Wong Kar Wai: ‘Grandmaster’ Is Not Chop Suey

Tony Leung, Susan Sarandon, Zhang Ziyi
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

“I love martial arts films,” professed Harvey Weinstein Aug. 13 in his intro to the screening of “The Grandmaster” at Gotham’s Regal E-Walk, the 10th film by prolific director Wong Kar Wai about kung fu grandmaster Ip Man. “I know I’m supposed to lead this fabulous life, but I’d rather watch “Touch of Zen” for three hours than do most events.”

Wong said to the aud: “For a lot of people, kung fu film is like chop suey. This is not chop suey.”

He also informed the crowd that all of the special f/x were done by the actors.

“We tried to be authentic. Kar is a perfectionist. We started practicing one and a half years before shooting, and I think it’s quite difficult for someone like me who learned kung fu at the age of 47,” said Tony Leung. “I broke my arms twice and I had several injuries, but I went through a very enjoyable journey to craft this character. When I was a kid, I was a big fan of Bruce Lee and I knew nothing about kung fu, but after this movie, I have a better understanding of kung fu.”

His co-star, Zhang Ziyi, says that naturally “martial arts fans will definitely love the movie,” but that she’s finding women love it as well.

“I notice that in China, a lot of young girls and young women are very independent,” Zhang said. “So many women in the audience love it because it represents something; women’s power. It’s not for my character, it’s for every single woman in the world. That’s something I treasure. I love it. It just shows that if you follow your heart, that’s the important thing.”

Party followed at Forty Four at the Royalton with producer Megan Ellison, James Dolan, guests Susan Sarandon, Judah Friedlander and Samuel L. Jackson.

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