Press conference for Kungfu Hero was held on October 20 in Beijing, attended by the producers Li Shao Hong, Li Xiao Wan and Zhang Da Xing, directors Ning Ying and Yuen Cheung Yan, and cast members Tiger Chen, Jiang Meng Jie and Lin Shen.

Producer Li Xiao Wan says being a film that pays tribute to traditional kungfu fiilms, Kungfu Hero will have many down-to-earth martial arts sequences, including an extended fight lasting 7 minutes.

Ning Ying and Yuen Cheung Yan will share directing duties, one handling drama, the other martial arts sequences. Director Ning Ying expresses that she was very surprised when she was looked up by the production, “I have always had utmost respect for the Yuen Clan, so I’m approaching this film with childlike eagerness. While the martial arts sequences would be most anticipated by everyone, and I also share the same feeling, the drama scenes are also very important as well, and would be worth waiting for.

“This film will have its unique qualities, taking place among Yunnan minority race, and being witnessed through the eyes of a foreign kid, a kungfu hero is born. I believe that the audience would look forward to emergence of fresh talent in martial arts films, generating a new sensation.”

Tiger Chen, who clarifies that Kungfu Hero is not Tai Chi Tiger, which is still in pre-production, describes his role as a very mundane person, “One without many friends, and is under the weather. By chance, I meet a foreign kid, and in helping the kids fulfil his dreams, I also fulfil mine. This is a movie on dreams and aspirations. We’ve been working on the script for years, and having been accumulating it for years, I hope all my energy will explode in this film.”

The female lead, a English teacher tutoring Tiger Chen, will be played by Jiang Meng Jie of A Dream of Red Mansions TV adaptation fame. Vanessa Branch will play the villain, who kidnaps the kid, and joining her gang in a cameo are some Hollywood actors, to be announced on a later date, that have worked with Tiger Chen before.

While Keanu Reeves, who finances the film, is not likely to appear in the film, Tiger Chen says that he has constantly been giving the production spiritual support. Apart from friendship, Keanu Reeves saw Tiger Chen’s potential, and decided to help realise Tiger Chen’s dreams.

Tiger Chen recollects Keanu Reeves as an extremely hardworking and dedicated perfectionist who’d train 7 days a week, though they only worked 6 days. Keanu Reeves’d push himself very hard, keep doing the moves repeatedly and reproach himself for not doing something good enough. Thus, he managed to pick up in a few months what that could have required many years of training.

While Tiger Chen taught Keanu Reeves kungfu, Keanu Reeves coached him English and acting. It happened inadvertently: while they were discussing the script, Keanu Reeves would think of a situation, and compelled Tiger Chen to act and react in a certain way, eventually paving way for Tiger Chen’s career in front of the silver screen.

Kungfu Hero will commence filming by end of this month. It will be shot on location in Yunnan, Ruili, Sanya, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The film is planned for release in summer 2010. Sina

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