Donnie Yen was born on July 27, 1963 in Canton, China. - Chinese martial artist, actor, director, producer, stunt and fight scene director. Donnie lived in Canton for two years, after which Ian's parents moved to Hong Kong, where they lived until Donnie was 11 years old. Donnie's mother practiced wushu (she practiced tai chi chuan) and archery, and his father worked as a newspaper editor. In Hong Kong, Yen's mother, Mai Baochan (Mac Bowsim), tried to open her own wushu school, but she never got around to it (rumor has it that plans were strongly opposed by the Hong Kong Mafia). Seeing no prospects in the British provinces, the Yen family travels to the other side of the Atlantic and settles in Boston. It is there that May Baochang's dream comes true - she opens her own Chinese Wushu Research Institute, which soon becomes one of the most popular not only in Boston, but in all America. Donnie Yen began practicing wushu at his mother's school. At that time little Donnie adored films about kung fu (as Americans called wushu) and was constantly discovering in them new tricks, which then perfected in training. His favorite actors were Bruce Lee and the then very young Jackie Chan, but Chuck Norris Ian did not like. In the early 80′s, Donnie Yen becomes a regular visitor to the place in suburban Boston, the so-called "Battle Zone," where illegal no-holds-barred fights took place. There Ian meets representatives of the Triad, who decide to patronize a capable fighter. Donny's life begins to change: night clubs, girls and gangster brawls. No one knows how it all would have ended if it was not for Bow Sim Mak, who "to be on the safe side" sends her son to Beijing. In Beijing Donnie Yen joins the national wushu team, coached by the famous Chinese masters Li Yumen. Donnie trains with him for two years and then decides to return to the States. But his way to America is via Hong Kong, and there Ian absolutely accidentally gets on a casting of a new wushu film "Drunken Tai-chi" ("Drunken Shaolin Master"). Directed by Yuan Hepin, the future hit of Hong Kong semi-basement video salons, seeing what he can do, two minutes of the crew, opening their mouths, watching an impromptu sparring young man, decides to take him in the lead role. And Donny agrees "for fun", he had never before seen himself as an actor. In fact, it turned out that his invitation to take part in the film, he is obliged to sister Wu-Ping, who was a former pupil of his mother Ian and recommended him. The role of Donnie Yen, along with Jett Lee in the new action movie Tsui Hark, "Once Upon a Time in China 2. Brought him fame by making Donnie a real star on the Hong Kong scale, and he wins the award for "Best Supporting Male Actor." Donnie has a rather bad opinion of everything around him. He thinks Yuen Woo-Ping, his mentor, is a totally unprofessional director, he says that Tsui Hark listens to his wife who chooses him to do the right thing, and Ching Siu-Tung is too annoying for everyone with his sheets. Believes that Benny Chan is grossly overrated.
Despite his unflattering opinion of other people, Ian is critical of many of his films as well. A small excerpt from the interview:
- At this point, when you can look back over your career, I see a couple of movies that aren't quite successful, like "Cheetah on Fire" or "Crystal Hunt."
- Donnie Yen: I'm not proud of those pictures, but everybody has to make a living somehow. That's why you have to transcend your pride to pay the bills. It's very simple, I hate these films.
- Basically, I like one of your old films, "Holy Virgin VS. Evil Dead", it's really not a bad movie if you watch it with the right mood.Donnie Yen: I hate them all. Donnie loves Michael Bay movies, and considers almost the highest achievement of civilization the movies "The Rock" and "Armageddon." "Good Will Hunting" is another one of his favorite movies.