ByMatt Juul, writer at Creators.co
Digital Arts and Entertainment Writer at Boston Magazine
Matt Juul

It turns out that martial arts movie icon Donnie Yen is just as big a badass in real life as he is on screen.

In a new interview with Jetset Magazine, the #StarWars and xXx: Return of Xander Cage star briefly chatted about a few memorable fight moments that weren't caught on cameras, including taking on a Hong Kong gang all by himself.

According to the article, a younger, more rebellious Yen famously sent eight gang members to the hospital during the incident, which allegedly involved the troublesome youths harassing the actor's then girlfriend at a nightclub before he taught them a lesson. While the fight is now a legend among the people of Hong Kong, Yen "nonchalantly" told Jetset that the story was "blown out of proportion."

What hasn't been blown out of proportion are Yen's martial arts chops. A lifelong practitioner, the #RogueOne star's mother is also a Tai Chi grandmaster who founded the Chinese Wushu Research Institute in Boston. Yen himself has studied a variety of styles over the years and is often credited with popularizing modern Wing Chun and MMA in China, according to the piece.

Apparently, even a fake fight with Yen is a dangerous proposition as he once injured former boxing champion Mike Tyson during filming for Ip Man 3. Tyson ended up in the hospital with a broken finger following their on screen encounter.

“I felt bad about that,” Yen told Jetset. "It was just an accident.”

As for the deadly martial arts star's next big screen outing, Yen revealed that he had a lot of input into his Force-sensitive character of Chirrut Imwe. He even suggested to director Gareth Edwards that they make the rebel fighter blind.

Yen told Jetset that he likes to take a hands on approach when he signs onto a movie, akin to the late pop superstar Michael Jackson's actions in the documentary This Is It.

“When you hire me, you’re not just getting an actor; you are getting a choreographer, a director,” He said. “[Michael Jackson] was singing, and at the same time he would stop and say, ‘no, the beat comes in here,’ or ‘you need to be faster,’ or ‘you are one step off.’ Because if you want Michael Jackson, you’re not just getting a performer, you’re getting the whole package.”

Do you think Donnie Yen will be the breakout star of Rogue One? Let us know in the comments below.