April 21st, 2010 •
On March 17, 2010, Song Hye-kyo sneaked to Hong Kong to meet with Tony Leung in preparation for “The Grand Master”. The two chatted for two hours and after the meeting, she walked out cheerfully. She is now in China.
Song Hye-kyo is currently in China working on her next role in “The Grand Master”, the martial arts movie directed by renowned Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, and will apparently be displaying some “real action” skills in the film.
“The Grand Master” stars Tony Leung as Wing Chun grandmaster Yip Man, and also features Chang Chen and Zhang Ziyi. Each of the actors has been outfitted with specialized protective gear that has been made especially for this film, to prevent injury while upping the realism of the fight scenes. The guards are made of silicone and fitted to each actor’s body to move with them and, as they are lightweight, remain undetected underneath clothing. As Song Hye-kyo is reportedly using these guards in filming, we can look forward to seeing her in action. (It’ll be an interesting sight, that’s for sure; Song has always been known for her femininity and beauty, so a martial arts action film will be a complete turnaround from her existing image.)
Song has been traveling back and forth between Korea and China since December, and has been diligently practicing her Chinese language and martial arts skills. “The Grand Master” recently began filming, and is planning for a release in the second half of next year.
Whilst promoting the drama “Worlds Within” in Taiwan, actress Song Hye-kyo told reporters that she is a self-proclaimed fan of Kar Wai, and loves his films such as “As Tears Go By“, “ChungKing Express“, and “In the Mood For Love“. Being able to participate in his film for her first Chinese movie, “The Grand Master”, she is excited. Kar Wai is a director who keeps the script safe in his heart, so actors often don’t know what he’s thinking. However, she is not worried at all. She likes Wong Kar Wai’s style of movie direction, no scripts will give the director more freedom in shooting the movie. “Since I debuted, it’s the first time I’ve come across such an acting style, so I am very excited.”
April 21st, 2010 •
“The Grand Master” has been secretly filming in Diaobingshan, Tieling City for the past two months. In order to prevent the plot from being leaked out, the crew has been extremely strict with reporters visiting the set. Even those delivering food had to sign confidentiality agreements.
On March 30th, reporters were finally able to uncover the latest progress from the movie. Actress Song Hye-kyo finished filming her scenes from the film yesterday. She flew back to South Korea from Shenyang earlier in the day.
Joining the crew after Chinese New Years, Tony Leung had a chance to meet with his idol Zhao Benshan in Diaobingshan. According to sources, Zhao Benshan will be making a guest appearance in “The Grand Master”. While his screen time has still not been confirmed yet, Wong Kar-wai will be keeping the workload light for his friend and will only arrange for him to film one scene in the movie.
Chinese news report regarding the filming of “The Grand Master” near Diaobingshan, China.
Filming at the old station of South Manchuria Railway (before 1945) with a steam engine. Also some scenes of a big funeral, possibly for Yip Man’s relatives.
April 21st, 2010 •
In 2009, Hong Kong newspapers and magazines reported on Brigitte Lin‘s return to film.
Originally thought to be a part as Yip man’s wife in “The Grand Master” it was later speculated that she would star in a different film:
“Brigitte Lin has reportedly decided her return will be with Wong Kar-Wai in an adaption of “The Eternal Yin Hsueh-yen” (aka The Eternal Snow Beauty).
She turned down the role of Ip Man’s wife in “The Grand Master”, as the part wasn’t tailor-made for her, to play the lead in this film.
Filming won’t begin until after “The Grand Master” is completed, Tony Leung wishes to participate.
Taiwanese writer Pai Hsien-yung previously said: “Brigitte Lin is my old friend. She has always wanted to act in movies or dramas adapted from my stories such as “The Eternal Yin Hsueh-yen”, “A Touch of Green’” and etc. I’ve extended my invitations in the past, but she was unable to take up the offer and it was much regretted.”
The Eternal Snow Beauty (永遠的尹雪豔) the aging “Snow Beauty” (Yin Hsueh-yen) looks back on her days as the belle of Shanghai’s Paramount ballroom; she is still the center of attention at upscale mahjong soirees she arranges at her Taipei home.
April 21st, 2010 •
Wong Kar-wai‘s next film is The Grand Master (一代宗師), a biopic of Wing Chun teacher Yip Man.
The film will star Tony Leung Chiu-wai in the title role.
Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Song Hye-kyo and Zhao Benshan are also confirmed.
The actors have training in Wing Chun and other martial arts styles with Yuen Woo-ping’s stunt team for a couple of months. Their preparation hit a setback in 2009 when Leung broke his left arm during training but he has since recovered.
Gong Li and Brigitte Lin were rumoured to star but nothing came of this.
Before anyone complains that Wong Kar-wai is jumping on the Yip Man bandwagon after the recent film, be aware that WKW has been planning the film for nearly ten years.
Wong Kar-wai formally announced plans to make a film about Ip Man in 2002, with Tony Leung and Yip Chun (son of Yip Man) in attendance. However, filming on “2046” overran due to the outbreak of the SARS virus and the subsequent rescheduling problems of the actors. Additionally, the editing and post-production also took longer than expected. After working on-off on “2046″ for four years, as well as extended periods working on “In The Mood For Love” and “Happy Together”, Tony Leung wanted to delay making the Ip Man biopic so he could take time off from working with Wong Kar-wai.
In the interim, Wong Kar-wai planned to make “The Lady From Shanghai” with Nicole Kidman but the project was shelved and he made “My Blueberry Nights” with Norah Jones instead.
He also spent a number of years restoring “Ashes Of Time” which resulted in the new ‘Redux’ version. In 2007, producer Raymond Wong announced that he would make a rival film entitled “Ip Man” starring Donnie Yen. In 2008, Tony Leung turned down a number of films in order to spend an extended period training in Wing Chun for “The Grand Master”.
ENGLISH TITLE: The Grandmasters
CHINESE TITLE: 一代宗師, Yut Doi Jung Si (Cantonese title), Yi Dai Zong Shi (Mandarin title), First Generation Master (Literal English translation), The Grand Master (working title)
DIRECTOR: Wong Kar-wai
STORY BY: Wong Kar-wai
WRITTEN BY: Wong Kar-wai, Zou Jingzhi and Xu Haofeng
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Chan Ye Cheng, Song Dai
PRODUCER: Wong Kar-wai, Jacky Pang Yee-wah
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Michael J. Werner
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Philippe Le Sourd
EDITOR: William Chang Suk-ping
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: William Chang Suk-ping
COSTUME DESIGNER: William Chang Suk-ping
ACTION CHOREOGRAPHER: Yuen Woo-ping
MARTIAL ARTS CONSULTANTS: Lau Kar-leung, Guy Lai, Frankie Chan Fan-kei
ACTORS: Tony Leung Chiu-wai
Julian Cheung Chi-lam
Bruce Leung Siu-lung
GENRE: Action, biography, drama
STATUS: According to a report from Beijing, filming will run from December 12, 2009 to April 18, 2010
Reshoots began in mid-September. Filming currently suspended due to Tony Leung’s comitment to Derek Yee’s ‘The Great Magician’.
RELEASE DATE: Winter 2011 (Hong Kong)
LANGUAGES: Mandarin, Cantonese
BUDGET: US$25 million
PRODUCTION COMPANIES: Block 2 Pictures, Metropole Organization
TAGLINE: “In Martial Arts There is No Right or Wrong, Only the Last Man Standing.”
PLOT: A biopic of Yip Man — the first Chinese man to teach the martial art of Wing Chun openly, training many major level students, including Bruce Lee.
SYNOPSIS: “With martial arts getting more popular in the Thirties, more people seek to learn them via the professionals at Foshan in Southern China. Some of the experienced masters like to challenge their counterparts and undergoing battles. To have their whole concentration, it is their practice to lock up the venues and no one is allowed to leave during battles. No food and no rest before reaching any results.
Ip Man is a young rich man extremely talented in martial arts, but he chooses to keep a low profile. Yet this doesn’t keep him out of these troubles ahead. One day he is trapped in this battleground so he has to use every means in order to get out of there. The masters are amazed by his abilities. Master Kung and his daughter Kung Yi are amongst, and the latter is attracted to this newcomer.
A high warlord is assassinated by his own guard Yi Xian Tian. All masters in Foshan vow to take Tian down no matter what…”
FILMING LOCATIONS: Chikan Movie and Television City, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
Kaiping, Guangdong, China
Diaobingshan, Tieling City, China
Shenyang, Liaoning province, China
Liaoyang, Liaoning province, China
April 21st, 2010 •
My name is Jeffrey and I am a member of wongkarwai.net.
This blog will be a repository for the latest news and info for Hong Kong film director Wong Kar-wai.