Half-Malaysian actress Aimee Kwan stars in ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’; recalls Donnie Yen’s kindness on set

Aimee Kwan couldn't believe she got to meet Donnie Yen while making 'John Wick: Chapter 4'. Photo: Reuters, Aimee Kwan/Instagram

Aimee Kwan didn’t even know that she was auditioning for John Wick: Chapter 4 until she got the job as it was “all top secret”.

The fact that she was working on this massive franchise truly hit her when she was on the makeup chair on her first day and Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen walked in with a pastry in his hand.

Yen plays the role a retired killer named Caine who is called back to duty for one last job. Kwan plays Mia, a young woman who has a close connection to Yen’s character.

This is Kwan's first Hollywood role, having started as a classical pianist and violinist from an early age. Born in London, she is a graduate of the Royal College of Music and Oxford University.

In an email interview, the British actress shared: “He came in and he was eating a pastry. And I was just like, ‘Wait, wait a second. This Donnie Yen!’

“I froze for a moment, which I am sure the makeup artist didn't even notice because I was probably meant to be very still anyway.

“And he said good morning, and I was like – when I look back on it, I don’t even know if my voice sounded OK – I know I said hello back.

“Then he just carried on chatting and talking about pastries and what have you. And I'm just there thinking, ‘oh my gosh, he's like, just two feet from me.”

Kwan – whose mother is Thai and father is Malaysian – said when she finally approached Yen on set and chatted with him, he complimented her performance.

“He said he thought I was wonderful. And that, honestly, made me very, very emotional for like the rest of the day. It still makes me emotional now thinking about it.

“He could have just been saying that to be nice, but even so, the fact that he took the effort to say that was very, very appreciated by me.

“I'd been questioning my place in the industry for quite a while. So, to hear that from him was very, very meaningful.”

Kwan and Yen’s scenes were filmed in Paris, France – a location featured prominently in the John Wick: Chapter 4.

According to Kwan, Yen even bought hot drinks for the cast and crew on a particularly cold day in Paris.

“I asked him if I could have a photo with him at the end and he was more than happy to, and yeah, he was just very kind.

“I know it sounds strange to say that someone gave you their time. But I was still very grateful that he gave me his time because he really didn't have to, you know, at all – in any shape or form. So, yes, that's something that I remember very much about him.”

John Wick: Chapter 4 opens at cinemas nationwide on March 23.

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