Clout helped make 'Tiger,' helmer sez

It took seven films to get there, but director Ang Lee has achieved a lifelong goal in making a chopsocky with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

“I felt as if it took the first six movies for me to get enough clout to make this film,” Lee told the audience of about 400 at a Directors Guild of America tribute Monday evening. Lee’s credits include “The Wedding Banquet,” “The Ice Storm” and “Sense and Sensibility,” which was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Lee said it was the underpinnings of the genre that attracted him. “What I like is the pure cinematic energy, what works and what looks good,” he added.

The director also speculated “Tiger” may have impressed his father enough to finally make up for flunking college entrance exams. “He never said anything about my other films, but he liked this one,” Lee noted.

Lee gave credit to the cast and crew for enduring a rough five-month shoot in China, which included heavy rain and sandstorms in the Gobi Desert and fight scenes that needed three dozen takes. “You have to build the movie around the actors,” he admitted. “They’re more important to me than I am to them.”

As to what’s next, Lee may do a “small musical,” but added that he’s still working on the script.

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