The critically-acclaimed kung fu epic “The Grandmaster” is getting a makeover: its 3D version will open in Chinese theaters on October 23, director Wong Kar-Wai announced at a press conference in Beijing on Sunday.
Wong’s Academy Award-nominated martial arts hit will become his first 3D movie. The world-renowned director said he hopes the box office results for the 3D film will surpass the previous 2D edition, which was released in early 2013. The 2D version raked in 290 million yuan (US$47.3 million) at Chinese mainland box offices and has received plenty of awards, including 12 prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
But Wong was not satisfied. The director spent a year polishing a 3D version with a team of 200 professionals. He flew to the United States to check the visual effects every month, and the money he spent on making the 3D version would have been enough to produce another brand new movie, Wong said.
“When I was shooting the film, I was considering using 3D technologies,” he said at the press conference, “But the technologies didn’t mature and match up with my needs. But when I was doing the film, I was doing it with a 3D approach in my mind, so now it is very easy for us to transform it into a 3D format.” It is true that 3D technologies were not mature enough for him at the time, since the film is well known for its long development time – Wong first began preparing it in 2001. Wong said he was trying to take on the challenge of combining Oriental aesthetics and Western technologies through this film.
Wong Kar-Wai said that the 3D version will be cut very differently from the previous 2D version, so audiences will see more deleted scenes and new material this time, including an exciting top kung fu performance from female master Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi). Previous media reports said the “special edition” will resemble the cut made for the US market.
Actress Zhang Ziyi just received the Best Actress prize for her leading role in “The Grandmaster” on Saturday at the 23rd Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, held in Lanzhou. The film itself won the Best Film Award.
“The Grandmaster” is an epic martial arts drama set against the backdrop of 1930s China and inspired by the life and times of Bruce Lee’s master, Ip Man. The movie also tells the stories of other kung fu masters in that chaotic and poetic era. The film was nominated for Best Cinematography (Philippe Le Sourd) and Best Costume Design (William Chang Suk Ping) at the 86th Academy Awards.