SAMMO HUNG STEPS IN FRONT OF THE SILVER SCREEN TO CHALLENGE DONNIE YEN IN IP MAN 2

Ip Man 2 

 At Ip Man pre-production press conference held on March 31, it’s announced that Ip Man 2 would commence filming officially in August 2009. Producer Raymond Wong and director Wilson Yip express confidence for the sequel which has a bigger budget – 100m yuan, saying that the sequel will be even more exciting.

 The sequel is set in 1949, right after Ip Man arrives in Hong Kong and is about how Ip Man introduces and propagates Wing Chun in the region, and taking in a few disciples. So, in terms of timeline, there won’t be Bruce Lee, and they hope that there would be Bruce Lee in Ip Man 3. While the initial plot outlines for both are done, they would not be shooting Ip Man 3, which would involve Bruce Lee, back to back with Ip Man 2 as previously intended, as they haven’t finalised negotiations with Bruce Lee descendants on the rights.

Above all, martial arts choreographer Sammo Hung – the mystery heavyweight actor mentioned before – will be playing a Hung Gar master in the sequel, and will again be going toe to toe – or rather, finger to finger as the case might be – with Donnie Yen since SPL. Sammo Hung says, “As boss didn’t pay me in the first, I wouldn’t appear in front of the screen. This time I’m getting paid, so I’ll be playing a role too.”

Upon his arrival in Hong Kong, Ip Man notices that the martial arts schools there operate like triads rather than true institutions of martial arts. To set things right, he starts his own school that teaches not just martial arts but also the right values. However, Wing Chun, as taught by Yip Man, is being viewed as kungfu meant only for girls, while Sammo Hung’s Hung Gar is being seen as a macho form of boxing, resulting in exchanges, conflicts and rivalry between the two, with major clash between the two screen titans being main highlight of the sequel.

 Fan Siu Wong and Lam Ka Tung will continue to reprise their roles in Ip Man 2. Lam Ka Tung’s Li Zhe will be enlisted in the police force once again in Hong Kong while Fan Siu Wong’s Jin Shan Zhao will turn over a new leaf and retire from the martial arts world (or more appropriately brigandage), becoming an ordinary citizen, and making friends with Yip Man.

With his latest 2 films, Painted Skin and Ip Man, ruling the roost at the box office, Donnie Yen, has become a “hot commodity”, and apart from a share of profits, is getting a substantial pay rise from 10m yuan to 15m yuan for Ip Man 2, says, “Ip Man is indeed my landmark production, this is the first time I’m getting nomination for Best Actor award. I’m grateful to the director, for giving me so much room, presenting an unseen side of Donnie Yen, and also broadening my acting career. It’s also very rare for a kungfu film to receive 12 nominations.

“I was even approached this year to be in a romance this year. However, I had to decline due to schedule conflicts. This year, I wish to challenge different roles, to go beyond the limits of my histrionics, so the characters I accept have to give the audience a different feel.

“Currently, I’ll be shooting 4 films this year: Dark October (Teddy Chan), Imperial Guard (Daniel Lee), Yip Man 2 (Wilson Ip), and another one – actually it’s two, but I have to make a choice between them. I’m still thinking over it, but I’ll definitely do one of them. If there are other scripts, they’d have to wait till next year.

“But my main focus is Ip Man 2, it’s still in scripting phase. His life undergoes tremendous changes in Hong Kong, and his mentality also changes as well but he still keeps a humble and low-profile life. But he will face more events.”

Meanwhile, Gordon Chan indicates that he’s still working on the film Chen Zhen and intends to invite Donnie Yen, who has given verbal agreement, to play the eponymous martyr, “We all know that Huo Yuan Jia has a disciple, his name and status, but no one knows exactly what kind of person he is.”  Sohu, Sina, Henan News

On a separate note, Taiwanese producer Yang Pei Pei has managed to secure the rights to making a 40-part TV version of Ip Man. It expects to begin production in September, and Yip Man’s sons Yip Chun and Yip Ching would serve as the consultants. The cast is not decided yet, though Yang Pei Pei, who’s after realistic martial arts scenes, is eying a martial arts actor, such as Zhao Wen Zhuo or Wu Jing.  EastDay

FRANKIE CHAN LEADS THE LADY WARRIORS OF YANG FAMILY TO XIXIA

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