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