Wong Kar Wai‘s first 3D film ‘The Grandmaster 3D’ will open in Mainland China on January 8. Yesterday a premiere press conference was held in Beijing with Bona Film’s chief Yu Dong, director Wong Kar-wai, actors Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Max Zhang Jin, Wang Qingxiang in attendance. The director said that ‘The Grandmaster 3D’ returned to the silver screen in response to the audience’s demand. He hoped for the film to be able to bring the audience back to the bygone martial art world with the best appearance and 3D technology.
At the event, Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen and other stars expressed the unique flavour of director Wong Kar-wai in their hearts. Zhang Ziyi said, “The flavour of director Wong Kar Wai is the flavour of the moment when a match is lit.” Chang Chen described his impression of Wong Kar-wai as whiskey. “The flavour is great in the beginning and has a lot that are worthy savouring.” Working with Wong Kar-wai for the eighth time, Tony Leung joked that after the director quit smoking, every time he saw him he had the flavour of chewing gum.
Wong Kar-wai made a humorous simile with food. He compared Tony Leung Chiu Wai to tofu, saying that he was “accurate, precise, his acting can be both meat and vegetarian, great both inside and out.” Zhang Ziyi was like a vegetable queen onion, “Spicy and crunchy it is a very northern specialty, but the flavour after maturity is sweet”. Chang Chen would always be “little fresh meat” in the heart of director Wong Kar Wai, with “the always boiling like water cooked fish” Zhang Jin and the “as masculine as Lao Bai Gan” Wang Qingxiang, ‘The Grandmaster 3D’ was the ultimate feast of 3D sights and sounds.
The Grandmaster 3D’s production process took seven years of preparation, over three years of production and a year for the 3D conversion, every drop of which collected the effort of the creators. Tony Leung said that the entire production process was very memorable. When he watched Zhang Ziyi working on the night scene in the Northeast in 20 degrees Celsius below zero, he felt that she truly has contributed a lot. Zhang Ziyi felt that what she got from The Grandmaster 3D already far surpassed what she gave. Working with director Wong Kar-wai she learned to enjoy film even more, and she was very happy to be able to receive his priceless friendship.
On the day of the event, Chang Chen even revealed that director Wong Kar-wai would often have inspirations out of the blue, as he kept adding in these new ideas to the film. The director once asked him during his training, “How do you feel if I let Yi Tianxian perform Beijing Opera?” Chang Chen could not help but complain.
At the press conference, the real reason behind Wong Kar-wai’s sunglasses was revealed. Sunglasses and suits have become Wong Kar-wai’s symbolic look, actually it was the “price” that the director has paid for focusing on film over the years. With long term and excessive use at work, the director’s eyes were very sensitive to light. Thus he would always wear sunglasses. Thus all the stars put on the sponsor’s 3D “glasses” as a salute to director Wong Kar-wai.
A press conference for ‘The Grandmaster 3D’ was held in Shenzhen, with director Wong Kar-wai announcing that Tony Leung and Chang Chen‘s duel will appear for the first time, calling it “a shot that is worth more than gold”. Chang Chen revealed that this scene was the final scene shot for the film and the entire process took 90 hours to shoot.
In ‘The Grandmaster 3D’, Wong Kar-wai added the “blade listening duel” between Chang Chen’s Tai Chi Fist master Yi Xiantian and Tony Leung’s Ip Man on Ten Le Long Street. He felt that “a shot that is worth more than gold” also expressed his attitude toward film. In order to make the duel between two masters Ip Man and Yi Xiantian in its best condition, Chang Chen and Tony Leung did a lot of preparation. The entire scene’s production in the end took 90 hours, finally the mutual admiration from the masters’ exchange was performed to its most thorough.
Under Wong Kar-wai’s order, the crew spent two months to take inventory of ‘The Grandmaster 3D’s’ hundreds of thousands of props and finally they were able to find this blade again. At the event Wong Kar Wai personally presented it to Chang Chen as a gift who brought it to the press conference.
Wong Kar-wai‘s hotly anticipated The Grandmaster 3D is set for release in China on 8th January 2015. The film’s final poster and trailer have been unveiled, with Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen‘s appearing in never-before-seen footage.
Wong Kar-wai said that 3D was the most suitable method to bring about a wuxia film like The Grandmaster. The film is based on a foundation of long preparation time and attentive production, as well as investment of massive manpower and material, to create a 3D film. From The Grandmaster 3D‘s poster and trailer, this epic was not simply a 3D visual handling of the original shots. Wong Kar-wai re-edited the film, the storytelling order and structure were adjusted anew as he completed a new film with a more outstanding theme and a more smooth flowing story.
After the 3D conversion, The Grandmaster was shrunk down to 111 minutes. The pace was even faster and the story even more powerful, suitable for the audience to watch at the movies and experience this brand new viewing. He said, “3D is a very effective method, giving the expression of the story even more space and possibilities.” Wong Kar-wai felt that after an all new editing and mixing in 3D, the film in the end reached its best quality. He hoped that The Grandmaster 3D would be able to provide everyone with a new angle on the story.
Wong Kar Wai said that The Grandmaster 3D displayed the “fighting is like kissing” scenario; Chang Chen’s portrayal of Yi Ziantian appeared to be even more skilled and daring. The most mysterious martial art style of Zhang Ziyi’s character Gong Er, the “64 palms” might possibly show its true face again. In The Grandmaster, Ip Man and Gong Er only had two duels but was so deeply impressed by the “64 palms” that he found it hard to forget. He only wanted to see such great kung fu again, unfortunately due to various reasons Gong Er’s special abilities finally vanished from the world, without any “echo”. Yet in the end of The Grandmaster 3D‘s trailer, Gong Er’s line “If you want to see the 64 palms, you only have the time it takes to open a fan” was added. Seemingly there was room for something more.
Wong Kar-wai headed to Los Angeles for in-depth communication with top Hollywood 3D team Gener8 to ensure that the film preserves all of its “Eastern presence”. With the skills of technicians, in the end the rain and snow scenes and the kung fu displays had more dimension. Some of the 3D edition’s exclusive video even appeared in the trailer.
The 33rd Annual Hong Kong Film Awards was held on April 13 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre. With the most nominations of 14, ‘The Grandmaster‘ won 12 awards to become the big winner and broke the 9 award records that ‘Comrades, Almost A Love Story‘ and ‘Cold War‘ held. It won Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Action Choreography, Best Original Score, Best Sound Effects. Zhang Ziyi won her 9th Best Actress award for the film while Nick Cheung‘s performance in ‘Unbeatable‘ defeated Tony Leung for Best Actor.
Zhang Ziyi won the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress for the second time after previously winning for ‘2046‘. As the awards presenter for Best Actress, Nick Cheung praised all the nominees including Zhang Ziyi, Tang Wei, and Paw Hee-ching, before announcing the year’s grand winner. Regarding Zhang Ziyi, he remarked, “Everyone calls her ‘International Zhang’. I noticed she has already reached international levels when I watched her outstanding performance in ‘The Grandmaster’ for the first time. She has a very high chance of receiving the award.” Adding to the exciting atmosphere, Nick spilled one of ‘The Grandmaster’s’ classic quotes to reveal Zhang Ziyi as the winner. In all smiles, Zhang Ziyi took turns hugging her costars including Tony Leung, Chang Chen, Max Zhang, Ada Choi, and director Wong Kar-wai, before heading onstage to claim her award. In midst of taking deep breaths, she uttered her speech of gratitude towards the cast and crew of ‘The Grandmaster’:
“Thank you the people of Hong Kong for your encouragement and recognition, thank you Leung Chiu-wai. No matter tonight who goes home with the award, he will forever be the Best Actor in my heart. In 2009, Wong Kar-wai approached me about this film. I was so happy that I was jumping around like a rabbit when I told my parents, not because making Wong Kar-wai’s film could lead to an award but because his films would show an actor’s most excellent side. During the three years in production, I have had a lot of life experience and shed many tears. I occasionally fell, but I believed that someday someone would help you up and get you moving ahead. He was Wong Kar-wai. I am not emotional because I feel wronged, but because I am grateful.”
Backstage she said that she did not know why she cried even more than when she won her first Hong Kong Film Award 10 years ago, the older she got the more sentimental she got. ‘The Grandmaster’ has brought her 9 Best Actress awards, Zhang Ziyi said, “As the saying goes ‘9 9 return to 1’, I will also start anew and continue to make good movies.”
Nick Cheung got muscular to make ‘Unbeatable’. He defeated Tony Leung Leung for Best Actor, his second victory after ‘The Beast Stalker‘ in 2009. However Leung was very magnanimous and took the initiative to congratulate Cheung.
After 19 years, Wong Kar-wai finally won the Best Director award again. He previously won with ‘Days Of Being Being Wild‘ and ‘ChungKing Express‘. Wong Kar-wai admitted that the road to the stage was not longer, but to get on it again he already took 20 years. Presenter Carina Lau joked that Wong Kar-wai and Tony Leung must really love each other because they both insisted on working with the other. ‘The Grandmaster’ won 12 awards, setting a new record for the most awards. Wong Kar-wai said, “Film is the same as kung fu, it’s about the word ‘believe’. I cheer for Hong Kong film.” ‘The Grandmaster’ also won Best Film. Winning Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design with ‘The Grandmaster’, William Chang has already won the two awards for the 7th time, but due to an injury he could not attend.
Max Zhang won his first Hong Kong Film Award for Best Supporting Actor, he was so emotional that he sobbed with his wife Ada Choi in an embrace. He said as he cried, “Thank you Zhang Ziyi, thank you Leung Chiu-wai, special thanks to Yuen Woo Ping, without Yuen Woo Ping I couldn’t work with Wong Kar-wai. Thank you Wong Kar-wai, people say that making his film would win an award. I got it, I wouldn’t even dream it. Thank you to my wife Choi Siu-fun. Some have said that I would depend on her for the rest of my life, yes! My happiness for the rest of my life will depend on her. Once due to bad attitude I said to me, ‘What use is it that you are the only one who appreciates me in the world?’ Now everyone appreciates me. At the wedding that we would weather any storm together, we have experienced too many storms. I hope in the future we will have more scenery. From now on for richer or for poorer we have to spend it together.” Zhang later accepted the Best Action Choreography award for Yuen Woo Ping. He said, “One of the missing on the Malaysia Airline flight is the film’s action coordinator Ju Kun. Now since the matter still has not been cleared up, I want to loudly say to him, Ju Kun part of this award belongs to you, come back soon!”
THE 33RD HONG KONG FILM AWARDS
BEST FILM THE GRANDMASTER
BEST DIRECTOR Wong Kar Wai (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST SCREENPLAY Zou Jingzhi, Xu Haofeng, Wong Kar-wai (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ACTOR Nick Cheung (UNBEATABLE)
BEST ACTRESS Zhang Ziyi (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Max Zhang (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Kara Wai (RIGOR MORTIS)
BEST NEW PERFORMER Babyjohn Choi (THE WAY WE DANCE)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Philippe Le Sourd (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST FILM EDITING William Chang, Benjamin Courtines, Poon Hung Yiu (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ART DIRECTION William Chang, Alfred Yau (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST COSTUME AND MAKE UP DESIGN William Chang (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ACTION CHOREOGRAPHY Yuen Woo Ping (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE Shigeru Umebayashi, Nathaniel Mechaly (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ORIGINAL FILM SONG LET’S DANCE (THE WAY WE DANCE)
BEST SOUND DESIGN Robert Mackenzie, Traithep Wongpaiboon (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS Enoch Chan (RIGOR MORTIS)
BEST NEW DIRECTOR Adam Wong Sau Ping (THE WAY WE DANCE)
BEST FILM FROM MAINLAND AND TAIWAN SO YOUNG
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Cheung Sing Yim
The 8th Asian Film Awards took place last night in Macau. With 11 nominations ‘The Grandmaster’ was the big winner as it won 7 awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score and Best Cinematography. Zhang Ziyi won her 8th Best Actress Award for portraying Gong Er in the film, whilst Tony Leung lost out to Indian actor Irrfan Khan in the Best Actor category.
Wong Kar-wai won Best Director and Best Film, and when he accepted the awards he was somewhat emotional. He said, “This award very regrettably cannot be shared with one of our stunt coordinators. He (Ju Kun) was a passenger on the missing Malaysia Airline flight. I hope Malaysia authorities would do its best to give us an understanding of the progress and the truth with more transparency.” He also sent his deepest condolences to the family of the passengers’ families. After the event Wong Kar-wai said that he hoped to help Ju Kun’s family through a family lawyer. As for Tony Leung again losing in the Best Actor category, Wong Kar-wai said that without the two Grandmasters Leung and Chang Chen, the film’s brilliance would not have been the same.
Upon being named Best Actress Zhang Ziyi happily embraced Wong Kar-wai then went to the stage and accepted the award from Carina Lau‘s hands. She said, “Thank you Asian Film Awards, the director and the Best Actor in my heart Mr. Leung Chiu-wai. I believe that many actors here feel the same as I do and experience the liveliness of the character with me. In addition it is without a mask, it is flesh and blood.” She said, “Like the tragedy that just happened, they all had lives of flesh and blood. They were our friends, family members. Here today, aside from celebration, I also want to salute valuable life.”
Zhang Ziyi said, “This time while working on ‘The Grandmaster’ I built deep relationships with the crew. I have already worked with Wong Kar-wai when I was very little, he is my teacher and my friend. The film production process was rather tough, ordinary people must not be able to feel that, in particular during the training. Today I am very upset for a reason, the team has a friend……who made me experience that I have to cherish life and those around me more. I hope this matter can give the real truth to the family.”
THE 8TH ASIAN FILM AWARD WINNERS
BEST FILM: THE GRANDMASTER
BEST DIRECTOR: Wong Kar Wai (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST ACTOR: Irrfan Khan (THE LUNCHBOX)
BEST ACTRESS: Zhang Ziyi (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Huang Bo (NO MAN’S LAND)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Yeo Yann Yann (ILO ILO)
BEST NEWCOMER: Jiang Shuying (SO YOUNG)
BEST SCREENWRITER: Ritesh Batra (THE LUNCHBOX)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER: Philippe Le Sourd (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Willian Chang Suk Ping, Alfred Yau Wai Ming (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST COMPOSER: Shigeru Umebayashi, Nathaniel Mechanly (THE GRANDMASTER)
BEST EDITOR: Shin Min-Kyung (COLD EYES)
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Jeong Seong-Jin (MR. GO)
BEST COSTUME DESIGNER: William Chang Suk Ping (THE GRANDMASTER)
A new featurette for ‘The Grandmaster‘ has just been released showing the work of French studio BUF, the VFX group behind the atmospherics in the film.
The full production notes can be read here: http://buf.com/visual_effects.php?display=text&id=1053&year=2013
Wong Kar-wai received the French cultural world’s highest honour Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Two nights ago he and his wife, actor Chang Chen, cinematographer Christopher Doyle and his film team celebrated. Doyle left around 11:30PM. saying, “The party is a family gathering, everyone wasn’t just excited about Wong Kar-wai’s honor but also proud to be a part of the team.”
Around midnight, Wong Kar-wai left with his wife. He said that the party included teams from his first film to his most recent one, as well as many friends from different places, thus he was very happy. Earlier, Wong Kar Wai went to a hot pot casserole shop with friends. They drank outdoors and chatted until 1AM but the neighbours complained about how loud they were. The police came to investigate. Wong Kar-wai said, “After midnight we already returned indoors, I am sorry to have disturbed the residents.”
Acclaimed director Wong Kar-Wai was saluted with France’s highest cultural honour on Sunday in celebration of his lengthy career. Having already received the National Order of the Legion of Honour, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Commander of France’s Order of Arts and Letters). Yesterday he accepted the honour with his wife from the French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius. He was so happy that he kissed his wife on the cheek twice. Actors Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Chang Chen and other company employees congratulated him.
Laurent Fabius said that Wong Kar-wai has brought Hong Kong culture to France. His influence has been recognized and planted in the hearts of the French people. Wong Kar-wai said, “I am very happy, this is a type of recognition and support for my team and Hong Kong film. My wife will take care of the honour, I am used to handing over everything to my wife.” He had no intention of emmigrating to France due to the high tax rate.
Wong Kar-wai disagreed that the French audience preferred his films. Most markets had Hollywood films had their mainstream, only France had room for different films. He said, “Chinese films perform poorly overseas so just focusing on one market is impossible. Film is a very lively culture.” he would not make French style films due to the honour. If he deliberately do something for others it would be meaningless. Speaking of Tony Leung taking a year off after completing “The Grandmaster”, Wong Kar-wai joked, “I just needed to take 9 months off. The film will be released in France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Korea and the U.S. I will take Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi to promote the film.”
Tony Leung said that recently he has been busy with computer lessons. He has already made plans with Wong Kar-wai to celebrate with a few drinks at night. “His movies are very unique and promote Hong Kong culture of the 50s and the 60s. Their productions are very intricate as well. Some feels that he spends a lot of time and money, but spending such much effort is truly not easy.”
The new US trailer for Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster” has finally been released, complete with annoying voiceover.
The film will finally be released in America on August 23.