At work with John Woo

Familiarity breeds comfort for helmer's far-flung operations

Had a career-long collaboration with old Hong Kong pal and producer Terence Chang, who studied film at NYU and co-produced Woo’s American film debut, 1993’s “Hard Target.” In 1994, they formed their first Hollywood company, WCG Entertainment.


  • Repped by Spencer Baumgarten, David O’Connor, Seamus Blackley, Peter Loehr and Rob Kenneally at CAA.
  • Lawyers: Tom Hansen and Stewart Brookman of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Warren, Sloane & Richman.

L.A.- and Beijing-based Lion Rock Prods. and sister company Tiger Hill Entertainment, formed by Woo and Chang for videogames and comicbooks. Tiger Hill’s first project was the ’07 videogame “Stranglehold,” the interactive sequel to “Hard Boiled,” which sold more than 1 million units.


  • Woo has close ties with new studio China Film Group in Beijing. “It has 16 massive soundstages on a backlot that’s the same size as Universal’s, all new equipment shipped in from the States and Canada, and a state-of-the-art mixing stage, so it’s a very big deal,” says Woo, who posted “Red Cliff” there.
  • He swears by Panavision and ARRI. (“I’m not that excited about shooting digitally. I still prefer film.”) Preferred rigs and grip gear include Steadicam and Chapman dollies. He also used a Flying-Cam team from Hong Kong for all the aerial filming on “Red Cliff.”


  • Woo prefers to work with familiar faces “if they’re available,” he says, and has often relied on d.p. Jeffrey Kimball, first a.d. Arthur Anderson and Oscar-nommed sound designer Alan Rankin, who all worked on “Paycheck,” “Hostage,” “Windtalkers” and “Mission: Impossible 2” (Anderson also served as co-producer on “Paycheck” and second unit director on failed TV pilot “The Robinsons: Lost in Space.”)
  • Tony Chiu (who began as a camera loader on “Broken Arrow”) has worked his way up from a second unit editing assistant to post production coordinator over the years.
  • Mindy Marin cast “Paycheck,” “Hostage” “Windtalkers” and “Face/Off.”
  • “Sound and music are more important than dialogue often,” says Woo, who’s hired such varied composers as Hans Zimmer (“Broken Arrow,” “MI2”), John Powell (“Paycheck”), James Horner (“Windtalkers”) and Taro Iwashiro (“Red Cliff”).

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety