Sequel of Crouching Tiger's underway but without Ang Lee

Updated: 2015-09-17 07:42

By Xu Fan(China Daily)

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Sequel of Crouching Tiger's underway but without Ang Lee

American-Chinese kung fu star Donnie Yen stars in the sequel. [Photo provided to China Daily]

There are also changes to the cast.

Despite Chinese-Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh reprising her role as the swordswoman Yu Xiulian, other characters have changes, such as the American-Chinese kung fu star Donnie Yen.

The sequel, adapted from one of Chinese wuxia writer Wang Dulu's Crane-Iron Pentalogy, centers on the thrilling adventures involving an ancient sword called The Green Destiny (the main focus of the first installment).

An evil swordsman exiled by a famed martial arts group from the Wudang Mountain area plots to rob the precious weapon.

The roles played by Yeoh and Yen (the protagonist Yu's fiance in the movie) risk their lives to stop the evil swordsman.

Interestingly, "destiny" seems to hang over the filmmaking process.

Bey Logan, the movie's producer, says that the crew encountered Lee during their time at New Zealand director Peter Jackson's facility in Auckland, where 95 percent of the film's picturesque scenes were shot.

The sequel also used The Lord of the Rings' special effects team of the New Zealand director.

"Lee gave me the advice to 'have fun with the filmmaking'... It's like destiny to meet him by accident ... Every time when we have some big problems, I go back to Lee's suggestion," he says, smiling.

Logan says that one of the biggest challenges was how to tell a Chinese story and get it to be easily accepted by Western audiences.

"While you'll find the action scenes in Chinese martial arts movies amazing, sometimes it's hard for Americans to get the motivations of the characters," he says.

"So we had (American screenwriter) John Fusco write the script. He has a terrific understanding of Chinese culture."

Fusco (Young Guns) is believed to be writing another Weinstein Chinese-themed screenplay featuring Marco Polo, the famed Italian merchant traveler who introduced China to Europe.

The Weinstein Company, though not as famed as Hollywood's "big six", has been an Oscar favorite in the past decade.

To date, the American independent film studio founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein has earned 69 Academy Awards and around 250 Oscar nominations, including the 2011 Oscar-winning The King's Speech.

Alongside Weinstein, the big-budget sequel's producers include China Film Group, Beijing-based Pegasus Media and Netflix, which aims to use its global platform to target the sequel at its 60 million registered users.

So, will the sequel touch a chord with mainland viewers?

Sun Jianjun, president of Pegasus, says that the script was revised around 10 times over nearly seven years.

A Chinese scriptwriter assisted Fusco in making the tale more "natural" to the Chinese.

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