If you recall, back at the end of July we told you that the casting carousel had begun for the upcoming Expendables sequel, this time directed by Simon West of Con Air fame. John Travolta, Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme were some of the names mentioned. However, when talking about the original cast one name was missing: Jet Li.
Li was the most wiry member of the cast, but his action scenes (particularly his one-on-one with Dolph Lundgren) got the short end of the stick due to poor editing decisions. Li, who may have been disappointed with how his scenes were handled may have said “thanks but no thanks” to doing a sequel. This may explain why Sly and the Family Stallone are looking for another martial artist. You can’t do much better then Donnie Yen, one of the hottest and most in-demand Hong Kong actors today.
According to The Playlist (via Twitch and a report in the Oriental Daily), reps for Donnie Yen have confirmed that the martial artist has indeed been offered a role in the action sequel. Though the deal won’t be finalized until Yen sees a script. He’s also considering other projects as well, like the Hong Kong remake of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which drops the formal names and just calls it what it is, Assassin Couple. For that action film Yen will have a $4 million pay day, a figure that is much more lucrative than what he would receive in The Expendables 2. The action sequel would definitely give him some more exposure to U.S. audiences, but he’s still a relative unknown unlike Jet Li, who had been appearing in American productions as far back as 1998 as the heavy in Lethal Weapon 4.
If you have no clue who Donnie Yen is, perhaps the video below will be a nice introduction: