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John Wick 4 actor Donnie Yen called out Asian stereotypes in the movie’s original script

John Wick 4 actor Donnie Yen called out Asian stereotypes in the movie’s original script

Donnie Yen asked for changes to be made to John Wick: Chapter 4 as well as in Rogue One to remove Asian stereotypes

Donnie Yen, one of the stars of the forthcoming John Wick: Chapter 4 movie, has revealed how he had to fight to change his character in that movie as well as Rogue One to rid them of tired Asian stereotypes.

Here's the trailer for the movie, which is out later this month:

Yen is a hugely successful actor, director, and martial arts star, having played the titular character in the massively popular Ip Man series.

He also starred in films like Mulan, XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, and Highlander: Endgame, showcasing his action skills along the way.

However, this latest John Wick flick will be his first in the series, and he’ll be playing Caine, a blind assassin who is a friend of Keanu Reeves’ Wick, but also caught up with the villains of the piece, the High Table.

The character wasn’t always called Caine, though.

Yen recently revealed that he deliberately asked for the name of his character to be changed to avoid the usual Asian stereotypes, as well as getting a bit of a rewrite for his character, too.

Donnie Yen in John Wick: Chapter 4.

This isn’t the first time he has asked for changes to be made, with his character Chirrut Imwe in Rogue One from the Star Wars universe also getting tailored to his requests for a less obviously stereotyped role.

On his John Wick dilemma, he said: “The name was Shang or Chang. Why does he always have to be called Shang or Chang? Why can’t he have a normal name? Why do you have to be so generic?”

Then, there was his character’s clothes.

Before he asked for the changes to be made, they were going to have Caine – or Shang/Chang as it might have been - wearing the Mandarin-collared shirts associated with the Far East.

Yen continued: “Then the wardrobe again — oh, mandarin collars. Why is everything so generic?

“This is a John Wick movie. Everybody’s supposed to be cool and fashionable. Why can’t he look cool and fashionable?”

Donnie also starred in Rogue One.

In the end, there was no reason why not.

At the end of the day, Yen said that he had ‘a very respectful experience working on John Wick’, adding: “Overall, I enjoyed making the film.”

During the making of Rogue One, Yen called out the fact that his character was just set to be a typical silent martial arts style character, before the part was slightly re-written to add a few comedic touches.

“One thing I pointed out is he was a stereotype. Typical master. Doesn’t smile,” he said.

Instead, the team recognised his concerns and allowed him to improvise a few jokes on set.

John Wick: Chapter 4 will be in cinemas nationwide from March 24.

Featured Image Credit: Sipa US/LANDMARK MEDIA/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Celebrity, John Wick, Keanu Reeves, Film and TV