Donnie Yen wants more gun-fu: He's open to doing a John Wick spin-off for Caine
Donnie Yen has served, he will be of service. Again. Hopefully.
Caution: This story contains spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 4.
Donnie Yen would love to have another go at the assassin universe of John Wick.
In John Wick: Chapter 4, Yen plays visually impaired hitman Caine who comes out of retirement to kill his old pal, John Wick (Keanu Reeves). Earlier in the movie, Caine kills Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada), a Wick ally and the manager of the Osaka Continental Hotel. The movie’s post-credits stinger sets up a potential showdown between Caine and Koji’s daughter, Akira (Rina Sawayama), the concierge of the hotel.
Speaking to Variety, Yen said, “I’d love to do a John Wick’ spin-off centered around Caine.”
But just because he wants to do one, doesn’t mean the powers that be are on the same page. “There’s always ‘talks’ in Hollywood,” Yen said.
Yen has been down this path before in La La Land and it wasn’t always pleasant. In the Variety profile, he mentioned an altercation with a producer on Guillermo del Toro’s Blade II who didn’t want his input.
“Some people are more cold-blooded,” said Yen, whose other Hollywood productions include Highlander: Endgame, Shanghai Knights, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Mulan.
Yen said he was nearly in James Wan’s 2018 DC flick Aquaman.
“[Producer] Zack Snyder called,” said he. “It was a friendly call, and he said, ‘Would you like to consider a cameo in the film?’ I couldn’t do it, so we didn’t explore it. But that kind of thing happens all the time.”
Elsewhere, Yen said he was aghast at the portrayal of his idol Bruce Lee in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
In that film, Lee (Mike Moh) is seen as an arrogant blowhard who is subsequently beaten up by Brad Pitt’s stuntman character.
“Everybody is entitled to their opinions,” Yen said. “Quentin Tarantino is a very renowned filmmaker, and he’s entitled to his status. And I’m entitled to state my own view. Obviously, he was making fun of Bruce. It was cartoonish.”
This isn’t the first time Yen has called out Tarantino, whom he knows personally.
During the Ip Man 4 press tour, Yen told 8days.sg and other journos, “I’ve seen part of the movie. Honestly, I couldn’t finish it. I thought that scene was unnecessary. I don’t know what the purpose of disrespecting Bruce Lee was.
"Bruce Lee not only contributed a lot to Chinese culture but to action cinema as well. He broke a lot of rules as a filmmaker. We should respect him for his contributions as an artiste; I don’t appreciate how he was portrayed in that movie.”
Yen also has a lot of respect for his John Wick: Chapter 4 co-star Reeves. “Keanu is a super nice guy,” Yen said. “He just loves martial arts. He also always shares his experience, working in China [on 2013’s Man of Tai Chi], telling us how much fun he had.”
Not only did Reeves get to fight Yen in the movie, but he also got to swear — in Cantonese.
“Trying to swear in Cantonese was Donnie’s idea,” Reeves told 8days.sg in a video interview. “So I had to learn it on the fly. I hope it wasn’t bad.”
Meanwhile, Yen’s recent CNY wuxia epic Sakra, an adaptation of the classic Louis Cha novel, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, will be out in US cinemas on Apr 14.
Watch 8Days.sg’s exclusive interview with Reeves here: