Not directly connected to The Grand Master, but here are a couple of new publicity stills released by Jet Tone Films (Wong Kar-wai’s production company):
Director Wong Kar-Wai has been busy working on his own movie about the legendary Wing Chun master Ip Man. They recently completed shooting in the Northeast region of China and will soon head South to Guangzhou. Before filming resumes for The Grand Master, his all-star cast gets a one-week break while the crew is moving the set.
Korean star Song Hye-Kyo will be one of the cast members participating in the Guangzhou filming. She was previously rumored to have gained weight, but the actress looked very slim when she was spotted in Hong Kong shopping for some DVD’s. According to the news, she has been working hard on her moves as well as her Chinese, and hopes to complete the film with her own voice.
On the other hand, “Ip Man” Tony Leung didn’t get much of a break as he had to film a commercial in the mainland. When asked about working with Song Hye-Kyo, he said they actually met each other back at the premiere of his film 2046. He was also asked if they share any intimate scenes, Tony Leung responded, “How would I know! There hasn’t been any in the script so far. (Will there be some later?) We’ll know when the time comes!”
Their co-star Chang Chen hasn’t been home for months since filming started, therefore he returned to Taiwan during the break to get some summer clothing. Meanwhile, actress Zhang Ziyi will also take part in the Guangzhou filming, but the production remained tight-lipped concerning what role she is playing.
13 December 2007
Interview with Wong Kar-wai with LondonNet:
What can you tell us about Lady From Shanghai, the film you’re doing with Nicole Kidman?
WKW: Well, we’re working on the script. We have ideas. Normally I will build a story around one character and I think it will be interesting to have Nicole Kidman play it as a woman who claims she came from Shanghai, and it’s very mysterious. This will be the next one and Grand Master will be the one after because Tony needs some time to practice all these martial arts skills.
1 April 2008
Interview with Wong Kar-wai for The Diva Review:
MG: “And what is coming up after My Blueberry Nights?
WKW: Actually, we are working on two projects at this point. One is called The Grandmaster, which is with Tony to play the master of Bruce Lee…
MG: Yip Man?
WKW: Yeah! And the other one is The Lady from Shanghai.
MG: Will that actually be made in Shanghai?
WKW: The original idea is to shot the most part of it in Shanghai, a part of it here and in Russia.
MG: Is there a cast for that yet?
WKW: It’s with Nicole Kidman.
16 April 2008
Interview with Wong Kar-wai for Ain’t It Cool News:
Where are you right now with THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI. Where is that?
WKW: We are still working on this project. And, we have to work up a schedule with Nicole [Kidman]. And at the same time, we are also working on several projects at this point, projects like THE GRAND MASTER, which is the story about the teacher of Bruce Lee.
So, Nicole Kidman’s still planning on doing LADY FROM SHANGHAI?
WKW: Yes, this is my idea to have Nicole play this character. Like MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS with Norah: she is the reason I wanted to start this project.
Obviously, this isn’t a remake of the Orson Welles’ film.
WKW: [laughs] No, no, it’s not. The story is about the woman who…It’s a spy story. It took place in the ’20s, from Russia to China and then back in the United States.
THE GRAND MASTER
16 November 2008
Wong Kar-wai decides to make “The Grand Master” with Tony Leung.
Nicole Kidman is attached to play the title role.
Takeshi Kitano rumoured to play the “bad guy”. (FALSE)
Gong Li rumoured to co-star in film. (FALSE)
Tony Leung rumoured to play the male lead. (FALSE, allegedly too short compared to Nicole Kidman)
Chang Chen rumoured to play the male lead. (FALSE)
Rachel Weisz rumoured to co-star in the film. (FALSE, misreporting as she starred in “My Blueberry Nights” instead)
“The Lady From Shanghai” is postponed until after the completion of “My Blueberry Nights”.
Nicole Kidman drops out of the film to support her husband who’s going through rehab.
Hugh Jackman rumoured to play male lead. (FALSE, but admitted he would be interested)
“The Lady From Shanghai” is shelved once again as WKW decides to make “The Grand Master” instead.
The chief problems seem to be:
scheduling conflicts of both WKW and Nicole;
the amount of time it will take to film and the filming in China are unfavourable to Nicole;
WKW’s inability to find a male lead to act opposite Nicole;
WKW will only make this film if Nicole acts in it.
MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS
13 February 2006
“Grammy-winning singer Norah Jones, daughter of Indian musician Ravi Shankar, will make her film debut in the first English-language film by acclaimed Hong Kong art-house director Wong Kar-wai.
Wong was originally scheduled to shoot “The Lady From Shanghai”, featuring Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, but has delayed the project until 2007 because they have not found a strong male lead actor, a source attending the ongoing Berlin Film Festival said.”
22 March 2006
“Wong Kar-wai said his other project, “The Lady From Shanghai” to be led by Hollywood star Nicole Kidman, has been postponed until early next year because the actress was busy filming “Australia” with Russell Crowe.”
27 May 2006
“Wong is also prepping the thriller Lady From Shanghai starring Nicole Kidman, which will begin production in 2007.”
31 May 2006
Wong Kar-wai told the South China Morning Post that the filming of his next film “The Lady From Shanghai”, will begin early next year due to leading actress Nicole Kidman’s schedule.
Wong Kar-wai started filming “My Blueberry Nights”.
27 June 2006
This article begins by talking about “My Blueberry Nights” but also mentions “The Lady From Shanghai”:
“Even though this is his first time directing an English language film, Wong Kar Wai has not altered his habit of writing his script as he is filming. He usually gauges the actors’ performance for inspiration in creating his scripts. This habit will no doubt create headaches for the film’s producer. However, we expect Wong Kar Wai to change his ‘special characteristic’ next year when working with Nicole Kidman on “The Lady From Shanghai”, which has a budget of US$30 million. Because of his high regard for the film and marketing considerations, he himself will write the English language script. With Wong Kar-Wai said to be still having difficulty with the dialogues for the leading man, the filming may have to be postponed yet again.”
Rumours circulate via IMDB boards that Hugh Jackman will star in the film. This seems to be a mix-up with the Baz Luhrmann film “Australia” in which he co-stars with Nicole Kidman (he replaced Russell Crowe).
17 October 2006
Variety reported that “…while that film is still in the works, no date has been set yet for Wong’s much-awaited Nicole Kidman starrer “The Lady From Shanghai.”
NICOLE KIDMAN DROPS OUT
23 October 2006
“Speaking at the Rome Film Festival, Hollywood star Nicole Kidman said she will give up the role in Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai’s project “Lady From Shanghai”.
The Oscar-winning actress said she wanted to accompany her newlywed singer husband Keith Urban, who entered a rehabilitation treatment center Thursday for alcohol abuse. The Grammy-winning singer is publicly acknowledged as a former cocaine addict.”
Interview with Nicole for The Advocate:
You also might do The Lady From Shanghai?
NK: I’m not sure. I’m married now, and part of me says, I want to be close to the person I love and that does not mean sitting in China. So you give up a lot so that you can have your love. The people who are really, really close to me, I want them close to me. I’m at a stage in my life now where I don’t want to be away.
9 November 2006
On rumours of Hugh Jackman’s involvement in the film:
“Such is Jackman’s work rate that it may soon be quicker to list those films in which he is not appearing. For starters, he has definitely not been cast in Wong Kar-Wai’s new picture, despite rumours to the contrary. “No, I’m not in it,” he chuckles. “But I’d love to be. I heard that rumour, too. I just hope it gets back to him. Can you make sure you print it?”
19 November 2006
“The plan had been to balance the completion of “Blueberry” with preproduction on “The Lady From Shanghai,” but Ms. Kidman announced last month that she was pulling out of that film. “None of those reports have been confirmed by anyone involved with the project,” Mr. Wong wrote. Without Ms. Kidman, though, he added, “There is no reason to do it.”
20 November 2006
Interview with Hugh Jackman for Latino Review:
Are you going to do ‘Lady From Shanghai?’
Jackman: No, I’m not. I read that, or someone told me that it was on IMDB. I was really upset because I think he’s brilliant. I love Wong Kar Wai. But no, there is no truth to that. Hopefully he’ll read that and think yes to me.
If he asked you would you do it?
Jackman: If he asked me there is an absolute chance, but he hasn’t. I don’t know why it’s up there. It might be because I just did a trip there to promote ‘X-Men.’ I don’t know how that happened. If you know him can you put in a word for me. Good.
27 July 2007
“A much-anticipated project involving Nicole Kidman and Wong Kar-wai is still alive, but it is not easy coordinating the schedules of the Oscar-winning actress and Hong Kong director, Kidman’s publicist said Wednesday.
“I can tell you that they still continue to discuss making the movie together. I believe it is a matter of both of their schedules, not just Ms. Kidman’s,” the publicist, Catherine Olim, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Charlotte Yu, a spokesman for Wong’s production company, Jettone Films, said she didn’t know the latest status of the movie, tentatively called “Lady From Shanghai.”
Little is known about the movie, and its story has not been made public.
Wong was quoted as saying in May 2005 he had started preparing for the movie. A film consultant told The Associated Press in February 2006 that the project was being delayed to 2007 because Wong hadn’t found a strong male lead.
But there are no signs that Wong will start shooting this year. His English debut, “My Blueberry Nights,” is scheduled to be released in November and Wong will likely be tied up with promoting that movie until then.
Wong, known for his mood-setting visuals and melancholy soundtracks, has attracted a strong following among the Hollywood elite despite making mostly Chinese-language films.
Kidman has been quoted as calling Wong “God.” Director Sofia Coppola paid tribute to the director in her Oscar acceptance speech in 2004. Quentin Tarantino lists Wong’s 1994 “Chungking Express” as one of his favorite films.”
12 November 2007
Interview with Nicole Kidman for Movieweb:
You’ve worked with some of the best directors today. Is there any director that you haven’t got to work with that you would like to and do you think you’ll wind up making “The Lady of Shanghai” with Wong Kar Wai?
Nicole Kidman: I’m not willing to go and live in another country for a year. I’m just recently married. So, that’s my priority. It’s not right for my life right now. I seek out directors who I think are strong voices. I’m not fond of difficult directors, but I’m drawn to that in a way. I really would love to work with Scorsese. I’d love him to construct a film around a woman. I still ask him all the time; because I’d be interested in seeing that movie. I’d like to work with Steven Spielberg. I’ve known him as a friend for a long time, so I would like to do that. I love working internationally.
If Wong-Kar would shoot sometime a little closer to home then I would like to work with him as well. I’d be willing to go back into Dogville territory at some stage.
Interview in Glamour magazine, quoting Nicole about “The Lady From Shanghai”:
“I choose my project depending on Keith. I regret it, but I won’t go to China to make this film.”
21 June 2005
This article mentioned that Nicole just recently returned from a 4 month vacation in Australia, and has conferred with Wong Kar-wai in Sydney. It also mentioned a recent interview with Nicole where she said she had freed up August for WKW.
21 July 2005
“Oscar winning actress Nicole Kidman has recently met Director Wong Kar-Wai in New York to prepare her costumes for her role in the Lady From Shanghai. This film, which is Wong’s first English language film, is set in Shanghai during the 1930’s. Nicole will play a Shanghai woman who has a dangerous love affair with a spy. The name list of other cast members has not yet revealed. This film will be shot in Shanghai and Russia at the end of this year or early next year.”
22 July 2005
According to this article, Nicole met with Wong Kar-wai and costume designer William Chang in New York. Chang has started designing some cheongsams and other costumes for Nicole. The article also mentioned that the film is about this woman struggling to survive amidst the war and espionage. The love story will be a focal point, and WKW will highlight the beauty of Nicole’s inner reserve and mystique.
27 July 2005
Wong Kar-Wai interview on The Charlie Rose Show:
CR: Finally you’re going to make a movie called The Lady From Shanghai with Nicole Kidman.
CR: What’s the story?
WKW: We don’t know yet, but we know it’s about.
CR: We know the character.
WKW: Yeah, I..I..I… know there’s a character which I like very much to have Nicole to play. It’s a dangerous woman because..uh..and she’s in danger.
CR: A dangerous woman who’s in danger…um…sounds good to me.
WKW: It’s quite attractive.
CR: When do you start?
WKW: Next year.
CR: Next year.
WKW: Right, so I can enjoy my time to do all this research.
CR: So that’s actually what you researching here now.
13 December 2005
This article quoted the Chinese film company who’s jointly producing this film as saying that “The Lady From Shanghai” will now have to start “early next year”. The company disclosed that it’ss putting up US$10 million in a joint venture with a foreign company to fund this film. Due to many factors (which he did not disclose), they missed Nicole’s schedule. So they will have to wait for Nicole.
The article further mentioned that at the present time, only WKW is clear about the story line. And the cast is still not set, but will definitely include Chinese actors; although none has been selected.
4 January 2006
“According to an unidentified source from Taiwan, the post of cinematographer of the movie now belongs to Darius Khondji (The Interpreter, Panic Room, Se7en), rather than Wong Kar-Wai’s regular Christopher Doyle, and another Wong regular William Chang is still in charge of the production design. The story will be set in the chaotic 1930s and shooting will take place in northern China, Russia and Europe. Kidman will play a woman involved in a dangerous romance with a Chinese spy. Before the shooting can start, which has been scheduled at some time after the coming Chinese New Year, Wong Kar-Wai needs to complete the script, pick locations and finalize Kidman’s insurance.”
(Darius Khondji would be the cinematographer for “My Blueberry Nights”.)
6 January 2006
The article mentioned that Nicole has completed “Fur” and “The Visiting”, and is waiting for “The Lady From Shanghai”. Apparently, Wong Kar-wai has to consider “height” when casting for an actor to team with Nicole. So he may bypass one of his favorites, Tony Leung, and may consider Chang Chen.
6 January 2006
Another site reported that Wong Ka-wai will be part of the jury for this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and that he’s also preparing two films, “The Lady From Shanghai” and another one about Bruce Lee’s mentor, which will star Tony Leung. Taiwanese actor Chang Chen is now rumoured to play Nicole’s love interest in “The Lady From Shanghai” instead of Tony Leung.
The article also mentioned that the film about Bruce Lee’s mentor should start filming the second half of the year, while the other article mentioned April as a start date for “The Lady From Shanghai”.
14 January 2006
This article confirmed that Nicole has already signed to join “The Lady From Shanghai” and filming will start “the second half of the year”.
17 January 2006
After winning a Golden Globe for her performance in “The Constant Gardener”, Rachel Weisz told reporters that, “I am going to do a movie with Wong Kar-wai.”
Mentions that she will be filming in New York.
Speculation that either Rachel Weisz is replacing Nicole Kidman in “The Lady From Shanghai”, co-starring in the movie or starring in another movie altogether, therefore “The Lady From Shanghai” is postponed.
21 January 2006
“Golden Globe winner Rachel Weisz is happy because she doesn’t have to pretend she’s pregnant for the next movie, The Lady From Shanghai, by Wong Kar-Wai. The actress is 5 months pregnant and she won’t need to hide the bump.
Weisz said “It’s great that my character is pregnant too. When I was shooting The Constant Gardener (by Brazilian Fernando Meirelles), I played a woman that was expecting and I had to wear a fake bump.”
(The movie in question turned out to be “My Blueberry Nights” and not “The Lady From Shanghai” as previously thought.)
6 February 2006
This article mentioned that because of Wong Kar-wai’s high standards, the script could not be finished on time. Consequently, the start date for “The Lady From Shanghai” kept getting delayed. With Nicole being a busy Hollywood actress, it’s extremely difficult to coordinate their schedules. So now WKW has to rush to get another film started.
7 February 2006
“Recent mainland reports indicate that Wong’s work with Kidman might be put off indefinitely because the script was not produced as planned.”
13 February 2006
This article cited “sources close to Wong Kar-wai” as saying that the reason filming is being delayed till 2007 is not only because the script is still undergoing revision, but also because WKW is still looking for a male lead to team with international superstar Nicole Kidman. Even though this film is being “announced” in the Berlin Film Festival, they only showed a poster with a “silhouette”. There was no mention of the female and male leads.
“Wong Kar-Wai has decided to postpone the production of The Lady from Shanghai to 2007 and shift his focus on the hurricane Katrina project. A teaser poster of The Lady from Shanghai has appeared during the Berlin Film Festival. Someone from a French distribution company said Wong had difficulty of casting the right leading man to work with Nicole Kidman.
This image shows a large portion of the teaser poster appeared at the Berlin International Film Festival. It shows a lady walking in a street alone. Some kind of menu is written on the window glass and a bullet hole is visible on the right. The elevated rail line makes it looks more like a street in New York or Chicago, rather than Shanghai. Story of Lady from Shanghai is set at multiple locations around the world and Shanghai is only one of several cities to be featured in the film. Part of the URL of the official site is also reveal on the poster – www.ladyfromshanghai.com.
Also according to World Entertainment News Network, Rachel Weisz just said that she would play a pregnant woman in the film and she would not have to “hide her bump”. Since Lady from Shanghai has already been postponed to next year, her pregnancy will not be a matter any more.”
Whatever happened to WKW’s “The Lady From Shanghai”?
First and foremost this is not a remake of the 1947 Orson Welles film of the same title, nor is it based on its source novel “If I Die Before I Wake” by Sherwood King.
In interviews with Italian magazines, Wong Kar-wai said that:
“The first one is a thriller between China and USA, “The Lady From Shanghai”, but it is not a remake of the Orson Welles film. I have choosen Nicole Kidman because she is really good, brave and she works with everybody. I will treat her with all my heart, as always I do with my actresses, that I choose for different qualities. Nicole, that I have admired in “To Die For“, has the character of the Hitchcockian star: is elegant, is dangerous and in danger.” (Corriere della sera)
“To turn Nicole Kidman into The Lady from Shanghai, is a thought that doesn’t make me sleep the night. I dream with open eyes.” (Messaggero)
The long-mooted thriller directed by Wong Kar-wai and starring Nicole Kidman has been shelved indefinitely in favour of “The Grand Master”.
It may be possible that the project could be resurrected after filming on the Yip Man biopic is completed although it’s most likely abandoned.
In the meantime, let’s take a look a closer look at its turbulent history.
19 September 2003
“According to The New York Observer, Nicole Kidman has reserved six months of 2004 to work on an untitled Wong Kar-Wai movie. Wong has confirmed to Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily that he had been in contact with Kidman. He has told her that six months might not be enough and Kidman said she knew Wong Kar-Wai’s way of working (very, very slow actually). Wong said he would meet Kidman next month in Hong Kong, Shanghai or somewhere in the States, to discuss the detail. However, Wong has yet come out a story for the film and his current “2046” has yet shown any sign of wrapping up.”
29 September 2004
“The working title of the upcoming Wong Kar-Wai film starring Nicole Kidman, is The Lady From Shanghai.
The story will be set in the 1930’s Shanghai, the birth place of Wong Kar-Wai. Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano has also been mentioned as the candidate for playing the “bad guy“. (William) Chang Suk-ping, the art director and costume designer for most of Wong’s films, has arrived in the United States to work on Nicole Kidman’s character. Shooting will start in February, most likely in Shanghai.”
1 October 2004
Wong is quoted as saying, “Early next year, we will work with Nicole Kidman on the new film The Lady from Shanghai, which we will definitely finish in 3 months.”
20 October 2004
According to this article, Nicole confirmed in an interview the other day that she will be working with Wong Kar-wai on his new film The Lady from Shanghai. She also disclosed that the film’s other leading actress will be Gong Li. Unfortunately, these two actresses will not have the opportunity to share screen time. According to Kidman, the director renowned for his slow and meticulous filming process, actually had already quietly completed most of Gong Li’s scenes within 5 weeks. She also revealed that she had spent considerable time in New York with Wong Kar Wai discussing the script, in preparation for the actual filming.
Even though WKW has completed part of the filming, he cannot expect Kidman to be as accommodating with her schedule as the cast of “2046”. She currently has 3 films on her slate, with “Bewitched” nearing completion and “Eucalyptus” and “The Producer’s” yet to come. “The Lady From Shanghai” will have to wait until after these films are completed.
21 September 2004
“One year ago Nicole Kidman said she would work with Wong Kar-Wai in a film and nothing has happened ever since. Now according to a short message “Grozilla” wrote to AICN, the project is still alive and a French producer is “very close to sign the next Wong Kar-Wai film, with Nicole Kidman as the main female part for sure.” Takeshi Kitano (Zatoichi) has also been mentioned as the candidate for playing the “bad guy”. The story would be set in Shanghai during the 1930’s.”
7 November 2004
This article revealed that Gong Li, who’s in the U.S. filming “Memoirs of a Geisha” will not be in “The Lady From Shanghai” as widely reported. Because of Gong’s scheduling conflict, Wong Kar-wai has not planned on including her in the cast. WKW’s biggest headache at the moment is Nicole Kidman’s series of pending films which create scheduling challenges. As Nicole is currently the highest paid Hollywood actor to film in China, WKW also worries about avoiding media intrusion, providing adequate security measures and selecting the appropriate film locations.
7 January 2005
“After completing publicity tours for 2046, Wong Kar-wai recently toured several locations in China and Europe to scout film locations for “The Lady From Shanghai”, which will star Nicole Kidman. As this is his first time working with Nicole, as well as his first English-language film, WKW has expended a lot of energy to scout locations, research the film’s era (said to be in the 1930s), as well as fine-tuning the movie plot. He has several different themes for the movie; but at the present time, he has not yet finalized the movie plot.
Filming was originally scheduled to start in March, but may have to be delayed until April because of Nicole’s scheduling conflict. This is the first time ever that WKW has to accommodate an actor’s schedule. That goes to show the Nicole’s stature in the eyes of WKW.”
25 January 2005
“When Wong Kar-wai held a press conference for 2046 in Bangkok over the weekend, he began to disclose news he was preparing to cooperate with Hollywood star Nicole Kidman. This time the Hong Kong director plans to put Kidman on center stage of his new production “The Lady From Shanghai”, which begins shooting in June. Wong said Kidman did not request to see the screenplay, which fully reflected her trust in Wong.
It seems Kidman has already prepared to adapt to Wong’s trademark directing style, which focuses less on the script and more on on-the-spot shooting. Wong also revealed Kidman already knew the major plot line of the story. The story is inspired by a lady in danger and mixes love with espionage. The movie will be produced in Shanghai but features an international cast. Therefore, selection of the working language to be employed during shooting attracted plenty of attention.
“The movie will mainly feature English, but it is not decided yet, as the whole script has not been finished yet,” said Wong. Some news sources have reported that Kidman plans to commit one year to the movie, as Wong is famous for his slow process of shooting. However, Wong responded it would take only a few months.”
25 January 2005
Sina News also reported about the Bangkok conference. The article also mentioned that Nicole is attending a function to promote a brand name watch. At the event, Nicole was wearing flat shoes. The reporter commented that the medium height Tony Leung should not have much to worry about “looking up” to Nicole when they start filming in June.
10 March 2005
According to this article, this is the first Wong Kar-wai to have a complete script. Because this film is a joint venture with a foreign company and also because Nicole has a tight schedule, WKW committed to complete filming in 3 months. Currently, filming is scheduled to start in June. At the moment, the male lead role is not yet confirmed. Contrary to previous reports, Tony Leung, who has starred in many WKW movies, may not join “The Lady From Shanghai”.
Even though this film has “Shanghai” in its title, and WKW is very fond of using some well-known Shanghai spots in his movies such as “2046” and “In the Mood for Love”, “The Lady From Shanghai” will not be filmed in Shanghai. The exterior shots will be filmed on location in Harbin (in Northeast China), New York and St. Petersburg, Russia.
6 April 2005
This article mentioned that The Lady From Shanghai will start filming “this summer”. It also mentioned that Wong Kar-wai had already signed an agreement, which reportedly included a clause for the timely completion of the film. With WKW’s “ox-cart speed” completion of “2046”, Nicole has to pay particular attention that “The Lady From Shanghai” schedule does not get dragged out because she has multiple filming schedules at hand. It could very well be that “The Lady From Shanghai” may end up being WKW’s first film to be delivered on time.
Inside Film Magazine May 2005:
“‘Hitchcock’…seems to be an especially big influence on his up and coming film starring Nicole Kidman. The US$25m film will be shot in China and Europe later this year is a thriller and he has chosen the ever popular goddess Kidman because ‘she is both dangerous and in danger, and that is what everything is about. Opposing qualities of strength and deep fragility.’
Wong has locked in Kidman with a secret story idea and this time will be using scriptwriters on set. He says, ‘the best directors are like architects and give you a window into another world’.”
Chang Chen said in an interview that he will not be playing Bruce Lee in “The Grand Master”. In fact he personally recommended to WKW that Jay Chou should be cast in the role.
“I do not feel like Bruce Lee, I think that Jay is more suitable, I once recommended him to Wong Kar-wai.”
About rumors that Zhang Ziyi will play Ip Man’s wife: “I do not know! But if it’s true, I’m looking forward to cooperating with her.”
He also said that he’s looking forward to working with Tony Leung again.
Opening ceremony photos of “The Grand Master”.
Attended by Wong Kar-wai, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen and martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (wearing the baseball cap).
Wong Kar-wai secretly had the opening ceremony of the “The Grand Master” in Guangdong.
On 21 November 2009, Wong Kar-wai took Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen to a hotel in Kai Ping town to have a small blessing ceremony (with roasted little piglets) for the start of shooting the film.
The reporter heard from the producer that the shooting will be taking place at the studio (Film Park) near the town from 12 December 2009 to 18 April 2010. The Film Park will be closed for the public during that time, and reopen on 19 April 2010.
The producer also said that the shooting should start at the end of November however we will have to wait to hear from WKW himself about the details of the actors and their roles.
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