Chirrut Îmwe is the scene-stealing blind monk in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But, although without sight, Chirrut is anything but unseeing. He is a skilled and artful warrior who can see into the hearts of all those around. And who better to play the role other than martial arts expert and one of Asia’s most popular actors, Donnie Yen.
“Donnie Yen has so much wisdom, like his character, and he’s got great humor,” says producer Allison Shearmur. “He has a sense of artistry and performance that tells us so much about his character. There’s an elegance, a heroism, a nobility about both Yen and Chirrut.”
In a time when the Force is all but forgotten and the few remaining Jedi are in hiding, Chirrut is a lone voice who still believes. “Chirrut is a true believer in the Force, and he preaches this,” Yen says. “Throughout the whole film, he encourages and motivates his team members to have faith and continue to believe in the Force.”
Martial arts movie icon Donnie Yen exploded onto the Hong Kong cinema scene when he starred in director Yuen Woo-ping’s martial arts comedy Drunken Tai Chi. Yen, the son of legendary Boston-based kung fu instructor Bow Sim-mark, was tailor-made for the jade screen, having trained in martial arts since early childhood.
Born in Canton but raised in Boston, Yen has always been unique among martial arts stars in that his persona balances both the martial virtues of his mother and the scholarly and musical ones of his father. Aside from his training in the various combative systems, Yen is also a gifted pianist, and critics have noted the musical phrasing and tempo of his performances and action set pieces.
With a solid foundation in his mother’s wushu style, Yen’s debut film immediately established him as a viable kung fu movie hero. He went on to star in and choreograph both period kung fu epics and contemporary fight flicks, winning numerous awards and establishing a worldwide fan base. Next, he is bringing his unique screen persona and action style to Hollywood and the world with xXx: Return of Xander Cage, which releases in January 2017.
Lucasfilm presents “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the first in a new series of Star Wars standalone films set in the universe fans know and love, but featuring new characters and storylines.
“Rogue One” tells the story of a group of unlikely heroes, who in a time of conflict band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) and produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur and Simon Emanuel.
Academy® and BAFTA Award nominee Felicity Jones heads up the cast and stars opposite Diego Luna. Joining them are Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed and Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker. The film also welcomes two of China’s biggest stars, Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen
Now showing across the Philippines, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through Columbia Pictures.