Being set in an imaginary ancient kingdom, Emi Wada created the costumes for Rain of Swords in the Pugilistic World with Ming Dynasty clothing in mind, yet infused them with a modern touch, such as the patchwork for a Michelle Yeoh’s outfit. To reflect a more rustic, everyday feel, the clothes were made of hemp, and intentionally left creased.
John Woo, who is developing another wuxia script on a youth’s relentless pursuits of a higher realm, with emphasis on realism, introduces, “Apart from aesthetic action scenes, there are plenty of mysteries in the film to engage the audience in a battle of wits, this is a new attempt. Wuxia films these days are too predictable, you know from the outset what the ending will be, so what matters most is the final blow.
“But by incorporating some suspense elements, this film is presenting something different, the key factor being involving the audience, giving them a sense of participation, to try guessing what happens next, to outsmart the director, but actually, this still is a movie on relationships of love.”
And in the complex world, it appears that a number of characters have a different side, such as assassin Michelle Yeoh, to live a quiet live, undergoes a facial surgery, but her past keeps haunting her, until she finds her true love, yet this love still has many trials to face
Michelle Yeoh is particularly happy about her role, “It has been so many years since I have such thrilling fights. While being suspended up in the air on wires is a major hurdle to me, once filming began, I was totally engrossed, being completely focused. It’s after the director shouts ‘Cut!’ that I became cognizant of my acrophobia again and clamoured to lowered to the ground.
“What makes this film special is that it doesn’t have what you could call good or bad guys, they are just doing certain things, without a change in their directions, isn’t that how life is? We’re challenging modern conventions with this film.”
This is echoed by 46th Golden Horse Awards Best Supporting Actor winner (Forever Enthralled), Wang Xue Qi, who, having a fair bit of action as the leader of The Black Stone, would, as one in the habit of maintaining a regular workout, do his best handle his own stunts, “There are no villains in this film, everyone’s pursuits are different, and the ways in which they pursue their goals are also different, losing this or that in the process.”
Barbie Hsu jests that the director Su Chao Bin understands very well that she is a masochist, “When filming Silk, the director felt that he had not tormented me enough, so this time, he has come up with new ways to torture me, I have to fight, and be a naive, romantic assassin.
“He is a very talented director who writes his own script, I find his works to be very fantastic yet at the same time convincing. I like the fact that he is able to look at another world at another mental level, yet is able to blend this into reality to convince the audience.
“When filming, he is very purposeful and his instructions are very clear, so both our two collaborations have been very laidback, for he won’t leave you bewildered as to what he wants. This work is fulfilling, with multiple elements, bearing his trademark style, there are many complex clues strewn about, yet there is just one great ending.”
On her role as an assassin, Barbie Hsu explains, “In her heart, she sees killing as a matter of course, and is also her inborn talent, and she doesn’t have any kind of inhibitions or moral values, be it killing or propriety, there is no right or wrong to her.
“When I was filming On His Majesty’s Secret Service, the action director told me, when shooting an action scene, treat it like dancing, just remember the steps and rhythm. But I retorted, I would be very apprehensive, I feared being hit, and hitting people. If I didn’t use sufficient strength, the effect wouldn’t be there. I was very conflicted. I fear doing fighting scenes, especially when fighting with weapon, it’s easy to wound the other party if you weren’t precise enough.” Sina