Director Wong Kar-wai and cast members of The Grandmasters appeared at a special press conference held in Beijing on December 28th.
The event was for the 60th anniversary of Sil-Metropole Organisation Ltd, one of the film’s production companies.
Most of the attention went to the cast of The Grandmasters, including Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Zhao Benshan, Song Hye-kyo, Xiao Shenyang and Wang Qingxiang, who rushed from the Guangdong set. The team presented an oil painting poster to the company.
The event showed a promotional reel for The Grandmasters but it did not include any actual footage from the film. Host Zhang Guoli joked that this trailer was mysterious enough, after such a long shoot the trailer had no scenes at all.
Then actors Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Song Hye-Kyo, Zhao Benshan, Xiao Shenyang, Wang Qingxiang appeared on stage.
Speaking of the fight scenes, Tony Leung said that he was not worried as he practiced for a long time. He practiced so much that his arm was broken at the hands of his Wing Chun teacher. Zhang Guoli joked that the scene of Tony Leung’s arm being broken was not preserved, which truly was a regret for Chinese film because it was worth a lot of money. The fight scene in the rain he said was very difficult and took 30 days to shoot. Zhang Guoli joked that it only took 30 days, someone had to thank Wong Kar-wai as normally it might take 3 months.
Zhang Ziyi plays a martial art expert in the film, Zhang Guoli praised her eight diagram palm technique in the snow scene, saying it was very pretty. Zhang Ziyi said that this scene was shot last winter. At the time, the crew joked that this shoot would not be completed as they predicted whether or not they would have to shoot it again next year. Surprisingly they were right. She recalled the 30 degree below zero (Celsius) shooting environment as truly tough.
Chang Chen plays an eight diagram expert in the film. For the film, he trained for two years but the training benefited him a lot and his health improved.
Song Hye-kyo plays Yip Man’s (Tony Leung) wife in the film, but they did not stand together on the stage. She joked that they (she and Tony) were together everyday during filming so they didn’t have to stand together now. Zhang Guoli said that this was understandable to avoid suspicion from Tony Leung’s wife (Carina Lau). This was Song Hye-kyo’s first film shooting in China and she was truly pleased to be able to work with a group of such great actors. She thanked director Wong Kar-wai for his help, because at first she was not too used to his style of directing. Director Wong helped her a lot.
Wong Kar Wai appeared in the end to pose for a group photo with the cast.
Host Zhang Guoli asked Tony Leung to make a kung fu pose but Tony only had his hands in his pockets and played cool. He explained that he was dressed modernly so he posed with his hands in his pockets in front of the poster.
The actors finally sang a birthday song to celebrate Sil-Metropole’s 60th year, but they looked somewhat embarrassed.
After two days promoting The Grandmasters in Beijing, Tony Leung returned to Hong Kong. Reporters asked him about the filming schedule and he revealed that he will return to the Mainland later to continue the shoot. He has been shooting more than 10 hours a day, most likely with no time off during the new year. He thinks they will finish around the Lunar New Year (February).
Tony was in good spirits and full of smiles. He said, “Maybe it’s because of this Grandmaster hair cut.” His earlier injury has now basically healed, but during action scenes he would be even more cautious as he did not want to be injured again.
According to news in Hong Kong, initially the investors wanted ‘The Grandmasters’ to be released in the Lunar New Year period (early February), but now they are saying that the film will be in Chinese theaters during Easter.
Translation of the text in the trailer:
“Their valor is transmitted by men of chivalry, accurately recorded by the brushes of history that begin to flow into myriads of seas, and due to the dao, the fortunes of their affection are long, and the elements once a generation bear witness to the masters.”