Above: Tiger Chen and Keanu Reeves star in “Man of Tai Chi”.
Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi <太極俠>, has released its first teaser poster and set photos to the Chinese media. The poster features leading star, Tiger Chen (陳虎), doing air kicks while being surrounded by a yin yang fire.
Produced by China Film Group, Wanda Group, and Village Roadshaw Pictures, Man of Tai Chi is distributed by Universal Pictures and is planned for a summer 2013 release in mainland China. The Matrix star himself will also star in the Chinese-American co-production, supported by major names Karen Mok (莫文蔚) and Simon Yam (任達華).
Entirely a martial arts film, Keanu was very selective when it came to hiring a stunt team for Man of Tai Chi. He ultimately chose a Hong Kong stunt team headed by Yuen Woo Ping (袁和平), who also signed on to be the film’s action choreographer. Keanu struck a friendship with Yuen and his pupil, Tiger Chen, after the trio collaborated in The Matrix fifteen years ago. Tiger was also Keanu’s personal trainer during the shooting of The Matrix series.
On why he chose tai chi as a topic for his directorial debut, Keanu explained that he developed an interest in Asian martial arts – particularly tai chi – during the filming of The Matrix, and had dreams to direct his first picture in China. His love for martial arts and its authenticity may also be the reason why Keanu decided to introduce Tiger to onscreen prominence with his self-directed feature. Aside from being Keanu’s directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi is also Tiger’s film debut.
Keanu developed the story of Man of Tai Chi around Tiger’s character, who is described to be the film’s “hero.” The director himself will star as the film’s main villain.
Taneda Youhei (種田陽平), who gained fame for his work on Zhang Yimou’s (張藝謀) The Flowers of War<金陵十三钗>, is the production designer for Man of Tai Chi. Elliot Davis is in charge of the cinematography, while Chan Kwong Wing (陳光榮) of Infernal Affairs <無間道> fame will pen the film’s score. Man of Tai Chi is currently undergoing post-production in the United States.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.