Kidman to star as 'Lady From Shanghai'
HONG KONG — There’s no telling what kind of mess would have occurred had Wong Kar Wai messed up and missed the deadline for completing Cannes opening film “My Blueberry Nights” — this was always going to be a busy year.In addition to “Blueberry,” he has a short film “To Each His Cinema” screening at the fest as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations. Last fall, Wong announced he would deliver “Ashes of Time Redux,” a “re-envisioned” and reworked version of his only full martial arts film from 1994. Plus, he has Nicole Kidman starrer “The Lady From Shanghai” on deck. Pic is set in ancient China and stars the late Leslie Cheung as a fallen swordsman unable to find the meaning of true love, though those around him (including Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Jacky Cheung) do. Given Leslie Cheung’s untimely death, there must be limits to how much can be reshot, but Wong is understood to be keen to use surplus footage to re-edit and possibly to rescore parts of the film. Original “Ashes” drew on numerous influences, including the novel “Eagle Shooting Hero” by Jin Yong, Taiwanese writer Gu Long and South American writers Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Manuel Puig. Action, choreographed by Sammo Hung, supposedly attempted a new kind of fighting and editing. If all goes according to sked, the pic will be ready in time for the Venice fest in September. That frees Wong for “Lady From Shanghai,” another English-language pic, but this time a $30 million thriller with Kidman. Issues with Kidman’s schedule allowed “My Blueberry Nights” to go first, and some commentators have regarded the $10 million “Blueberry” as a dry run. Two pics share Wong’s Jet Tone and Jean-Louis Piel’s Block 2 as producers and France’s StudioCanal as financier-distributor. Story is set in the 1930s and features a woman (Kidman) who claims she is from Shanghai and has an affair with a dangerous spy. Extent of connections to the Orson Welles film of the same title are not clear, though Wong’s pic appears to share the same Sherwood King novel, “If I Die Before I Wake,” as source material. Lensing is expected to take place in Russia and China. There has been unconfirmed talk of biopic “Bruce Lee Teacher” as Wong’s return to Chinese moviemaking after the English-language pair.