Wong Kar-wei's new film The Grandmaster chronicles the life of the kung fu master Ip Man in his flight to Hong Kong after the Second Sino-Japanese War. “Action scenes are almost like a love scene, without any motivation it becomes very boring so we need to have the motivation," the director told Uinterview in an exclusive video. "It’s not only the physical intensity it’s also the emotional intensity.”

The Grandmaster is played by Tony Leung, a martial arts novice. “He was 47. He never made a kung fu film before or had any training in martial arts, so when I propose him, I said you are going to play the master of Bruce Lee, you’re not going to act like you can fight. You have to actually practice, and he pulled it off very nicely. Working with Tony, you will always be surprised and he always can deliver more than you expected,” Kar-wai told Uinterview.

Interview by Erik Meers


Q: Hi Mr.Wong. I'm one of the few who has seen all three versions of your new film. While all three films are brilliant on creating a world where character choose the path for their life: that is either to move forward and lose everything or to stay back to preserve cultural value and fade away in time. I can't help but to feel that, like Ip Man and Gong Er from the film, none of the three versions present a complete vision of these character's stories. There are numerous differences among these three versions such as additional scenes and chronological change. My question to you Is there a possibility that you will you make a director's cut version for home releases with the additional scenes from international and US version included? Thank you. Warm regards, Sean - TNPS

Q: What was the most difficult scene for you to shoot? - Uinterview

I think the most difficult shoot was all the action scenes, especially the one the character Gong Er and Ip Man, they have a fight at a brothel. Actually this is the first time they meet each other, it's not just a fight scene, it's something that keeps these two persons connected for the rest of their life and basically there is both a physical aspect of this scene and an emotional part of it. We have to treat the actions almost like a dance that'€™s the trickiest things.

Q: What makes a great action sequence? - Uinterview

Action scenes are almost like a love scene, without any motivation it becomes very boring so we need to have the motivation. It’s not only the physical intensity it’s also the emotional intensity.

Q: What makes Tony Leung a great star for you ? - Uinterview

You can look at this film, He was 47 he never made a Kung Fu film before or had any training in martial arts. So when I propose him, I said you are going to play the master of Bruce Lee, you’re not going to act like you can fight you have to actually practice and he pulled it off very nicely. Working with Tony you will always be surprised and he always can deliver more than you expected.

Q: What’s been your greatest career highlight? - Uinterview

At the end of the shoot, The Grandmasters shot for three years, 22 months over three years — and the end of the shoot we went straight for 90 hours non-stop, for all the close-up and pickups [shots] and actually we can make it shorter but somehow we feel like it’s the end of a journey. We have 200 members on the crew and most of them is very young, for them it almost like an college and the end of the journey everyone is like we don’t know if we are going to do something like this again in the future, but it’s something we are very proud of and to me that’s one of the highlight of the career.