Yen 'beats Li to clinch Jedi role' in Star Wars movie
HONG Kong action star Donnie Yen is to star in Episode VIII of the Stars Wars franchise, said a report.
According to Apple Daily, Yen is expected to be in London early next month to start work on it.
He will play a Chinese Jedi who meets iconic character Han Solo and becomes his ally, said Apple.
The newspaper did not cite any sources or official confirmation for its story yesterday, and named Harrison Ford as returning to play Han.
It said Yen won the role over eight other actors including Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Wang Lee Hom, Chang Chen, Daniel Wu and Stephen Chow.
He and Li were favoured because of their fighting skills and proficiency in English, but Disney eventually gave the role to Yen, who commands US$4 million (S$5.4 million) per movie, and not Li, whose fee is US$10 million.
Apple said Yen, 51, was confirmed for the role about a month ago, but is under an agreement not to leak the news.
Disney announced in March that Episode VIII would be out on May 26, 2017, to be written and directed by Rian Johnson.
J. J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens opens in the United States on Dec 18.
The cast list of Episode VIII on movie website IMDb features only Oscar Isaac. The actor plays Poe Dameron in Episode VII, and he revealed in March that he will appear in Episode VIII as well, according to IMDb.
THE STRAITS TIMES