Zhang Ziyi Stole Tony Leung’s Limelight in “The Grandmaster”

Portraying Ip Man in The Grandmaster <一代宗師>Tony Leung (梁朝偉) jokingly moaned, “I have been training under a Wing Chun master for the past 3 years, yet the scenes I have can’t beat Zhang Ziyi (章子怡).”

Although Wong Kar Wai had set out to make a biopic about Ip Man, The Grandmaster grew into a sprawling account of Chinese martial arts. In the opening scene, Tony fought off 10 of his adversaries in a rain scene, showcasing Wong Kar Wai’s signature martial arts aesthetics. In another scene, Tony and Zhang Ziyi were dueling at the Golden House; the awe-inspiring exchange proved the hard work both actors had put in throughout their training.

Artists’ Screen Time Hampered by Wong Kar Wai’s Editing

In The Grandmaster, Tony hardly has many spoken lines, which prompted wife, Carina Lau (劉嘉玲) to nickname him as “The Silent Ghost” after watching his performance. Director Wong Kar Wai (王家衛) explained, “Initially I gave Tony many lines, but I deleted them in the end because Ip Man is a man of few words. Without saying a word, he is able to command the room.”

On the contrary, Zhang Ziyi had some of the best lines in the film. At the same time, her internal struggle between her admiration for Tony’s Ip Man and her impulse for exacting revenge for her father proved to be a well-received performance.

Under Wong Kar Wai’s heavy-handed editing, Chang Chen (張震), Song Hye Kyo, and Chilam Cheung (張智霖) had little screen time in The Grandmaster, despite extended filming. Taiwanese actor, Chang Chen, trained for 3 years under a Baji master for his role; however, he ended up appearing in only 3 scenes in the show. Chang said, “I know Wong Kar Wai’s style, so I have expected this.” Song Hye Kyo, who has been noticeably absent from the film’s promotional events, plays Ip Man’s wife has one line in the entire show, “Is it that cold in Foshan?” while Chilam Cheung only makes a multi-second appearance.

The Grandmaster marked Tony’s seventh collaboration with Wong Kar Wai. Since 1990, Tony had appeared in Wong Kar Wai’s movies such as Days of Being Wild <阿飛正傳>, Ashes of Time <東邪西毒>, In the Mood for Love <花樣年華> and 2046. Will there be an eighth time? Tony declined to comment, likely due to the laborious filming conditions of The Grandmaster and physical exertion for his role.

The Grandmaster was the top film in mainland Chinese box offices, earning 162 million RMB in its opening weekend.

Source: Apple Daily 

This article is written by Karen for JayneStars.com.

Related Articles


  1. To anyone who has already seen this movie, is it necessary to watch Donny Yen’s Ip Man movies before viewing this film?

    1. Ah… I wonder this lady could fight meh…sorry to say don’t really like her…face.

      1. Of course, this lady can act, ha. happy to say I really like, love, mesmerised by her and her…face.

        But I don’t like yours, hehehe

      2. Ah. really ..no wonder..people who likes her perhaps are from the same kind of exposing..their ass.. to the public..he..he..

      3. I like her face because it’s real and free of plastic surgery.

      4. Plastic or no plastic monthly botox jabs nobody knows except herself still may not consider pure .

      5. apple: if nobody knows, then how do YOU know about “monthly botox jobs”?
        Can you tell us who is considered “pure” in the industry?

      6. @Msxie
        You dont get what i mean if no one knows does mean she never jabs.

    2. Quote “are from the same kind of exposing..their ass.. to the public..he..he..”

      Does an apple not looks more like an ass?

      Hahaha, apple ass. It rhymes. Sounds good on you.

  2. Lol what a way to utilise your stars, by giving them as little lines and screentime as possible. I will watch it before I comment further 🙂 but from what is said I kinda feel sorry for chang chen, song hye kyo n chilam – that is, if they didn’t know what they were in for.

    1. This is Wong Kar Wai’s film, not Chang Chen, not Song, not Chilam’s film. Wong Kar Wai is the ‘hero’ here, he makes films for himself and for his own limelight, not to make famous his stars.

      Yet stars still flocked to act in Wong Kar Wai’s movies. Having their names etched in his movies’ credits is already a name in itself.

      Take it or leave it, Wong Kar Wai seems t say.

      1. I understand art is art, but I do feel sympathetic for the actors. As prestigious as a WKW production credit is, I don’t think you can undermine the years of hard work that went into it. I wonder if any of the actors would do the same thing given a second chance.

      2. Editing is a director’s call, or for some a studio executive’s calls which is why later there will be a director’s cut which will be the vision the director wanted. Even in big hollywood productions some famous actors act in a role and get paid only to be cut from the final release. It is usual and your job as an actor is to realise the director’s vision, the director is to guide you, not to accommodate you.

  3. i dont like wong kar wei,he always wears sun glasses everywhere.i think even when he sleep he put his sun glasss on.
    i also dont like his work,although visually its a piece of art but also very boring to watch. but i will watch this one because of tony leung.

    1. maybe even when he take a shower he put his sunn glasses lol.^-^

  4. I can’t stay awake watching WKW’s movies. They bore me to tears.

Comments are closed.