Cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd expected to work for six months on director Wong Kar Wai’s epic martial arts actioner The Grandmaster, but it ended up being a 3-year job. “Making The Grandmaster was a challenge,” he said. “It was a big journey, and I didn’t expect it to take so long.” Remarkably, this year’s Oscar nominations for Best Achievement in Cinematography and Costume Design were the first ever for the grandmaster himself, Wong, who has been directing films since 1988 and is internationally acclaimed. So when the director asked Le Sourd to come to China and work on his film, the New York-based DP said yes, but when he got to the set, he was faced with many challenges. “To come in as a foreigner to China when you don’t speak the language … I needed a translator on the set to try to understand what was going on,” he said. “The fact that you don’t have a script and you don’t know when you’re going to see the movie. that was an amazing challenge because you don’t know what you’re going to do the next day or the next week. Every day was a surprise.” It was no surprise that his work not only earned him his first Oscar nom but also a nominations from his …
In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione talks with host David Bloom about which overseas titles survived the largest-ever field of candidates to nab an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, and one notable director who was left out once again; the flood of announcements that are finally bringing this year’s Berlin Film Festival into focus, including the latest film by Richard Linklater; and red-hot director Justin Lin’s new Chinese-language, 3D blockbuster of a remake.
They also take their weekly look at the global box office, marked this time around by one of Walter Mitty’s biggest dreams, or at least that of his producers; Jack Ryan’s Chinese debut; and The Wolf of Wall Street, set loose in Europe’s box offices.
EXCLUSIVE: It is hard to believe, at least from my point of view, that the great Wong Kar Wai, perhaps China’s greatest living filmmaker has never once been nominated for an Academy Award. In fact, incredibly, his latest film The Grandmaster is only the second time one of his films has even been submitted in Oscar’s foreign language film race (the first was in 2000 for the classic, In The Mood For Love but for some reason it didn’t make the final five). Hopefully the Academy will rectify the oversight as Grandmaster, the director’s first true venture into the world of cinematic martial arts, is one of the nine finalists in the Academy process that will lead to the choice of the five 2013 nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. In fact that process is underway this weekend as a panel of 20 high profile Academy members in Los Angeles and 10 more in New York are viewing all the movies and will make their selections. The final five will be announced with other Oscar nominees on Thursday. The film was nominated for an ASC Cinematography award earlier this week for its stunning visuals. I had the rare opportunity to interview the director for the Palm Springs International Film Festival‘s Talking Pictures series last weekend where he revealed he shot the movie on film. Remember that? But he knew the end was near and his …
Catch up on Deadline’s top film stories you missed this week:
‘Lawrence Of Arabia’s Peter O’Toole Dead At 81 – 8-Time Oscar Nominee Retired Last Year
By Anita Busch and Jen Yamato – Oscar-nominated actor Peter O’Toole died yesterday, his agent confirmed Sunday. He was 81. Often called the Hamlet of his generation, his death comes only about a year after retiring from a 54-year career in both stage and film highlighted by his turn as T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia, which won seven Oscars including Best Picture.
Peter O’Toole’s Long And Frustrating Half-Century Dance With Oscar: “Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride”
By Pete Hammond – There is no doubt Peter O’Toole was one of the greatest actors the movies have ever seen. Since coming into major international stardom with his dazzling turn in Lawrence Of Arabia, O’Toole compiled a group of brilliant performances over the past half century that are second to none. But he also holds another distinction.
BOX OFFICE: Weather Impacts BO But Attendance Up Overall Year to Date, ‘The Hobbit’ Lighter But Strong, ‘Frozen’ Steals ‘Madea’s Christmas’ As ‘American Hustle’ Kicks It On Six Screens
By Anita Busch – The severe weather across the nation – winter storms across 23 states and 100 million people – also impacted the nation’s box office this weekend. It seems to have affected the older pictures most.
As one of the maestros of modern cinema, Wong Kar Wai’s return to the martial arts genre this year after two decades was — as you would expect from the director of Chungking Express and In The Mood For Love – a sight to behold. His first new film since his 2007 English-language debut My Blueberry Nights, The Grandmaster takes viewers to 1930s China and inside the life and legacy of Ip Man, the kung fu teacher who, among other things, was Bruce Lee’s trainer. Distributed stateside by The Weinstein Company with a supportive Martin Scorsese Presents in the title, Grandmaster, which is now also available on VOD and Digital HD downloads, has made nearly $6.6 million domestically since it came out in late August. With a worldwide total of $64 million so far, it has become the most successful picture of Wong’s 25-year directorial career. This year, working with leading man Tony Leung for a seventh time, the director is also aiming for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar with the epic as the official submission from Hong Kong. Amazingly, the director has never been nominated for an Oscar and this is only the second time one of Wong’s films has even been submitted for the Academy Awards; In The Mood For Love was HK’s entry in 2000 though it did not receive a nomination. Before the …
Golden Horse Awards: Singapore Oscar Entry ‘Ilo Ilo,’ Wong Kar-Wai’s ‘The Grandmaster’ Win 2013 Honors
Singapore’s Best Foreign Oscar hopeful Ilo Ilo took home top honors at the 50th Golden Horse Awards, where the Cannes Camera d’Or winner also nabbed Best New Director (Anthony Chen), Best Supporting Actress (YEO Yann Yann), and Best Original Screenplay. The drama acquired by Film Movement is primed for an early 2014 theatrical release. Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster nabbed Best Actress (Zhang Ziyi), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Makeup/Costumes, and Best Visual Effects. The martial arts biographical drama, released by TWC stateside, also won the Audience Award while Jackie Chan and his CZ12 team took home kudos for Best Action Choreography. Scroll down for full winners:
EXCLUSIVE: Martin Scorsese is lending his support to the upcoming Weinstein Company release of The Grandmaster, the film directed by Wong Kar Wai. Scorsese will lend his name in presentation of the kung fu film, and above the line it will read Martin Scorsese Presents The Grandmaster when TWC releases the film theatrically in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto on August 23 and nationwide on August 30. Wong has directed such films as Chungking Express, 2046 and My Blueberry Nights, and The Grandmaster stars Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, and Chang Chen and is executive produced by Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison. The film opened the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. “Wong Kar Wai has turned martial arts into a modern dance,” Scorsese said.
If Metallica can rock Comic-Con, why not Wong Kar Wai? The Weinstein Co. is bringing the director to the annual San Diego pop culture confab for promo duties and to host the first US screening of the pic about martial arts legend Ip Man, which TWC snapped up hours before it opened the Berlin International Film Festival. Tony Leung stars in The Grandmaster as the man whose exploits include famously training a young Bruce Lee. Wong co-wrote the actioner, whose exec producers include Megan Ellison of Annapurra Pictures. Your fight coordinator is Yuen Woo-ping (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Matrix, Drunken Master), which means plenty of high-speed and slo-mo action. Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen and Zhao Benshaw co-star in the pic, which smashes its way into theaters August 23. TWC’s Comic-Con premiere is set for Saturday July 20th at midnight at the Reading Gaslamp 15. Here’s the new trailer:
The Berlin Film Festival has rounded out the panel of judges who will hand out Golden and Silver Bears next month. Wong Kar Wai is jury president this year and his The Grandmaster officially opens the festival out of competition on February 7. Joining him on the jury are actor/director Tim Robbins whose Dead Man Walking was a Berlin contender in 1996; Danish director Susanne Bier; German director Andreas Dresen, a Silver Bear winner for Grill Point in 2002; American director and cinematographer Ellen Kuras; Iranian-born director and artist Shirin Neshat and Greek director and producer Athina Rachel Tsangari. Among the titles vying for prizes in Berlin are Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain, Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects, David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche and Bruno Dumont’s Camille Claudel 1915. Coincidentally, Dumont also had a film in the running in Cannes in 2006 when Wong was jury president there, and that picture, Flandres, won the Grand Prize that year. The Berlin fest runs from February 7-17.
The Grandmaster is an epic martial arts drama set against the tumultuous backdrop of 1930’s China and inspired by the life and times of the legendary IP Man (Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai), mentor to Bruce LEE. The plot encompasses themes of war, family, revenge, desire, love, and memory. The all-star cast headed by Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai (Days of Being Wild – Berlinale Forum 1991, Chungking Express, Happy Together, In The Mood for Love, 2046, all directed by WONG Kar Wai), also includes Ziyi ZHANG (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, D: Ang Lee), who was a guest at the 2009 Berlinale Competition with Forever Enthralled (D: CHEN Kaige), CHANG Chen (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon; Eros, D: WONG Kar Wai), ZHAO Benshan (Happy Times, D: ZHANG Yimou), XIAO Shengyang (A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, D: ZHANG Yimou – Berlinale Competition 2010) and SONG Hye Kyo (A Reason to Live, D: LEE Jeong-hyang), as well as hundreds of Asia’s top martial artists.