The buzz is growing, especially after some posters were unveiled in Hong Kong at the FilMART and film festival happening right now. Lots of people talking about it, and the film is being hyped as a new style (or even breakthrough) in the Asian fantasy genre. To say that the film is a remake of the 80s film by King Hu might not be totally accurate — for one, a lot of time has passed since the 1980s, and what you can do on film is much different. One report says that a major difference is replacing the gentle Jiangnan scenery (hills, lakes, villages, Eastern China) with more rugged Western vistas (they filmed part of the movie in the Hengdian studios in Zhejiang, where all the huge sets are, but also filmed some of it in Ningxia province in the northwest of China, where there is PLENTY of mountain and desert). What’s for sure is that they really did get the creme de la creme for this new one, with Zhao Wei, Donnie Yen, Zhou Xun (as the female ghost), and Chen Kun among others in the cast. The director is Gordon Chan (replacing Wilson Yip … and we don’t know why).
The cast and crew have been uber-secretive about the film, and we gather that whatever posters or other things are being shown at FilMART are just the tip of the iceberg. The film’s not even done, apparently — they’re still in post, but from the reports we’ve read it seems that the film ought to be ready for the next Cannes Film Festival, where it will go head to head against another Chinese film — John Woo’s Red Cliff.
In the process of finding information for this post we came across some links that you might interesting, especially if Zhou Xun gives you that warm tingly feeling in your special region, like it does to my friend. Here’s some English blog dedicated to Zhou Xun, and this another English blog posting from February, where they are talking about the cold, rainy weather in Hengdian, where they shot most of the interior scenes and wrapped principal shooting.