Helmer to join jury
Elusive Hong Kong helmer Wong Kar-wai — whose austere sunglasses define his look — will find time after chairing the Cannes jury to come to grips with three new film projects. Two of the three are in English and involve top-tier talent.
Right after the May fest, Wong will focus on his English-lingo debut, a mood piece titled “Blueberry Nights.”
Pic, which will mark the big-screen debut of Canadian singing sensation Norah Jones, is an extrapolation of a short film in which a shopkeeper falls for a mysterious female client who eats blueberry pies.
The $10 million pic is being set up as a unionized shoot in Gotham. He will presumably stick with his habitual movie-making methods — a notable lack of script and a predilection for snatching scenes and shots over an extended period.
Producers include Wong, Jacky Pang of Wong’s Hong Kong-based Jettone Films and Jean-Louis Piel. Producer of Nicole Kidman-starrer “Birth” and Zhang Yimou’s “Shanghai Triad,” Piel retains rights in North America and China.
Remaining finance and international sales are by France’s StudioCanal. StudioCanal, Piel and Jettone reteam on the previously announced “Lady From Shanghai,” a $30 million romantic thriller, which will now shoot in 2007.
“Lady,” to which Kidman is still attached, will be Wong’s first studio-level, fully-scripted pic and will likely film in New York. Wong is still developing the script and casting for a male lead.
Rachel Weisz, the British star of “The Constant Gardener,” may also be in the frame. She recently told Blighty journos that she would be working on Wong’s next movie. Given Wong’s one-of-a-kind methodology, she could find herself in “Lady” or “Blueberry” — or both.
StudioCanal has widely pre-sold “Lady” and will open “Blueberry Nights” to buyers in Cannes.
Wong currently plans to follow the English pair with “Bruce Lee Teacher,” which will reteam him with “In the Mood for Love” star Tony Leung Chiu-wai.