Speaking to the press, Wu Jing says that it’s not until after being a director did he understand the constraints and difficulties faced when doing martial arts films due to budget. However, he is not giving himself pressure regarding the film’s box office takings, and he has no intention of seeking overnight fame through Legendary Assassin. He leaves the criticisms to the audience, and wishes to see how far he can go with this step.
While Paco Wong had told him not to worry about budget, being his first film as the director, Wu Jing was still very conservative about spending, “I’m envious of the massive funds behind Hollywood films, for us, we have to rely on our brains.”
There’s a rainy scene in Legendary Assassin whereby Wu Jing gets knocked down by a vehicle. The co-director Nicky Li’s driving skill is quite good and Wu Jing decided to save on the money for stunt driver and the vehicle, “How about you driving and knocking me down?”
And so, they used the van used by the production for transporting props, and in the end, its front got slightly dented, and HK$2000 was spent on repair.
Playing a female cop, Celina Jade has a subtle, romantic relationship with Wu Jing as well as some fight scenes. To prepare her for the role, Wu Jing trained her for a month. Wu Jing is pretty happy about newcomer Celina Jade’s performance, saying that she can get Best Newcomer Award while Celina Jade also praises Wu Jing for excellent martial arts and acting skills.
Rather than reducing risks, Wu Jing, who also had a hand in the choreography of the martial arts sequences, actually increased the amount and stakes of action scenes in the film, “My face, my body, my head, my back, every hit that lands are for real,” with the worst injury he had on the set being a severe tearing of intercostal muscles.
One main theme in Legendary Assassin is perseverance – a man, in order to rescue the girl he loves, would rather be beaten to death than giving up, culminating in a gargantuan one against hundred battle. This is Wu Jing’s attitude towards martial arts films, “No matter how difficult it is, I’ll continue fighting for it throughout my life.”
However, nowadays, the chance to do kungfu films is getting slimmer, “When filming Twins Mission, I crashed through the glass and jumped off a building. Doing just once was not good enough, so, I wanted to do it again, but the martial arts director refused, ‘Have you any idea how much money it costs?'”
Wu Jing feels that if an action star doesn’t even get the opportunity to train, to experience, to display their skills, death knell would be tolling for kungfu films.
While Wu Jing is quite fond of Kung Fu Panda, he is also having a mixed-bag reaction, as it means the foreigners taking the lead in yet one more area in martial arts films. Wu Jing says that he still wishes to direct two films independently to fulfill his dreams of being a director, “One is a period film, one is a modern film. Another film I’m doing will have some futuristic elements. I would fight against CGI opponents. If it could be realised, it might be more famous than Kung Fu Panda.” Yangcheng Evenng News, Guangdong Express