Donnie Yen has slowly carved out a place for himself among the martial art film genre. Known for the Ip Man films along with co-starring roles in blockbusters such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it's hard to believe that despite all this success, his biggest aspiration would be the finally get production going for the film adaptation of the hit 2012 open world game Sleeping Dogs. A game whose lead character, Wei Shen, had some of his fighting moves modeled after Yen.
Coming full circle, Yen had actually been cast in the film adaptation years ago, set to play the protagonist Wei Shen who, in the original game's story, was an undercover cop in Hong Kong on a mission to take down a powerful criminal organization – the Sun On Yee Triad. However, the film has been in development hell, yet that has stopped Yen for still being game for a film adaptation with discussions ongoing about whether to adapt the game's story directly or do an original narrative for the film:
“I’m still hopeful. I mean, every day they tell me it’s going to happen. I’m co-producing and collaborating with [producers] Neil Moritz and Toby [Ascher], with their company, and currently talking with a couple of big platforms. And they tell me every single day it’s going to happen, so we’ll see. Like I said, I believe in destiny. So, if it’s going to happen, hopefully, it will happen the first half of next year.”
Part of his desire to do the film stems from it offering a new challenge for the martial artist/actor after doing the historical films of Ip Man:
“I was caught in that 12, 13 years of the Ip Man image. I want to go back to…contemporary action. When I look at this material, I said, ‘Wow. This could be a perfect contemporary action world that I could do.’ And it already has a fan base, right? It’s Infernal Affairs. It’s Flash Point. It got all of those elements. Kind of like Raging Fire, but even more edgier because I’m playing an undercover [cop]. I could do so many things.”
Yen added that he can “visualize the whole look of this film”, promising something special if and when the film is made. Here's hoping destiny in deed has this adaptation in Yen's coming destiny. Stay tuned!