Donnie Yen to act in Star Wars?

Donnie Yen in 2014 action thriller Kung Fu Jungle.
Donnie Yen in 2014 action thriller Kung Fu Jungle. PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

HONG KONG - Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen is joining the cast of Episode VIII of the Stars Wars franchise, said a report.

According to Apple Daily, Yen is expected to be in London early next month to start film work.

He will play a Chinese Jedi who meets iconic character Han Solo and becomes his ally, said Apple.

The newspaper did not cite any sources or official confirmation for its story yesterday, and named Harrison Ford as returning to play Han Solo.

It said Yen won the role over eight other actors including Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wang Leehom, Chang Chen, Daniel Wu and Stephen Chow.

He and Li were favoured because of their fighting skills and proficiency in English, but Disney eventually gave the role to Yen, who commands US$4 million (S$5.4 million) a movie, and not Li whose fee is US$10 million.

Donnie Yen will play a Chinese Jedi in Episode VIII. PHOTO: AFP

Apple said Yen, 51, was confirmed for the role about a month ago but is under an agreement not to leak the news.

Disney announced in March that Episode VIII would come out on May 26, 2017, to be written and directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, 2012).

J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens opens in the United States this year on Dec 18.

The cast list of Episode VIII on movie website IMDb features only Oscar Isaac.

The actor plays Poe Dameron in Episode VII and he revealed in March that he will appear in Episode VIII as well, according to IMDb.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2015, with the headline 'Donnie Yen to act in Star Wars?'. Print Edition | Subscribe