‘The Grandmaster’ Wins 12 Awards at 2014 Hong Kong Film Awards

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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!”


BEST SCREENPLAY Zou Jingzhi, Xu Haofeng, Wong Kar-wai (THE GRANDMASTER)







BEST FILM EDITING William Chang, Benjamin Courtines, Poon Hung Yiu (THE GRANDMASTER)




BEST ORIGINAL FILM SCORE Shigeru Umebayashi, Nathaniel Mechaly (THE GRANDMASTER)


BEST SOUND DESIGN Robert Mackenzie, Traithep Wongpaiboon (THE GRANDMASTER)





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French featurettes for “The Grandmaster”





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The 130-minute version of “The Grandmaster” will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in China on April 23rd.
Meanwhile, The Weinstein Company has revealed that the international version of “The Grandmaster” (now retitled as “Grandmasters“) will be in US cinemas on August 23rd.

Tony Leung will not film “The Grandmaster” sequel


Oriental Daily:

Supported by Hong Kong University’s Culture and Humanities Fund, a dialogue session for the film ‘The Grandmaster’ was held at the Hong Kong University on January 31. The session was attended by actor Tony Leung, stunt coordinator Yuen Woo Ping, and martial artist Lau Kar Yung. Over one thousand tickets were given out to HKU students a few days prior to the session. All tickets were passed out in two hours. The waiting list for the session also exceeded 600 people.

At the session, Tony Leung openly talked about his filming experience on the set of ‘The Grandmaster’. Tony remarked that although it had a tough three-year engagement, he did not regret the experience. Art house director, Wong Kar-wai, never really made movies for money, but ‘The Grandmaster’ has now become his most commercially successful film in the box office. The film’s distributors are urging Wong to film a sequel, in which Wong is considering.

Leung is a longtime collaborator of Wong, but upon hearing that Wong may be working on a sequel, he immediately shook his head. Wong and Leung were earlier rumored to have had a falling out due to a disagreement on the film’s script and filming style. Leung insisted that he and Wong still get along really well; nonetheless, he expressed that he will not film ‘The Grandmaster’ sequel if it is to be made. The 50-year-old actor explained, “I want to try new things. I like staying fresh. If I do the same things over and over again, it won’t be fun.”

As ‘The Grandmaster’ took over three years to film, many actors in the film, including Tony Leung and female lead Zhang Ziyi, had complained about the harsh struggles in working on the film. Song Hye Kyo was also reportedly upset with Wong’s lurching and dragging filming ways, and declined to participate in the film’s promotions.

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Tony Leung discusses ‘The Grandmaster’ at Hong Kong University



Yesterday, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Yuen Woo-Ping, and Lau Ka Yung attended the Hong Kong University’s “Who Is The Grandmaster film forum”. The 1000 seats were filled in two hours, with 600 people waiting outside. When Tony Leung appeared the crowd roared and gave him a standing ovation. 

Tony Leung attended an university forum for the first time. When asked whether the film will have a sequel due to good word of mouth he said, “No, I am not afraid of three more years in production. Time isn’t a problem, I just want to try something else to have a sense of freshness.” Reportedly the Berlin Film Festival screening will be an extended version, Leung asked director Wong Kar-wai to confirm this. He said that another version would not be fair to the audience, he might edit out some scenes that foreigners would not understand. He would not demand to add back his removed scenes as he thought that as it is now the movie is rather entertaining.

Reportedly Tony Leung was upset at the size of the role and he was at odds with Wong Kar-wai. Leung laughed and said, “Hahaha, you are killing me, am I this type of person? I have been friends with Wong Kar-wai for so many years that I wouldn’t mind. I am 50 years old, I have everything, what else do I want? Instead I have to learn to give, to do charity work on my free time, help those who aren’t as fortunate. I took two years off before, life was brilliant. When I woke up I would drink with friends until I fell asleep. With sustenance and responsibility, life would healthier.” After promoting the film in South Korea and the U.S., he will take two months off before deciding on his charity work. He was willing to do charity work with his wife Carina Lau Ka-ling as well.

Action director Yuen Woo-Ping praised Leung’s kung fu film prowess. He should not be compared to Donnie Yen, as their styles and specialties were different. Was Donnie Yen better? He said, “Tony is great too, they are great in different ways. Tony’s action sense is great, he is just being humble.”

After the two hour forum ended, they went to Mongkok for an audience appreciation and celebrated with a lion dance.

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‘The Grandmaster’ premieres in Hong Kong

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Director Wong Kar Wai, and actors Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen,  and Max Zhang Jun attended the Hong Kong Kong premiere of ‘The Grandmaster’. Critics compared ‘The Grandmaster’ of resembling Wong Kar-wai’s earlier film ‘In The Mood For Love’. Wong Kar-wai explained that he already had the idea for the film as early as 1989. “The preparation took years because I had to visit seven or eight provinces for martial art masters.” Zhang Ziyi did not conduct any interviews. Song Hye-kyo was in South Korea but sent a video. 

Tony Leung did not believe that Song Hye-kyo was upset that her role was reduced to just six minutes screen time. “Wong Kar-wai wouldn’t be at odds with anyone, I too had my scenes cut.” He described after three years in production the final half a month exhausted him thoroughly, as hard as the last 10 minutes of a marathon. As for Donnie Yen stating that he would watch ‘The Grandmaster’, Leung said, “I am not afraid of comparison, I have my own interpretation of the role.”

Ticket sales have been decent as many booked in advance, obviously Wong Kar-wai fans have been waiting for the film for a long time. Tony Leung’s martial art scenes have always been the focus. In the film he fought ferociously, completely relying on editing methods to assist and adjust. As for memorable scenes, they seemed to be Wong Kar-wai’s salute to his own classic films ‘In The Mood For Love’ and Fallen Angels’.

The film is about the life of Wing Chun master Ip Man, but the story actually could not leave Wong Kar-wai’s trademark “romance” out of the equation by depicting Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi’s ambiguous relationship in particular detail. Their duel, spinning in the air and exchanging looks nose to nose was the most memorable; then through their letter exchanges and clothes buttoning to express their feelings, which were already full of poetic artistry.

The martial art fight scenes were the main focus of the movie for which Tony Leung studied Wing Chun. In the first half of the film, his six fight scenes were very convincing without any use of a stunt double. Of course he also relied on camera work and editing methods to assist and adjust, making the film even more intense and brilliant.

Zhang Ziyi and Max Zhang Jun’s fight at the train station looked the part and fought excitingly. Chang Chen fought decently as well but his role was drastically reduced in the film. He and Zhang Ziyi’s emotional scene was also deleted, weakening his character and made him less of an attraction than Zhang Jun.

Korean star Song Hye-Kyo as Mrs. Ip Man was pretty and sexy enough, but the role was too light. With only two lines she did not have much chance to perform, but she made up for it with her eyes and expressions; however she and Leung had intimate scenes. She wiped the unbuttoned Leung and showed off her legs as he bathed her feet.

The film also had many familiar scenes like reflections of Wong Kar-wai’s past work and salutes to them. Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi locking eyes was like ‘Fallen Angel’s Leon Lai-ming and Michelle Reis’ love at first sight; Zhang Ziyi’s heart to heart with a hole in the wall reminded people of ‘In The Mood For Love’ where Tony Leung’s character whispered a secret into a hole in a tree. Leung washing Song Hye-kyo’s feet was just like his massage for Maggie Cheung Man-yuk in ‘In The Mood For Love’. As for Ip Man changing into a suit and applying gel to his hair reminded people of ‘In The Mood For Love’.

Wong Kar Wai as usual invited different guest stars, this time was no exception with Julian Cheung Chi-lam, Berg Ng Ting Yip, Lo Hoi Pang, Xiao Shenyang, action director Yuen Woo-Ping, Zhao Benshan, Tsui Kam Kong, Lo Mang. Tsui Kam Kong appeared in one shot and had no lines; Julian Cheung had no lines but portrayed a Chinese Opera star. Appearing in ‘Ip Man 2′, Lo Mang was the only actor who was able to take part in ‘The Grandmaster’. The challenging master Lo Mang and thug Xiao Shenyang added humor to balance the film’s tension. Veteran actor Lo Hoi Pang’s role was not large but his every move was dramatic.

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‘The Grandmasters’ turns Chang Chen into a master


The new martial arts film from Wong Kar-wai, ‘The Grandmasters’, will not open until early next year in China. Actor Chang Chen trained hard in kung fu for this film. Earlier he participated in the national Bajiquan contest in Changchun and won a top prize. He went from studying kung fu for a movie to truly winning a martial arts award.

For half a year before filming began in ‘The Grandmasters’ in 2009, Chang Chen visited Master Wang Shiquan and he was asked whether he truly wanted to study or only make kung fu poses for the movie. Chang Chen said that he truly wanted to train and began his journey of studying Bajiquan for three years. In a small Beijing forest everyday for three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening he trained in all types of weather. He had to stretch and he was in so much pain that he was in tears. Chang Chen joked that he held back in front of Tony Leung and did not show him his best. Earlier Chang Chen participated in the national Bajiquan contest in Changchun under the order his master. He wanted the experience and participated. He practiced his routine almost 10,000 times. The film’s martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping not being impressed with his kung fu before, but during this shoot he would discuss and accept his opinions.


New Trailer Primes The Grandmasters

From China Daily:

Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s latest film, The Grandmasters, recently released a second trailer – 18 months after filming started and 10 years after the director conceived the movie.

The one-minute trailer, set on a street, on a dark, rainy night, depicts a battle between lead actor Tony Leung and about 20 kungfu artists.

In a black gown and white hat, Leung transforms his signature gentlemanly manners to kick and punch like a street fighter. The scene is a nod to Keanu Reeves in The Matrix and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight.

The film’s first trailer, released in December 2010, is just a play of light, shadow and Chinese calligraphy, without any actors.

Leung plays the late kungfu master Ip Man, known for his wing chun style, a form of Chinese martial arts.

Leung, the Lust, Caution and In the Mood for Love star, practiced wing chun for about two years. A disciple of Ip trained him and even adjusted his diet.

Ip has been a favored topic of the Chinese film industry in recent years. There have been at least three films about the legendary martial artist, whose students included Bruce Lee. The most popular incarnation of the martial arts legend is by Donnie Yen, star of Iron Monkey and The New Dragon Gate Inn. In two Ip biopics, Yen portrays the kungfu master as a loving husband and passionate patriot.

Wong’s film will not focus just on Ip, but a group of kungfu masters of his time. He has put together a stellar cast, including Zhang Ziyi, South Korean star Song Hye-kyo, comedian Zhao Benshan and his protg Xiao Shenyang.

Though kungfu fans have been looking forward to the release of the film for some time, Wong has prolonged shooting, as he often does. Leung even took a break to take the lead in another movie, The Great Magician, which will be released in December.

Sil-Metropole Organization, the film’s production company, says filming has been completed and the director is working on post-production. But a release date has still not been given.

The Grandmasters Trailer Profiled

From ChineseFilms:

Director Wong Kar Wai’s upcoming Kung Fu blockbuster, “The Grandmasters,” recently released its first promotional trailer.

Tony Leung Chiu Wai portrays Yip Man, master of the Wing Chun martial art, and is seen in the trailer fighting against a gang of street thugs. It’s the first time for Tony Leung to play the role of a Kung Fu master but his performance has received much acclaim following the release of the preview. Audiences commented that, “Leung is very cool in the movie.”

The real Kung Fu master, Wang Man also said he was surprised after seeing the trailer: “I never thought Leung could be that good. The power of his movement shows that this is a person who can manage real Kung Fu.”

Director Wong Kar Wai arrived in Beijing to arrange the preview of the trailer. Xue Liming, spokesman for the movie, unveiled the reason behind showing the trailer prior to the screening of “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”, saying that cinemas will upgrade their equipment for increased sound and screen light performance. “We want the audience to experience the best visual and sound effects possible during the preview.”

Xue also mentioned that the movie is set against the backdrop of the Kung Fu world during the Republican Period. There will be other Kung Fu masters and schools making appearances in the movie.

“The Grandmasters” also features South Korean actress Song Hye Kyo and Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi. It has been slated for a December release.

Xue promises that “The Grandmasters” will set a new standard for Chinese film.