Donnie Yen recounts real danger of filming fight scenes with Mike Tyson

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Donnie Yen, Mike Tyson, Ip Man 3, fight scenes

Donnie Yen took a moment to look back on major events from his career and one of them that emerged as a highlight was some intense memories of shooting fight scenes with Mike Tyson in Ip Man 3.

Yen was at the Shanghai International Film Festival and one of the reasons he attended this year's festival was to speak on top moments of his career during a masterclass. The actor, known specifically for bringing mixed martial arts into mainstream Asian filmmaking, spoke on one particular moment that involved filming a fight with Mike Tyson. As reported by "The Hollywood Reporter", Yen admits that it was an intimidating experience and, despite being a fan of Tyson's boxing career, he recognized that he is a boxer, rather than an actor. Yen then goes on to describe how he had to treat the scene as a real boxing match:

"I had to treat it as a real fight in a boxing ring with him and it was a matter of life and death. I couldn’t afford to be distracted in any way, otherwise it wouldn’t have been a K.O., it would have cost me my life. That was so dangerous! I literally felt the air move with his punch, which was like a truck coming towards me head-on. I felt that wind — woah, that’s still so clear in my mind, so dangerous! His fist was so huge, and it touched my hair."

It's pretty cool to know the process that Yen had to engage in when shooting the fight scene with Tyson. Yen was aware that all of Tyson's moves and beats were that of a boxer and not an actor. It's not going to be second nature for Tyson to hit a mark or pull punches. Yen had to be on top of his game just in case Tyson did what came naturally to him. Not because Tyson was threatening in any way but because Tyson is used to doing what is second nature to him. That shows that Yen respects the process of performing and the process of what goes into being the mentality of a fighter.

Ip Man 3 was released in 2015 and had Yen returning in the title role. The film follows Master Ip as he is forced to stand against a group of criminals led by a twisted property manager (Tyson) looking to claim a school. The biographical action drama was shot in Shanghai and went on to gross $157 million at the global box office on a $36 million budget.

What are YOUR thoughts on Yen's process while filming his fight scene with Mike Tyson?

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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