, it happens with every film. Whether it’s bigger or less, I have no idea, I have nothing to compare with. It’s the same film, it’s just adding little bits here and there to do the final polishing. That’s my feeling.

It’s interesting because, obviously, films get reshot all the time but, for this one, it has been talked about everywhere. 

That’s also interesting, to make the right goal and all the rumours happening. [Disney] love that, it’s free publicity.

You’re in Rogue One, apparently playing a semi-villain who is ‘not a bad guy,’ is there anything you can tell me about the character?

I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say without killing you. I play someone in the film, yes. So far, so good.

So to summarize,

  • Mads will be back in Pinewood for a one-day shoot two weeks from now
  • The reshoots seek to add more to the story, instead of watering down scenes
  • He claims it’s “still the same film”
  • He can’t tell us about his role, after inadvertently revealing that he’s Jyn Erso’s father a while ago.

The rumor is, Mads is not just central character Jyn Erso’s dad in a series of flashbacks, he’s also an Imperial weapons engineer/scientist who refined the original Geonosian design and made the Death Star possible. That explains why Jyn grew up without a father, as well as her rebellious streak. Is it just us, or does Star Wars have a thing for orphaned heroes?

Anyway, the interview is just a teaser excerpt from a longer segment. Expect The Independent to release the full transcript soon, but for die-hard Bothans, these are the parts that matter.

And that’s the latest on the Rogue One reshoot mama-jama.

rogue one death star leak

Who would you rather believe, Mads Mikkelsen and his Disney handlers? Or Stormtrooper Larry who was the actual cause of the Rogue One reshoots?

Rogue One Reshoot: Famous Stunt Coordinator Brought Onboard

An exclusive report by The Hollywood Reporter claims that a veteran stunt coordinator is now part of the Rogue One reshoot.

Simon Crane was brought onboard to assist in the reputed 4-week reshoots. The THR report didn’t identify whether he’ll take on the role of stunt coordinator or second unit director.

As the name implies, a stunt coordinator is in charge of casting stuntmen and doubles, as well as choreographing the stunt portions of the film. On the other hand, a second unit director handles the second unit crew that takes supplementary footage, like establishing shots and scene inserts.

Crane got his start as a stuntman for the James Bond films A View to Kill and The Living Daylights, before moving on to become the stunt coordinator for Licence to Kill and Goldeneye. His impressive resume includes doing stuntwork in Aliens, Indiana Jones, Batman and the original Total Recall.

As his Hollywood career grew, Crane was promoted to stunt coordinator for Titanic, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, World War Z and Edge of Tomorrow. He also has experience being the second unit director for The World is Not Enough and Men in Black 3.

simon crane stunt.jpgCrane (right) even appeared as one of the Eurocopter pilots in Goldeneye!

Interestingly, the appointment of Crane coincides with the rumors that Chris McQuarrie is involved in the scriptwriting. McQuarrie also did work on World War Z and Edge of Tomorrow. But since he flatly denied any role in the reshoots, Chris might have recommended Crane for the stunts after having worked with him.

What does this tell us?

  • A famous stunt coordinator with a solid resume was just hired for Rogue One
  • The reshoots could involve new stunt scenes, more than just the “character development” and “talking in cockpits” claim by Entertainment Weekly
  • Even if Crane was hired as second unit director instead of stunt coordinator, his work will likely involve action sequences, just as he did on Tomb Raider and World War Z

The bottom line is, you don’t enlist someone like Crane to shoot quiet character building scenes around the Rebel campfire. Something is definitely up in Pinewood.

Either way, this is exciting news when you hire a guy who can do skydiving, scuba diving, karate, fencing and even gymnastics. It also doesn’t hurt that Crane was 007’s stunt double in The Living Daylights.

Here’s hoping we really do get a gritty, action-packed war movie!