Tony Leung’s “The Grandmasters” to Complete Filming in May 2012

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!

[vsw id=”7CfC_1_Wpmo” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]


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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.

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  1. I find it similar to James Cameron’s Avatar. It took him years, from writing the script to getting the technology.

    Hope the movie is worth the wait.

    1. But that included writing, etc. This one, 2 years purely for filming!

  2. 13 years is a old time to produce a piece of work. How many 13 years does one have in one’s lifetime?

    He is dedicated to his craft.

    I agree though that for artistic creations sometimes it takes a spark of genius and a passion to complete it quickly. Taking a long time is fine as well to review and recraft one’s work but does not necessarily mean that the piece of work is better.

  3. This is soo confusing… so many different movies and people playing Ip Man in the past few years. I think Donnie Yen would be the most famous one and Ip Man 3 is also coming out. Isn’t it a bit late for Wong Kar Wai this?

    Dunno how Tony Leung will compare. Obviously he doesn’t come from a martial arts background like Donnie Yen so most likely would rely on special effects or stuntsmen to do the main moves. But just by looking at the trailer, uses a different approach to series – the cinematography and direction is different and more like ‘matrix style’, more ‘modern’, whereas resembles and uses the traditional moves more. If you’re talking about authenticity, then it seems that utilises the original and traditional Wing Chun styles more, but that trailer scene from don’t seem to resemble Wing Chun at all but more just some kicks and punches. Wing Chun is a specific form of martial arts, there’s certain specific moves not just some asian man throwing a few kicks and punches and call that Wing Chun. Eg. Wong Fei Hong uses Hung Kuen that’s his speciality so it even his moves look different. Ip Man is all about Wing Chun because Wing Chun is Ip Man and Ip Man is Wing Chun… i think the film should focus on that more.

    And Wong Kar Wai should consider using people who suits the role more!! I mean I know he is close to Tony Leung and uses him practically for every movie he makes, but it would be better to find actors to suit the role. Perseonally, I don’t think Tony Leung suits Ip Man. But then again, maybe because Donnie Yen did such a great job, and he was the original one, that’s why i like him more.

    I hope I’m wrong though. I know I need to watch the film first but just based on what I’m seeing from the trailer, it kind of deters from the original already.

    1. I totally agree with you as a martial arts enthusiast. You’ve said what’s on my mind. The trailer consists of many closeup shots (neck upwards, kicks only), of course Tony can do that but if the movie is really about Ip Man, WKW need to focus on that and give us real WC, i.e. hand-to-hand combat, etc. In that little bit of trailer, nearly every frame became slow-mo, boring** Personally, Donnie did ok for the first Ip Man but #2 only so-so. Dennis To did a better job in The Legend is Born – Ip Man.

      However, it’s only a 1.42 trailer, let’s wait for a proper one.

      Tony is not the man for kungfu. Period.

    2. to be honest, Tony’s body/frame suits Ip Man more, donnie’s a bit too buff and adds too much showmanship to his moves, every martial arts film he’s done, has the exact same flare and no individual charaterisation but DONNIE YEN STYLE. (Dragon Tiger Gate, SPL, Flash Point, Ip Man)

  4. just from the trailer , the look sux ..none of the moves Tony Leung makes resembles anything from Wing Chun…

    1. Tony is a great actor but maybe he was not suited for this role??

  5. “Wong Kar Wai should consider using people who suits the role more!!” ……. agree.

    1. Tony Leung is an artiste for drama dramas and not for martial arts dramas (no mattter how hard he worked on it).

      1. I would not say so since Tony used to be in a lot of martial arts series and I felt he did a good job. Therefore, he definately has the potential to be in martial arts dramas.

  6. This I have to see. I am curious as to the finished product. What can WKW add to a character who is based on a person who, to my knowledge, unlikely shares any of WKW’s ideas and themes? More to the point, is there actually going to be a story or just fragments of consciousness, concepts and themes?

  7. i feel like lauging when i see tony leung in this movie!!

  8. Why so many Ip Mans? It’s like a production line. Can’t they come up with something different? sigh…..

  9. Hmm another ip man. Blah, not really interested for some reason, plus after look at the trailer. Feel that in recent years there is not much change in tony Leung acting. I feel that nick Cheung is better but he is not as handsome as tony.

    1. Due to watching Nick in Ups and Downs in the sea of love, I see Nick as a cute baby face more than handsome. but that’s cos I don’t really follos hk films. He seems very famous these days, proud of him for that.

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