Republished with permission from China Daily
Domestic movies lined up for the upcoming Spring Festival season have a powerful rival, the sequel of Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny will hit mainland theaters on Feb 8, the first day of China’s Lunar New Year.
Since Crouching Tiger won four Oscars in 2000, industry sources regard Ang Lee’s martial arts movie as a summit in cinematic history. Veteran filmmaker Yuen Woo-ping is the director of the sequel. Lee reportedly refused the job as he was reluctant to repeat himself.
“I met Lee when we were filming in New Zealand. He told me to follow my heart and don’t be concerned about external pressure,” says Yuen.
Yuen also says that the huge crew, including more than 700 members from more than 20 countries, made the filming a “dream job”.
“To get people speaking different languages to focus on one target is an amazing experience,” he says. “We had a dream to re-create the fantasy world of martial arts masters on the big screen, and now the dream has come true.”
Chinese-Malaysia actress Michelle Yeoh is the only lead star who reprises her role in the sequel. The film has Chinese-American kung fu star Donnie Yen, who plays Yeoh’s fiance in the movie.
Yeoh says: “Around 15 years ago I was told to teach a then novice Zhang Ziyi, who was only 20 years old in 1999. And now I have a similar-age newbie to teach. It is like destiny.”
The novice Yeoh refers to is Liu Chengyu, born to a Chinese mother and an Italian father. The 19-year-old actress plays the role of Xueping, the daughter of Yu Jiaolong (Zhang Ziyi’s role in the first movie).
The big-budget sequel is produced by China Film Group, owned by the international television network Netflix and US film studio The Weinstein Company.