Donnie Yen is definitely living up to his name of being “the universe’s strongest”.
The 52-year-old actor and mixed martial artist has been shooting the new Hollywood action film xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, sequel to the 2002 film xXx and the 2005 film xXx: State of the Union.
The Return of Xander Cage is produced by Diesel and directed by D.J. Caruso, reports JayneStarz.
In The Return of Xander Cage, Donnie stars as Xiang, an alpha warrior working at odds with Xander Cage, an athlete-turned-government agent reprised by Diesel.
For the film, Donnie underwent a hellish training regime to get into shape and achieve the ideal male physique.
To compete with Diesel, who is known for his muscles and hardcore action flicks, Donnie said he had to put in even more effort to train his body.
To gain muscle, Donnie put himself in a strict diet and training regimen.
He avoided carb intake, cutting salt, sugar, and starch in his diet.
After several months of hard work at the gym, Donnie finally decided that it was time to show off his new masterpiece.
“I haven’t had a good meal in a while,” said Donnie in an interview with the Hong Kong media.
“But my willpower overcame my hunger. I’m almost 53 years old! I am the only Chinese actor in this film, so I can’t lose to the others!”
Due to diet and biological differences, it is generally more difficult for Asians to build muscle mass and achieve the huge physique.
However, Donnie believes that, through perseverance, everything is achievable.
“I think Chinese actors can rival foreign actors,” said Donnie.
“As long as you put in the effort, there will be good results, and sometimes these results are even stronger than expected. Chinese actors can flourish from this, regardless of age!”
Donnie said it was perseverance and strong will that helped him complete the training.
“Many people tend to give up after coming across an obstacle, but I managed to go past that.
"I want to tell everyone here, including my children, that we must have confidence, determination, and willpower in order to achieve success.
"Being too tired or having no time are just excuses. If I can do it, so can you.”
There is still one more week left before The Return of Xander Cage completes filming.
Donnie said he couldn’t wait to return to Hong Kong to see his son and daughter.
He plans to stop by the United States to visit his parents, and said his biggest wish at the moment is to treat himself to a big meal after filming ends.
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage also stars Samuel L. Jackson and Tony Jaa.