Rain of Swords in the Pugilistic World 

《剑雨江湖》 Rain of Swords in the Pugilistic World (tentative), co-produced by Lion Rock, Beijing Galloping Horse, Media Asia Films, began production on Nov 3 on Songjiang Soundstage, Shanghai. Attending the lensing ceremony were the producers John Woo, Terence Chang, Peter Lam, Zhong Li Fang, the director Su Chao Bin, and the cast Michelle Yeoh, Jung Woo Sung, Big S Barbie Hsu, Paw Hee Ching, Wang Xue Qi, Shawn Yue.

Rain of Swords in the Pugilistic World, said to be fashioned after Gu Long, is a suspense wuxia film that combines physical and mental rivalry. It’s a cross between China’s Bian Lian and Hollywood’s Mr and Mrs Smith.

John Woo says he has always been waiting for an opportunity to work with Michelle Yeoh, whom he admires greatly and that this is his favourite wuxia script in the recent years, “Su Chao Bin is not writing just wuxia, but also an exalted state of being, it has a very strong sense of personal characteristics.”

This is Su Chao Bin‘s first wuxia film and he finds the action scenes much more difficult to handle than he had imagined. But he adds that they have a capable martial arts director Stephen Tung Wai, so he’s not too worried.

Rain of Swords in the Pugilistic World traces the love story between a retiring assassin Michelle Yeoh and a messenger Jung Woo Sung, whose father was killed by her former organisation. Michelle Yeoh doesn’t know that Jung Woo Sung is well versed in martial arts. As their relationship develops, their pasts come to light gradually…

Meanwhile, Wang Xue Qi discovers Michelle Yeoh’s whereabouts and sends assassins Barbie Hsu, Shawn Yue, etc after her, to retrieve a certain artifact that holds the secrets to some peerless martial arts.

Michelle Yeoh says that she looks forward playing a swordswoman again after 10 years and has always wanted to collaborate with John Woo. “This is my first period wuxia film since Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, so I have a bit of pressure. But I look forward to the action scenes.”

She is more cryptic on her role, “Very complex, hard to say. Is she good or bad? Watch the movie to find out.”

Jung Woo Sung describes his character as lovable but a little foolish. He has been training under the wushu coaches and finds the action here to be different from Korean films.

Paw Hee Ching describes her character as an old lady who sells beancurd, “I have a very important mission here, to help bring Michelle Yeoh and Jung Woo Sung together.”

Barbie Hsu introduces her character as the one of the two female assassins – the other being her senior Michelle Yeoh – under Wang Xue Qi, with whom she shares a fuzzy relation. She isn’t all that mean, is someone who traverses between orthodox and unorthodox path. The only flaw she has is her weakness for men, “And as a result, my ending is very tragic. This is something I’d want to ask producer John Woo, why give me such a tragic character.”

John Woo smiles, “When I was in Taiwan promoting Red Cliff, your sister ‘Little S’ gave me a very miserable time.”

Barbie Hsu protests, “But producer, that has nothing to do with me, it wasn’t my fault.”

Wang Xue Qi plays a mysterious martial arts exponent who is Barbie Hsu’s mentor and leader, “This character is very special. When he’s in good mood, he’ll play the good guy. When he’s in foul mood, he’ll do nasty things.”

Shawn Yue is the main villain here as an assassin, and a master noodle chef, “During the daytime, he’s a very nice person, and cooks very well. At night, he knows how to make money.”

In addition, Kelly Lin, Chang Chen, Guo Xiao Dong, Pace Wu would also be joining this production.

Rain of Swords in the Pugilistic World would move location to Hengdian and Taiwan later, before wrapping up in February 2010. It is due for release in around summer 2010 or later.  Sina, New Express Daily

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