Donnie Yen maybe gongfu badass but can't handle thrill rides

STARS: Donnie Yen and his wife Cecilia Wang (left, in background, clapping) are Resorts World Sentosa’s new brand ambassadors.
PHOTO: The New Paper

On the big screen, Hong Kong action superstar Donnie Yen can take down an army of enemies in one fell swoop.

Stoic and calm in the face of danger, he flaunts his impressive athleticism and deft gongfu chops in popular Chinese martial arts film series Ip Man.

But in real life, the 53-year-old turns into a bundle of nerves when he has to go on a roller coaster.

Yesterday morning, Yen and his wife, socialite-businesswoman Cecilia Wang, 34, were unveiled as Resorts World Sentosa's new brand ambassadors at Equarius Hotel.

Ms Wang told the local media how their 12-year-old daughter, Jasmine, and eight-year-old son, James, love theme parks and roller coasters.

She then pointed to Yen and said: "I think our children are a lot more daring than their papa when it comes to thrill rides."

Yen agreed: "Yes, I am usually the one holding the camera."

When the press conference host Danny Yeo asked Yen if he has a fear of roller coasters, he simply said with a grin: "Well, someone has to hold the camera, right?"


These days, Yen has a lot to smile about.

His latest movie Ip Man 3 dethroned Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the No. 1 spot at the Singapore box office for the last two weekends despite it having 30 fewer prints than the Hollywood blockbuster.

Yen admitted to feeling "very flattered, very thrilled and a little surprised".

He said: "I know our franchise has a strong following and I believed Ip Man 3 would do well. But I didn't think it'd do that well.

"I really have to thank our Singapore fans for the massive support. They are the reason we continue to work hard in what we do."

Ip Man 3 also achieved two other milestones.

It is the first Chinese movie here to cross the $5 million mark in 11 days, making a record-breaking $5.7 million since it opened on Christmas Eve.

It also became the highest-grossing Chinese film in Singapore in a single day when it made over $765,000 on Christmas Day.

Yen gave his two cents' worth on Ip Man 3's huge success.

"The film has a simple storyline, yet it effectively sends a deep, profound message about family values that all of us can relate to," he said.

"There are many other movies with complicated stories, but the message they want to communicate to audiences is not effective.

"Ip Man 3, on the other hand, is uncomplicated. It revolves around basic human emotions and how ordinary people deal with problems."

Yen will next be seen in two Hollywood flicks, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny and the Star Wars spin-off, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

He debunked earlier news reports about Ip Man 3 being his last gongfu film.

"That is not very accurate. If I were to say I'm not going to make any more gongfu films, everyone around me would say 'no'," said Yen.

"And I know a lot of people are harbouring hopes for Ip Man 4.

"Physically, although I have plenty of injuries, I'm still fit. I believe I can do a few more (action) films. With age and time, there will also be more maturity in my acting."

Is he prepping James to be his successor in the world of action cinema?

"My son is eight years old and has a lot of homework and after-school activities," Yen said with a chuckle.

"He does have a black belt in taekwondo, as well as some training in mixed martial arts and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but we want him to focus on his education for now.

"Cecilia and I are not the sort of parents who force our kids to do things they don't like. Ultimately, it is his choice."

When the topic drifted to the secret of his happy 13-year marriage, he said: "Very easy.

"I listen to my wife and let her make the decisions. For men, it is important to be tolerant and gentlemanly.

"Happy wife, happy life."

This article was first published on January 16, 2016.
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