HK actor Donnie Yen requested for changes to ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ script to avoid Asian stereotyping
KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — The director of John Wick: Chapter 4 made changes to the script following complaints of Asian stereotyping by one of its actors, Donnie Yen.
Yen said his character in the movie was initially named Shang or Chang who wears a Mandarin collar wardrobe.
Thankfully, director Chad Stahelski listened to Yen’s criticism and agreed to modify it, GQ reported.
“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 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?” Yen said.
This was not the first time Yen had successfully made changes to a script.
When the 59-year-old was courted to star as blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe in Disney’s Star Wars prequel movie Rogue One, the script positioned the character as a stereotypical martial artist.
“One thing I pointed out is he was a stereotype. Typical master. Doesn’t smile,” Yen said.
The actor made his opinions known to the creative team who responded by overhauling the script to give Chirrut more comedic beats.
Yen was even afforded opportunities to improvise jokes during filming.
For John Wick: Chapter 4, Yen appears as Caine, a blind assassin caught between his ties to the villainous High Table and his friendship with Keanu Reeves’ eponymous killer.
The movie will open in theatres on March 24.