Director Wong Kar Wai’s (王家卫) biopic film, The Grandmasters <一代宗师> will finally complete filming in May 2012, after shooting lasted for more than two years. Wong Kar Wai’s new film, which was a meticulous labor of love, was highly anticipated by audiences. Starring Tony Leung (梁朝伟) as the famed martial artist, Ip Man, the movie’s release date will be announced at the end of April.
The news that The Grandmasters will complete filming shortly delighted many fans who have followed Wong Kar Wai’s project since inception. While Wong Kar Wai was known for being a perfectionist, taking his slow, sweet time to realize his artistic visions, his meticulous work style resulted in extended project delays and dissatisfied cast. Rumors had circulated that Song Hye Kyo had returned to South Korea at one point because she was dissatisfied with the filming dragging on for two years.
In fact, Wong Kar Wai spent 13 years to bring The Grandmasters to life.
Between 1997 to 1998, Wong Kar Wai discussed the concept of The Grandmasters with Jeffrey Lau (刘镇伟). In 2001, Wong Kar Wai started writing the script for the movie. In 2003, plans were announced that the movie will be made, inviting Tony Leung to portray the role of Ip Man.
Although Wong Kar Wai announced that he would shoot a biopic on Ip Man, it was the more prolific producer, Raymond Wong (黄百鸣) who succeeded to do so first in 2008. Raymond Wong’s version of Ip Man starred Donnie Yen; the martial arts fest delighted worldwide audiences and was an enormous commercial hit.
By 2009, Wong Kar Wai was finally ready to film The Grandmasters. In July, Tony Leung sustained a fracture in his arm while practicing martial arts for his Ip Man role. He entered the hospital and took time to recuperate. It was not until November 21, 2009 that the movie starting officially filming.
Since The Grandmasters will film its final scenes in May, the movie will not be shown at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, which will be held from May 16th to 27th. Concerns have been raised as to whether the movie will be edited in time to partake in the 2012 Venice Film Festival, which will take place from August 29th to September 8th. The Public Relations staff of The Grandmasters promised to announce the movie’s official release date at the end of April, which will make it clear as to which film festival it will be shown at.
The Grandmasters stars Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi (章子怡), Song Hye Kyo (송혜교 ), Chang Chen (張震), Chilam Cheung (張智霖), Zhao Benshan (趙本山), Bruce Leung (梁小龍), and Wang Qingxiang (王庆祥).
Watch “The Grandmasters” Trailer Starring Tony Leung!
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Jayne: 13 years is an extremely long time to work on a film project, even by Wong Kar Wai’s standards! Will he take another year to edit the footage? Or he has been watching and edit existing footage, thus final editing will not take too long? Missing the prestigious Cannes and possibly the Venice Film Festivals is a loss though.