‘The Grandmaster’ Arrives In New York

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Oriental Daily:

Acclaimed martial arts film ‘The Grandmaster’ held its New York City premiere on August 13. The film’s stars Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi attended the event along with director Wong Kar-wai. The film’s success at various international film festivals this year generated buzz ahead of its American release, attracting the attention of many Hollywood veterans, including Susan Sarandon and Samuel L. Jackson, who have nothing but praise for the film and spent much time socializing with its stars. Sarandon even traded phone numbers with Leung at the after party, asking him to stay in touch.

The premiere took place at the Regal E-Walk Stadium. Aside from Hollywood stars, well-known fashion designers Vivienne Tam, Anna Sui, and Jason Wu were also present. Wu took several photos with Zhang Ziyi, the two having collaborated earlier when Wu dressed Zhang for this year’s Met Gala.

To further ignite interest in the American market, famed director Martin Scorsese announced his support and granted American distributor The Weinstein Company the use of his name. The film will officially be released in the United States as “Martin Scorsese Presents ‘The Grandmaster’”. Speaking about this endorsement, Wong Kar-wai said, “Marty has always been a great inspiration. We are so thankful for his support of the film.”

Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi mingled with guests at the event, the two spent time chatting with Susan Sarandon and Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson shared that he is a fan of Wong Kar-wai and had put aside time so he can attend the premiere. Sarandon had a great time talking with Leung, and invited him to chat more over a drink. At the after party, Sarandon praised Leung’s talents, saying that the effort the cast has put into the film is apparent. She later traded contact information with him, wanting to stay in touch.

The Grandmaster received great word of mouth and box office takings in Asia and caught just as much attention in the U.S. Wong Kar-wai edited the film anew so it would be easier for foreigners to comprehend. At the press conference Tony Leung revealed that the most memorable moment was working for 40 consecutive nights. He said that in the end he only had bronchitis and was lucky not to have pneumonia.

Zhang Ziyi appeared on Good Morning America for a live interview. She even admitted that a live program appearance required courage, luckily she was able to withstand the test. Zhang Ziyi’s English ability was made fun of before, thus she worked hard to learn English. Now she is able to fluently respond on a live program, she truly is a new and improved “International Zhang”.

New York is only the first stop among many as the team prepares for the film’s American release on August 23. Wong Kar-wai, Tony Leung, and Zhang Ziyi will continue to make appearances to support their acclaimed epic, with advanced screenings planned in Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

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Martin Scorsese to present Wong Kar-wai’s ‘The Grandmaster’



Martin Scorsese is lending his support to the upcoming Weinstein Company release of ‘The Grandmaster‘, the film directed by Wong Kar-wai. Scorsese will lend his name in presentation of the kung fu film, and above the line it will read Martin Scorsese Presents The Grandmaster when TWC releases the film theatrically in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto on August 23 and nationwide on August 30. Wong has directed such films as Chungking Express, 2046 and My Blueberry Nights, and The Grandmaster stars Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, and Chang Chen and is executive produced by Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison. The film opened the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. “Wong Kar Wai has turned martial arts into a modern dance,” Scorsese said.

“Every movement hit with precision, every emotion drenched with underlying honor. The Grandmaster, arranged with both elegance and fury, left me mesmerized.” Said Wong: “Marty has always been a great inspiration. We are so thankful for his support of the film.”

TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein said: “Marty Scorsese’s reaction to The Grandmaster couldn’t have been more enthusiastic. When Marty champions a film, nothing is better; it is the ultimate seal of approval. I look forward to audiences seeing this wildly entertaining and artistic film.”

The poster at the head of this post was designed by Vania Zouravliov and will be released by Mondo.

Wong Kar-wai apologizes for disturbance

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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.”

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Wong Kar-wai receives France’s highest cultural honour

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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.”

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Wong Kar-wai’s eyes see rare daylight



“Born wearing a pair of sunglasses”, internationally renowned director Wong Kar-wai rarely has been without his sunglasses. Yesterday the Grandmaster of directing tried on glasses at an optical store. Wong Kar-wai went to pick out a pair of glasses at a Causeway Bay optical store. Actually Wong Kar-wai was as selective with his glasses as with his movies. After over an hour of choosing he finally left the store with his wife. He even showed his eyes while his wife became the “female Wong Kar-wai” and put on sunglasses.  If not for his height, he almost could not be recognized without his sunglasses.

Whether you like Wong Kar-wai’s movies or not, everyone knows that “Wong Kar-wai” and sunglasses were almost inseparable “conjoint twins”. Earlier actor Eric Tsang described Wong Kar-wai as being “born wearing sunglasses” when Wong presented the Professional Spirit Awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards. However, the director also had moments when he was without his “beloved”.




Wong Kar-wai will not make a Leslie Cheung biopic

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The late actor Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing does not only have a special place in the hearts of fans, but even international director Wong Kar-wai and producer Hsu Feng who have worked with him felt that no one could replace him. Not only would they not remake “Farewell My Concubine“ but there will also be no Leslie Cheung biopic.

Wong Kar-wai recently revealed that he has no intention to make a biopic about good friend and actor, Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing. Wong expressed his feeling about the 10th anniversary of Cheung’s passing online saying, “I don’t think I would make a Leslie Cheung movie and cast anybody to play him, because I think he cannot be replaced. He was a very special person.”

During his lifetime, Cheung has worked with Wong in many films, including “Days of Being Wild“, “Ashes of Time” and the controversial “Happy Together“, where he was nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Horse Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards. In a few words, Wong  stated how unique Cheung was in his eyes, bringing his characters to life and leaving a deep impression with the audience.

Meanwhile, producer Hsu Feng also refused to remake Leslie Cheung’s film, “Farewell My Concubine”, stating that no one would be able to replace him in the movie.

However, it was recently revealed that a South Korean film company is interested to remake Leslie’s hit film, “Moonlight Express“, which also starred Japanese actress, Tokiwa Takako. It was reported that the right of the film has already been purchased and that the new version will be fully helmed and cast with South Korean stars.

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‘The Grandmaster’s missing scenes appear in the International Version

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‘The Grandmaster’ was the opening film of the 63rd Berlin Film Festival. Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Zhang Ziyi walked the red carpet hand in hand as they were welcomed with cheers and applause. Although Leung frequently attended international film festivals, this was his first time at the Berlin Film Festival. At the opening ceremony, the host compared Wong Kar-wai’s movies to women who made people fall for them unknowingly. She even jokingly asked Wong Kar Wai, “If ‘The Grandmaster’ is a woman too, would you get intimate with her or vanish with her?” Wong Kar-wai humorously said, “Both feel pretty exciting.”

The film premiered in Berlin and received a 10 minute applause after the show. Wong Kar-wai cut a special “Berlin version” with 20 differences from the China and Hong Kong version. The film was about 10 minutes shorter. Because some foreign media did not understand the historical backdrop, some reviews said that it “cannot surpass In The Mood For Love“.

The Berlin Film Festival version of ‘The Grandmaster’ mainly added three important scenes and some subtitles that explained the historical background. Some of the subplots with an unclear relationship to the main plot were removed or replaced. The most notable addition that was not in the China and Hong Kong version was how Chang Chen‘s Yi Xiantian and Zhang Ziyi’s Gong Er met and their relationship. After Gong Er saved Yi Xiantian on the train, they later ran into each other at a Hong Kong restaurant named Old Muslim but did not acknowledge each other. Their reunion gave Yi Xiantian the motivation to stay in Hong Kong, which was easier to comprehend for the audience.

Another addition was the rainy night fight scene with Ip Man and Yi Xiantian. The story became more intense and made people’s blood boiled. This scene caught Gong Yutian’s eyes. He praised Ip Man’s kung fu abilities and after asking others he learned that the fighter was the Invincible in Foshan Ip Man. Other addition scenes included a young Bruce Lee staring at Ip Man from the school, Ip Man teaching Bruce Lee martial arts and Ip man’s ferocious fight with Cung Le. Ip Man’s challenge in Hong Kong to Ding Lianshan (Zhao Benshan) was removed.

Tony Leung did not feel that his scenes were removed, the most important was for the audience to accept the pace of the story. “I don’t mind the changes in the different versions, the most important is for the story to make sense.” Although Wong Kar Wai earlier was busy with ‘The Grandmaster‘s promotion, in a short month he was able to make even better changes. The mastery of his craft truly left people speechless.

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