Grandmaster Yip Man
Press conference for 《一代宗师·叶问》 Grandmaster Yip Man (tentative), budgeted at around 80m yuan, was held on May 7 afternoon in Shanghai, attended by producer Raymond Wong, director Wilson Yip, the cast Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Gordon Lam, Lynn Hung, Xing Yu, etc. Grandmaster Yip is the fourth collaboration between the “golden team” Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen.
Both Wilson Yip and Donnie Yen indicate that they’re taking a more down-to-earth approach in portraying on the screen the life of this legendary grandmaster of martial arts as well as his rich spiritual world, as well as presenting a scintillating, fresh martial arts choreography, courtesy of martial arts choreographer Sammo Hung.
Together with his script writer, he would reflect the life of Yip Man in from 1930s to 1940s, when he’s in his prime, “Yip Man came from an affluent family and was deeply engrossed in the studies and research of martial arts. At this time, his family undergoes severe changes, losing all its wealth. He has no choice but to take part in resistance activities, stirring up the folks to rise up against invasion. How would he and his friends and families go through trials in life, all these are in the movie.”
As with the previous press conference, Wilson Yip still doesn’t give straight answer regarding young Bruce Lee’s appearance, “Anything is possible. We’re looking for an adolescent, 15 or 16, who resembles Bruce Lee.” But he adds that the movie mainly revolves around events prior to Yip Man leaving for Hong Kong.
Simon Yam, who plays Zhou Qing Quan, introduces his character as Yip Man’s best friend, one who is very loyal, and helps out Yip Man when he’s down, and eventually brings him to Hong Kong. He says, “I have lots of drama scenes concerning my innermost thoughts, I have to think of many things. While I’m not challenged physically as Donnie Yen, and don’t sweat on the outside, my heart is perspiring.”
This is the first time Lynn Hung comes into contact with filmmaking, playing Yip Man’s ever virtuous wife, and one who already has kids. She admits to being rather nervous. But thanks to everyone’s encouragement, sharing with her their experiences, her burdened has been lessened.
Donnie Yen has obviously lost some weight and he reveals that in order to best play an erudite and cultured Yip Man, as well as bringing out the special traits of Wing Chun which was designed for women or guys of smaller builds, he has long been on a plain diet consisting mainly of vegetables, and he doesn’t even take rice on the set.
Donnie Yen describes Yip Man as one who is learned, refined, obsessed with martial arts yet isn’t competitive, and neither does he wish to become a hero. However, owing to various circumstances, he’s forced to leave his home. There are lots of tender emotional moments between he, his family and friends.
He expresses confidence for his portrayal over Wong Kar Wai’s version starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai, saying that he has spent a great deal of effort on Grandmaster Yip Man. Apart from acting, one needs to understand the philosophy behind wushu, and only one proficient in martial arts would carry the aura of wushu. He has spent months studying Wing Chun, finding out about Yip Man’s family background, etc. He hopes to convey the meaning and spirit of wushu through this film Grandmaster Yip Man.
Yip Man’s eldest son, the octogenarian Yip Chun, also graces the press conference and even does a Wing Chun demonstration. Raymond Wong expresses his gratitude for Yip Chun, “In the recent years, we have been shooting action films. Then, I wondered what I should shoot this year. Would it be possible to do a biopic on Yip Man? It’s on the account of the support and trust Mr Yip Chun has placed on us that we’ve been able to proceed smoothly on this project.”
Grandmaster Yip Man is tentatively scheduled for release this upcoming Christmas season on December 19, which may see it contending against Chen Kaige’s Mei Lan Fang. Sohu, Sina