Andy On Gives Us an Update on "Special Identity," Including His Ten Minute Fight Scene with Donnie Yen

Posted 10:48 PM January 29th, 2013 by Senh Duong
Andy On and Donnie Yen in "Special Identity"

News has been kinda scant on Donnie Yen’s crime thriller “Special Identity” since Vincent Zhao’s controversial departure. Shortly afterwards, Yen called upon three martial arts veterans to replace him: Andy On (“True Legend”), Collin Chou (“The Matrix Reloaded”), and Ken Lo (“Drunken Master II”). That’s more than enough to make up for Zhao’s presence.

Since then, a few stills have surfaced online, but not much else.

Luckily, we’re able to reach On, Zhao’s replacement, and get an update from him. If you’re a fan of action cinema from the East, you’ve probably already seen or heard of him. If not, here’s a brief intro...

On is an Asian American actor from Providence, Rhode Island who got his big break when Tsui Hark casted him as Jet Li’s replacement for the sequel to “Black Mask” titled “Black Mask 2: City of Masks.”

Since then, he’s moved on to roles in the other spectrum: playing formidable villains that beat the crap out of some of the industry’s biggest action stars. He fought Jackie Chan in “New Police Story,” Donnie Yen in “The Lost Bladesman,” and Vincent Zhao in “True Legend.” And now, it looks like he’ll fight Yen again -- using mixed martial arts this time -- in “Special Identity.”

In our interview, I asked him how he got involved; to clarify his role (is it a replacement or a new role?); about the ten minute fight scene that’ll serve as the film’s finale; and about his future projects, including “Once Upon A Time in Shanghai” with Sammo Hung; and about his current favorite pastime, Diablo 3.

How did you get involved in “Special Identity”?

One day I got a call from Donnie and he wanted me to help him out. I was very excited and said "hell yes" without knowing what it was about.

There’s been conflicting stories about your role, as to whether you’ll replace Zhao’s character or a new character will be created for you. What’s your role in the film? Can you comment on what’s going to happen to what Zhao had already shot?

Since the departure of Mr. Zhao, the production had to make some major adjustments. The role I play is a gangster named Sunny, a new character that was added to the script. I'm not sure what they're gonna do about Mr. Zhao's shots.

Because of the circumstances surrounding how you became involved in the film, did you get any time to prepare for your role?

Not really. Just packed and went up to Shenzhen. Did the fitting a couple days before shooting.

You’ve worked with both Vincent Zhao and Donnie Yen before. If you don't mind me asking, what’s your take on Zhao’s departure? Have you talked to both of them regarding it?

I think some misunderstandings couldn't be settled and that's why Mr. Zhao left. Of course, I was nosey enough to ask Donnie about what happened, but he said it was a shame they couldn't work together. I haven't spoke to Mr. Zhao since the promotion of “True Legend.”

I’ve read that there’ll be a 10 minute fight scene between you and Yen. What could we, as fans, expect?

It's gonna be a raw and dirty street fight. Donnie and his crew put a lot of effort in the final fight scene. We both took a lot of punches, kicks, knees, elbows from each other. Literally.

How do you like playing the heavy in movies? It seems like if any of the top stars in the HK/China film biz needs a formidable villain to match up with, you’re the guy they call up. Will we see you in any good guy roles in the future?

I feel pretty damn lucky. I fought almost everyone out there, including Jackie. I can't ask for more. I do have a few projects coming up where I play the nice guy. Definitely not as fun as playing the villain. lol.

On IMDB, it shows that you’ve worked with Sammo Hung on “Once Upon A Time in Shanghai.” Can you tell us a little bit about that project?

Didn't get a chance to meet Sammo on the set cuz we didn't have any scenes together. I'm really really excited for the release of "Once Upon A Time in Shanghai." I think the audience is in for a big surprise. With the awesome combo of Philip Ng and director Wong Ching Po, and of course me making them look good, not to mention Sammo and a whole lot of talents in the movie . It's gonna rock.

What other upcoming projects are you working on?

Currently I'm shooting two movies at the same time. One with Daniel Wu and the other with Nicholas Tse.

What’s your martial arts background? From your bio on wikipedia, it sounded like you started pretty late, but was able to pick it up quickly.

First time I had real martial arts training was when Tsui Hark decided it would be fun for me to stay in Shaolin for a month to learn some basic kung fu for the role of Black Mask. I also had 2 months training for the role of Tank in “Star Runner.” And I recently just did a Dante Lam movie which required me to learn BBJ. They gave me 2 days to train. I learn quick :)

From what I’ve read, you play a lot of video games? Which games are you currently playing?

I'm still grinding away on Diablo 3. Love it.

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