Last week at the Lighthouse International Theater in New York City, Martin Scorsese took a break from promoting “The Wolf of Wall Street” to help present a screening of “The Grandmaster” and to interview its director, Wong Kar-wai.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honoured Wong Kar Wai‘s contribution to film with a special screening of ‘The Grandmaster‘ at 7:30PM on July 22nd. Aside from the chair and the board members, the film’s lead actress Zhang Ziyi also made an appearance and surprised Wong Kar-wai.
The special screening was hosted by ‘Mad Men‘ creator Matthew Weiner who is an admirer of Wong Kar-wai’s films and thus volunteered to host.
Official US website: http://thegrandmasterfilm.com/
‘The Grandmaster’ will have its US premiere at Comic-Con on Saturday July 20th: http://www.deadline.com/2013/07/hot-trailer-the-grandmaster/
A season of Wong Kar-wai‘s films will be shown at the Museum of the Moving Image (Queens, New York) between July 12th and August 24th. ‘The Grandmaster’ premieres in New York on August 10th with Wong Kar-wai himself in attendance: http://www.movingimage.us/films/2013/07/12/detail/wong-kar-wai-2/
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
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.
“In The Mood For Doyle“ is a 2007 documentary on the famed Australian cinematographer which was made for Arte TV around the time he was shooting M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady In The Water, and features of a wealth of interviews including Wong Kar-wai and Gus Van Sant.
The 63rd Berlin Film Festival officially opened on the 7th February. Though none of the 19 films that compete for the highest honour Golden Bear prize are Chinese; luckily the Wong Kar-wai directed film ‘The Grandmaster’ is the opening film. Director Wong is the head of the jury and he led American actor Tim Robbins and the rest of the jury to meet the media. In the afternoon he hosted ‘The Grandmaster’ press conference.
Although ‘The Grandmaster’ has been in general release in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan for a month and its Mainland box office even exceeded 290 million yuan RMB which is the highest for a Wong Kar-wai film, to Berlin film viewers it is still full of mystery. The premiere’s tickets were hard to come by, the remaining 3 shows also already selling out in 1 hour.
In order to take care of the overseas (especially European) market needs, Wong Kar-wai earlier stayed in the Bangkok editing room to remove 13 minutes from ‘The Grandmaster’s original 130 minutes running time to the less than 2 hour International Version. Reportedly the story structure also was adjusted slightly. “The pace is even more intense and the feeling is even more mature.”
Actually, Wong Kar Wai has a deep relationship with the Berlin Film Festival. ‘Days Of Being Wild’ and ‘Fallen Angels’ both participated in past festivals and won European and American film critics word of mouth. This year he is invited to be the jury chair. On the eve of the opening ceremony Wong Kar-wai led the jury members including actor Tim Robbins, Oscar Winning Danish director Susanne Beir, Venice Silver Lion prize winning Iranian director Shirin Neshat and others to meet the media and kicked off the 11 day long film festival.
Another with a Berlin connection was Zhang Ziyi. Her films ‘The Road Home’, ‘Hero’ and ‘Forever Enthralled’ appeared there. Two days prior, Wong Kar-wai, Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Zhang Ziyi completed its Paris promotion and headed to Berlin at night. Zhang Ziyi’s 34th birthday was on the day after the Berlin premiere and four years ago she celebrated her birthday in Berlin.
Tony Leung was ailing when he met up with Zhang Ziyi in Paris, then they walked the red carpet in Berlin. Luckily his mother tagged along, even though he was overseas for this Lunar New Year he would not feel too bad.
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.
Renowned auteur and director Wong Kar-wai revealed that he changed the title for his latest martial arts epic, ‘The Grandmaster’, from ‘The Grandmasters’ after his son asked him why. “My son asked me why my film is titled ‘The Grandmasters’ when it was originally called ‘Grandmaster Ip Man’, then ‘The Grandmaster’. He said ‘wasn’t I making a film about Yip Man?’, so I got to thinking that although my film was about the many grandmasters Ip Man meets, ultimately, it is about a state of mind,” said Wong during his visit to Singapore with actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai recently. The 54-year-old went on to add, “There can be many grandmasters, but not all of them truly deserve the title of THE grandmaster.”
Meanwhile, the title was changed from ‘Grandmaster Ip Man’ to ‘The Grandmaster’ after it was discovered that Wong’s film and another Ip Man film were being made at around the same time. As its title suggests, the film which stars Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi is inspired by the life of Ip Man (Ye Wen), who mentored the legendary martial arts star Bruce Lee. However, Wong stated that his film will illustrate that there is more to martial arts than violence. “The stories of martial arts films consist only of fighting, but actually all the martial arts styles showcased are well-founded.”
‘The Grandmaster’ will see a wide release in Singapore on 31 January 2013.