Welp, if there’s anything that’ll guarantee butts in seats for the next and fourth chapter of the John Wick film franchise, it’s Donnie Yen.
Mike Fleming Jr. reports at Deadline the martial arts superstar will lend his screenfighting prowess to the fray of director Chad Stahelski’s world of assassins and criminal politics. Yen joins lead returning actor Keanu Reeves in a role described as “an old friend of Reeves’ super assassin John Wick, who shares his same history and many of the same enemies.” Also starring is Japanese-British pop superstar Rina Sawayama.
Shooting begins this summer in France, Germany and Japan from a script by Shay Hatten and Michael Finch, with Stahelski, Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee producing. Reeves is exec producing with Louise Rosner executive producers.
“We are very lucky to have Donnie Yen join the franchise,” said Stahelski. “I am looking forward to working with him in this exciting new role.”
Added Iwanyk: “Donnie Yen will bring a vibrant and powerful energy to the franchise. We were determined to bring him on board to John Wick 4 and are thrilled for the opportunity to have such a major talent to collaborate with Keanu.”
As a protégé of Yuen Woo-Ping, Yen began his road to fruition in the mid-1980s as one of Hong Kong’s brightest rising superstars next to the likes of Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-Fat. He reached a new milestone crossing over with his 1993 kung fu thriller, Iron Monkey, through Miramax the following year, before appearing in Highlander: Endgame, Blade 2, and Shanghai Knights.
Yen continues to straddle both Eastern and Western productions with recent credits such as Bodyguards and Assassins the four-part Ip Man saga, xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage, and Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Movie, Teddy Chan’s Kung Fu Killer and Niki Caro’s Mulan among others. He is currently tapped to star in a live-action adaptation of Sleeping Dogs, and will next appear in late director Benny Chan’s final film, Raging Fire, in July.