Sunday, November 30, 2008
Production Companies: Shanghai Film Group,Beijing New Times, Film Culture and Development, Edko (Beijing) Management.
Producer: Zhang Zhenyan
Director: Yuen Woo-Ping
Screenplay: To Chi-Long
Action Director: Yuen Woo-Ping
Art Director: Huo Tingxiao
Costume Design: Hai Chung Man
Category: Martial Arts / Drama / Historical
Release Date: 2009
Cast: Su Can/Su Qi-Er ... Vincent Zhao
Yuan Ying ... Zhou Xun
Sister Yu ... Michelle Yeoh
God of Martial Arts ... Jay Chou
Ma Qingfeng ... Guo Xiaodong
Yuan Lie ... Andy On
Da Feng-Er ... Sun Hanwen
Directed by Hong Kong's prolific film maker Tsui Hark, the movie tells the story of three urban ladies from different backgrounds seeking true love.
Hark says he has tried to delve into the relationships and love experiences of the modern metropolis community.
Mainland actress Zhou Xun and Taiwan starlet Lun-Mei Guey star the film. The flick will hit screens in December during the traditional year-end 'hot season'.
Tsui Harks New Movie Is ALL ABOUT WOMEN
November 13, 2008
Instead of making a sequel to Seven Swords, as he has promised a few years back, Tsui Hark announced he would do a re-make of his own classic Peking Opera Blues, an actioner featuring three women's story in the 1920s China. Then instead of a decent remake, the new alleged remake, All About Women, (the original Chinese title literally means "Women Are Not Bad" or "Women Are Not Mean"), turns out to be a comedy set in today's Beijing, not much of a remake except the center of the story are also three women.
The first woman is 31 year old Tang Lu (Zhang Yuqi), a white collar who masterfully using her beauty to make men hopelessly fall for her and to pave the way for her success; the second women is Fan Fan (Zhou Xun), an unattractive doctor, who knows everything about rectum and nothing about men; and the third women is Tie Ling (Kwai Lunmei), a lead band singer plus boxer, who has a perfect boyfriend existing only in her own fantasy. The script is penned by Tsui Hark and Korean screenwriter Kwak Jae-yong and the cast also include Alex Fong, Stephen Fung and Eddie Peng.
Tsui Hark's earlier works are way better than his recent works. A Better Tomorrow series with Chow Yun-Fat, from the 1980s and martial art films like, Wong Fei Hung series with Jet Li and The Blade with Zhao Wenzhuo, from the 1990s are classics near impossible to be duplicated. His Hollywood try-outs are so painfully to watch that I prefer to erase all the memories of them. The Legend of Zu is an ambition derailed by poorly developed story and not unimpressive CG effects. Seven Swords is an encouraging return to his martial-art root, though falls short of matching his early works. Triangle is an interesting idea fails to deliver the expected. Missing is a wired combination of horror and romance, which turns out to be nothing special.
Peking Opera Blues is one of Tsui Hark's best and All About Women, remake or not a remake, is not what we expected from him. But we will watch it anyway, because he is Tsui Hark.
Not All Women Are Bad, a contemporary comedy
Hong Kong's acclaimed Tsui Hark is in the director's chair filming a new production: "Not All Women Are Bad". The film marks a drastic departure from Tsui's earlier works, which focused heavily on martial arts, period dramas. "Not All Women are Bad" is a contemporary comedy. It's slated for release on the Chinese mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on December 4th.
"Not All Women Are Bad" is a comedy on modern metropolitan life. This one however, has a fresh perspective. It evolves against the backdrop of Beijing's rapidly developing cityscape.
Tsui Hark was so unrestrained and full of energy as he directed his cast, that sometimes the actors became a little confused.
Zhou Xun, Actress, said, "Every time he gave us a direction, it came as a surprise. We had no idea of what he was going to do. I was told to stand in my position and look at the camera from a certain angle. I was told to kiss somebody. But I had no grasp of the story line. He was bouncing all the way through the filming."
Tsui Hark, said, "At first, I tell my actors what I hope them to do. But very often it turns out to be another feeling in the end. Anyway, I always try to be versatile and forget myself when I throw myself into the work."
The film is a contemporary look at three women with different occupations and social backgrounds and how they deal with love.
Zhou Xun plays multiple roles: doctor, patient, reporter and pregnant woman. Gui Lunmei plays a spice girl. Zhang Yuqi takes the role of a woman of wealth.
The film is slated for release during the competitive year-end season when many big productions vie for the lion's share of box office revenues. Tsui Hark says if his film's box office surpasses a hundred million yuan, he'll be satisfied.
Zhou Xun graces the cover of China Harper's Bazaar December. The actress has been regarded as the biggest screen goddess in China this year for her portrayal of totally different roles in three movies, "Painted Skin," "The Equation of Love and Death," and "She Ain't Mean".[Photo: Harper's Bazaar/sina.com.cn]
In "True Legend" (director Yuen Woo Ping), Zhou Xun plays as Yuan Ying, Su Can's wife. Here are some her pics in film set at Huangshan (yellow mountain), Anhui Province, China.
(click photos to enlarge)
Zhou Xun and Vincent Zhao (as Su Can)
Zhou Zun and 12-year-old actor Sun Hanwen
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Acclaimed action choreographer Yuen Woo-ping is back in the director's chair again after focusing on stunt and fight scenes for 12 years.
Yuen's True Legend has a star-studded cast, led by mainland kungfu star Zhao Wenzhuo (Chiu Man Cheuk), Michelle Yeoh, Taiwan pop icon Jay Chou and award-winning actress Zhou Xun. It follows the legendary life of Su Can, a grassroots martial artist from the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and is the first film Yuen has directed since Iron Monkey 2 in 1996.
Yuen, 63, the man behind the action sequences in the Oscar-winning movies Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Matrix, says he chose the story because it was very touching.
Beggar Su was a legend in his time and experienced dramatic ups and downs, from being a martial arts genius in a rich family to a beggar, and then rising again to be a respected hero.
Su's story has a rich cinematic history. Yuen's father Yuen Siu Tien played Su in a 1979 film; Yuen himself directed a biopic on Su in 1993 starring Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen, while the most impressive depiction to most film fans was a comedy starring Stephen Chow in 1992.
The latest film, however, with Zhao in the lead role, is anything but a comedy and is a down-to-earth kungfu film without computer-generated special effects.
Once considered the next Jet Li, Zhao learned martial arts when he was very young and graduated from the wushu department at Beijing Sports University. Like Li, he won many national martial arts competitions but he never achieved Li's stardom due to the decline in Hong Kong's wuxia film genre.
Jay Chou plays Su's mentor, a top martial arts master.
Yuen admits that he chose Chou partly because of his appeal to young filmgoers and the box office success of his previous three films - but he stresses the main reason was Chou's ability to interpret the character well.
"Chou speaks little and looks cool, which matches people's imagination of a mysterious kungfu master," he says.
Chou, however, saw the role more as a challenge to perform well. "Nobody would refuse such as role as a top kungfu master, let alone in a film directed by Yuen," he says.
Biopics about kungfu masters have long been a favored subject on screen, with Jet Li's critically acclaimed Fearless on Huo Yuanjia in 2006 among the most notable recent films.
Bruce Lee's tutor Yip Man is currently the subject of movies by two Hong Kong directors: shooting for Wilson Yip's is already wrapped up, while Wong Kar-wai's is in pre-production.
On November 2, Sunday afternoon, a press conference for 《苏乞儿》 True Legend, directed by Yuen Wo Ping, was held in Beijing. The cast for the film includes Zhao Wen Zhuo, Zhou Xun, Gordon Liu, Michelle Yeoh, Guo Xiao Dong, Andy On, Jay Chow, Will Liu, etc.
True Legend official site, containing production diary, character designs, concept arts, stills, videos, news, etc. was made known, and a short behind-the-scene footage was shown. Doubts were raised by the reporters concerning Jay Chow playing a martial arts doyen responsible for raising Beggar Su's skills since he lacks martial arts and acting ability.
Yuen Wo Ping, who has some difficulties expressing himself in Mandarin, introduces that True Legend has a good quality script, presenting everything in a well-rounded manner, including character developments, from a happy family to it being torn asunder, to the protagonist regaining his confidence, getting a grip on himself... When he showed the script to his wife, she gave him the encouragement to direct the film.
Yuen Wo Ping continues, "While there're some comic relief elements, this is basically a serious dramatic production. It also has very good action scenes and is different from other works on Beggar Su."
Yuen Woo Ping adds that being a director is very a tough job, having to take care of everything. Much more difficult than being a martial arts director. It took him 9 months to a year to go through the script, doing pre-production.
He feels that when doing something that is difficult, you must do it successfully, or your effort would be wasted. Most importantly, you have to do it wholeheartedly.
And he'd come up with something new for each of his films, and accordingly, there'd be quite a bit of surprises in store in True Legend, including "something innovative in the martial arts sequences."
On being asked about the budget and release date of True Legend, Yuen Wo Ping says, "I have no idea about the budget, you have to ask the boss. When I direct movies, what I want, the boss must provide, must meet my requests, or I wouldn't do it. Whatever I need, I just have to tell them. The release date? No idea. We'll know after wrapping up."
Zhao Wen Zhuo, who plays the protagonist Su Can, says that its the script that attracted him most to True Legend, "It's not often that I see martial arts films with scripts that are so moving. I was so touched when I first read the script, I was moved to tears. The character is very moving, and of course, with maestro Yuen Wo Ping directing, how could you turn down this project?
"I've done a lot of preparations for this film. After accepting the role, I began my training. Eighth Master suggested a training schedule, training what he wanted me to do in the film. And most importantly, I had to shed 9kg for the film, for Beggar Su can't be too plump. So I kept up with my training routine and went on a diet. I feel lighter and more agile after losing weight.
"I have long heard that Yuen Woo Ping is especially demanding, and I got a taste of it during training, like how you should swing the weapon, where he'd dodge, and you must do a series of action in one single breath, and have to be more careful as such.
"I have great expectations for the film, since Eighth Master is the world renowned martial arts director. He hasn't directed any films in many years, so I especially look forward to its release, especially this type of kungfu film."
On hearing Yuen Wo Ping was casting her, Zhou Xun wondered if she would get to fight , only to learn that she'd merely be playing a drama role, but "Having left a good impression on Eighth Master in True Legend, I'd get the chance to have fight scenes in future collaborations."
Playing Zhao Wen Zhuo's wife, Zhou Xun is very moved by the script too, "This character stirs me immensely, what touches me most is after a major turnabout of events, she suddenly becomes very strong, her husband relies on her encouragements, her love, to grow up.
As UNDP China National Goodwill Ambassador, Zhou Xun, who went green after watching An Inconvenient Truth, has been actively spreading word on environmental sustainability and raising environmental awareness in the view of the urgency of climate change, advising everyone on the set to use recyclable products, like bringing their own crockery rather than disposable ones, etc.
On a separate occasion, Zhou Xun says, "Statistically, raising livestock for meat is responsible for one quarter of the world's greenhouse gases. Many green organisations are encouraging people to cut down on meat. I'm basically a vegetarian now, hardly taking any meat now, I believe that everyone should try to go on vegetarian diet at least once a week."
According to Guo Xiao Dong, he plays an ardently patriotic person, a hot-blooded youth who's inspired by Beggar Su to stand up against foreign invaders. Annd, under Beggar Su's guidance, he rises up in ranks from a foot soldier. Guo Xiao Dong says that he's very glad to be able to work with Yuen Wo Ping and hopes to achieve breakthrough in the film.
True Legend, produced by Edko Films, Shanghai Film Group, and Beijing New Times Film Culture and Development, is eyeing a summer 2009 release.
By Keen Zhang
Chinese martial arts choreographer and film director Yuen Wo Ping announced yesterday that he will direct a new Kung Fu epic entitled True Legend.
Yuen Wo Ping is one of most famous and influential figures in the world of Hong Kong action films, with a series of Kung Fu classics like Drunken Master to his name. But the last film he directed was 1996's Tai Chi Boxer, since when his efforts have been geared to his work as Kung Fu choreographer on a series of Hollywood Kung Fu copycat action flicks such as The Matrix and Kill Bill.
The new film, True Legend, will tell the story of Chinese-style martial arts master So Chan, a wealthy man of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) obsessed with Kung Fu, who fell from grace to become a beggar after he and his family became the victims of conspiracies. However, after reviewing his past and working hard to transform his life, and now honored as "King of Beggars", he rose again as a Kung Fu legend, patriot and folk hero.
Beggar So's story has been adapted several times into TV dramas and films, including 1992's renowned comedy film King of Beggars by Hong Kong directors Gordon Chan and David Lam and starring Stephen Chow and Cheung Man.
Yuen's new star-studded cast will include Kung Fu star Chiu Man-Cheuk, Guo Xiaodong, actress Zhou Xun, and singer Jay Chou. Yuen revealed yesterday at a press conference in Beijing that Michelle Yeoh will also join the cast.
Yuen said this new film will have little by way of comedy -- rather it will be a tragic but inspiring drama. The cast members all told China.org.cn that they have read the script and considered it to be a touching story. How touching will it be? It will move you to tears, they said.
Taiwan pop star Jay Chou will play the role of the all-powerful "Kung Fu God", Yuen revealed. Chou said he is also considering writing and recording the theme song for the film, just as he did with Jet Li's Fearless. Fending off mounting doubts around Chou's participation, Yuen described him as a "cool guy" -- just right for the role and with the potential to do a good job in the film.
Chou, himself a Kung Fu fan, has directed and taken the lead role in two of his own films: Kung Fu Dunk and Secret last year. He also starred in Chinese blockbuster Curse of the Golden Flower by Zhang Yimou. The pop musician's ultimate star power with the younger generation is a factor that film-makers are desperate to exploit.
But Yuen insists Chiu Man-Cheuk, a true Kung Fu champion who, like Jet Li, first won fame in national and provincial martial arts competitions, is the man to deliver the spirit of the film and the leading role of beggar So Chan. Chiu Man-Cheuk's most successful films include Once Upon a Time in China 4 and The Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk
Renowned action choreographer Yuen Wo-ping (The Forbidden Kingdom, Kill Bill) is directing a martial arts biopic, True Legend, starring Chiu Man-cheuk, Taiwanese pop singer Jay Chou, Michelle Yeoh and Chinese actors Zhou Xun and Guo Xiaodong.
Edko (Beijing) Management and Consulting Ltd, the Beijing-based subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Edko Films, has announced that it is co-producing the film with Shanghai Film Group and Beijing New Times Film Culture and Development.
Yuen directed the 1978 martial arts action title Drunken Fist, which propelled Jackie Chan from being a virtual unknown to an action star. However, Yuen has not directed a film for the past 12 years, during which time he has been known as an action director, with credits including the Matrix film series and the two Kill Bill films.
Set in the Qing Dynasty, True Legend tells the story of So Chan, a wealthy man obsessed with kung-fu, who fell from grace to become a beggar after he and his family became the victims of conspiracies. He later transformed himself into a martial arts master, patriot and folk hero, honoured as the "King of Beggars".
The same story has been previously adapted into several films and TV dramas including Yuen's 1993 film So Hat-yi and Gordon Chan's 1992 King Of Beggars, starring Stephen Chow.
Chiu (Once Upon A Time In China 4, The Legend Of Fong Sai-Yuk) will portray the master So Chan, while Jay Chou will play a master who inspired So during his time of frustration. Zhou Xun will play So's wife and Chinese actor Guo Xiaodong will play So's opponent. Michelle Yeoh's character is yet to be announced, according to Yuen at a press conference in Beijing.
The film started shooting last month in Huang Shan of Anhui Province and Beijing. The release date is set for mid-2009.
In addition to True Legend, Edko Films is also producing Tian Zhuangzhuang's Warrior And The Wolf for 2009 release. Maggie Q and Japanese actor Jo Odagiri co-star in the historical action drama. Edko is co-producing the film with Japan's Ogura Jimusyo Co, China's Perfect World Culture and Singapore-based MediaCorp Raintree Pictures