Yip Man Press Conference
Press conference marking the inauguration of 40m yuan kungfu biopic “Yip Man” was held in Foshan at the Hall of Yip Man on Feb 26 afternoon. “Yip Man” is directed by Wilson Yip, produced by Mandarin Films. Sammo Hung will be the the martial arts director. The cast includes Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung, Simon Yam, Lam Ka Tung. Yip Man’s two sons and several Wing Chun practitioners also turned up to show their support.
The event kicked off with a lion dance performance as well as Donnie Yen performing a Wing Chun training routine on the wooden dummy. “Yip Man” begins production in March, and is expected to wrap up in June. 90% of the film will focus on events surrounding Yip Man that took place in Foshan between the 1930s to 1940s. Unfortunately, the buildings in today’s Foshan are architecturally different from the past, so they’d shoot in Shanghai instead.
Donnie Yen, who will be playing the Yip Man, says, “As Yip Man was not only a great master of his times but also the mentor of my idol Bruce Lee, I have never encountered any role that has brought me greater pressure or challenge than this. While I have been training in Wing Chun for 2 months, I don’t think I’m qualified to say that I truly understand Wing Chun. A few months of training won’t be sufficient to be able to propagate its essence. But I’ll rely on my foundation in martial arts and my hard work to promote Wing Chun, to let more people know about Wing Chun, about Yip Man.”
Wilson Yip adds, “To Donnie Yen, his biggest achievement lies in playing a true historical figure, unlike fictitious characters he had been doing in the past. So, he’d have to try his best to understand the thoughts of Yip Man, to be him, and to fit in within the past. So, he’s often under some stress.”
Donnie Yen says he’d do his utmost to portray this great master, his wushu cultivation, his inner worlds. Donnie Yen has been having meals with Yip Man’s son Yip Chun, who’s the film’s consultant, enquiring about Yip Man’s daily life, habits and his relations with his disciple Bruce Lee. He has also arrived at Foshan earlier in order to conduct surveys on Yip Man’s hometown, to better understand the cultures in Yip Man’s times. In Donnie Yen’s mind, Yip Man was a scholar, a very low-profile person, and one who is very unassuming.
“I hope that this will not be a pure kungfu film, but one with warmth and affections.” says Wilson Yip. Yip Man’s family will be one of the main themes in the film. Lynn Hung plays Yip Man’s wife, one who supports her husband’s career in wushu initially. However, later on, she becomes upset at her husband for neglecting his kids.
On why Donnie Yen’s not both action directing and acting this time, Wilson Yip says, “We hope that he has more time on his role, and that he can fight with more ease. The pressure will be much bigger when you have to direct and act simultaneously.”
Donnie Yen is not the least bit worried about clashing with Wong Kar Wai’s version of Yip Man starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai, “Everyone would want to adapt successful materials. While I might not be as polished as Tony Leung in terms of acting, I’m now fully immersed in Ip Man’s world, so I still have confidence in myself.”
Sammo Hung says that the material sparks his interest greatly, for it’s a form of pursuits of wushu, of beliefs of life. However, he’d only be the martial arts director, “My role is to shoot the martial arts scenes, I won’t be acting.” On being asked how he’d work with Donnie Yen to direct the action scenes, Sammo Hung replies matter-of-factly, “With my mouth.”
When being asked about what kind of moves will be shown in the film, Sammo Hung rebuts, “It’s not something I’d be able to say clearly, to the uninitiated, action films are nothing more than you give me a punch, I give you a kick. It’s very hard to explain in words. Why don’t you spar with me?” Subsequently, he smiled, saying that he won’t promote himself, adding that it is the approach – the way the moves are handled – that sets one film apart from the other. Nanfang Daily, Information Times, New Express Daily, Sina | Photos: XinhuaNet, Sc168.com