The trades confirmed two new projects on the way for actor Donnie Yen, on Tuesday.
The first will be Sleeping Dogs, an adaptation of the Square Enix game which launched in 2012, followed by a remastered version in 2014. Yen, who teased the project on Instagram this week, will star as Wei Shan, an undercover cop transferred to Hong Kong to infiltrate the Triads.
Neal Moritz (Fast and Furious franchise) is still attached to produce the pic alongside DJ2 Entertainment. Director and cast additions remain pending.
One report, an exclusive from Deadline’s Andreas Wiseman and Tom Grater, also announced Golden Empire, which sees Yen as “a notorious drug kingpin who hits the top of the most wanted list for both the U.S. and Mexican governments”. The film hails from Starlight Media and SA Inc., with Starlight’s CEO Peter Luo (Midway, Crazy Rich Asians) also producing the film.
“The talents of Donnie are undeniable and will be utilized in every imaginable way to bring this epic story to life,” Luo said. “Spanning the continents of Asia, North America and South America, Golden Empire is really the first major narco film with an Asian lead that plays to global audiences. Showcasing diversity in cinema, while retaining authenticity, has always been a primary focus of ours, and this unique and fascinating story is representative of our mandate.”
The report also notes that the film “will explore the complexities of the character, showcasing the inner turmoil of one of the world’s most successful multinational drug lords”.
The news comes on the heels of Yen celebrating his political loyalty to China on social media, during the latest anniversarial celebration of Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to the mainland. The commemoration was nil received for some fans who were critical of the actor’s ceremony on social media, in the wake of a new and controversial Hong Kong new law imposed by Beijing, one that reportedly strips most of its freedoms – the latest in a series of explosive updates that have been at the center of major protests in the former British territory in the past year.
Yen’s latest film, Ip Man 4: The Finale, became a soaring hit in China earning $165 million in China, while scoring $3.7 million in Hong Kong (and $4 million stateside), as Rebecca Davis cited in her Variety report on Tuesday.
Yen’s recent credits also include Chasing The Dragon, as well as Enter The Fat Dragon, a re-envisioned revival of the Sammo Hung classic from debut director and stunt professional Kenji Tanigaki, and D.J. Caruso’s xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage.
The famed actor and martial arts star is also on deck for Benny Chan crime thriller, Raging Fire, as well as the production of Polar Search And Rescue, which halted filming indefinitely back in January due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the hopeful August release of Niki Caro’s Mulan from Walt Disney Pictures.