Donnie Yen Was Near Blind While Filming ‘Rogue One’

To prepare for his role as a blinded super-fighter in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen wore contact lenses in real life to simulate his character’s lack of vision.

Yen — a 53-year-old Chinese martial arts expert who is credited with popularizing Wing Chun — took on the role of Chirrut Imwe, a blind Force specialist, and recently told People what it was like working with whited out contact lenses while filming.

“[It] was difficult, a lot more difficult than I expected,” Yen told People, also noting that the contacts blurred his vision to near blindness.

Yen said the most difficult part of wearing them was figuring out how to properly interact with his cast mates. “How do you find the confidence [to deliver] the character’s performance when you’re losing the security of being personal? And how do you interact with other actors?” he said. “For example, [when] I was acting with Felicity Jones, I couldn’t look at her in the eye, I couldn’t draw stimulation or reaction, I have to look straight because I can’t see.”

Not only did Yen say the contacts were uncomfortable to wear, they forced him to wait 30 minutes after taking them off before he could put them back.

“Rogue One” hits theaters on Friday and tells the story of a group of rebel fighters who take on a mission to the plans to the Death Star before the emperor can catch them. The film is set after Episode III and also stars Jiang Wen, Riz Ahmed, Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Ben Mendelsohn.