As the star of the Ip Man series, Donnie Yen is probably famous enough that he can be picky about the kinds of roles he decides to take on—including, apparently, the Star Wars series. Yen is playing the blind monk Chirrut Îmwe in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but according to an interview he gave with JetSet Magazine (via The Hollywood Reporter), he almost didn’t take the role at all. He says the idea of filming Rogue One in London and being away from his family for five months sounded awful, but when he mentioned the possibility of him doing a Star Wars movie to his kids, they “flipped out.”
Once he did get on board with Rogue One, Yen took an active interest in developing his character. He says in the interview that when you hire him, “you’re not just getting an actor; you are getting a choreographer, a director.” He also notes that it was his idea to make the character blind, which seems like a pretty key detail of who Îmwe is. Yen is even excited to be a Lego figure now, and he jokingly mentions that he might collect some of them and “give them out as gifts.”
We’ll get to see what other interesting stuff Donnie Yen does in Rogue One when it hits theaters on December 16.