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Assassins wraps weather-hit China shoot
By Patrick Frater
Tue, 09 March 2010, 12:12 PM (HKT)
Principal photography was completed on Friday 27 Feb on Reign of Assassins (劍雨江湖) (aka Jianyu Jianghu and previously known as Reign of Swords). One of the most anticipated Chinese-language films of the year, Assassins is also typical of the new breed of Greater China co-productions now being made in Asia.
The picture (see exclusive photos) which boasts John Woo (吳宇森) as producer and supervising director working with Taiwan's Su Chao-pin (蘇照彬) as director, is a period actioner that tells the story of a female assassin who falls in love with a man whose family member was killed by her gang. Unaware that he is also a trained martial artist, tensions begin to creep in to their relationship. The cast is headed by Michelle Yeoh (楊紫瓊) and South Korea's Jung Woo-sung (정우성).
The crew will move to Taiwan at the end of March for a couple of remaining key scenes. "We will be applying for Taiwanese government subsidy as the writer/director Su Chao-pin, as well as two investors, four executive producers and six major actors in the film are Taiwanese," producer Terence Chang (張家振) told Film Business Asia. "We are also using a Taiwanese lab and most of the post-production will be done in Taiwan."
Production and finance come from China's Galloping Horse (北京小馬奔騰影視文化發展有限公司), Hong Kong's Media Asia (寰亞電影有限公司) and Taiwanese companies Gamania (遊戲橘子數位科技股份有限公司) and Lumiere (盧米埃電影股份有限公司). The budget is unofficially pegged at $12 million.
Gamania is expected tomorrow to use its annual press conference to announce details of an online game that it will release at about the same time as the movie.
The supporting cast is a starry group including: Barbie Hsu (徐熙媛, Hot Summer Days 全城熱戀), Wang Xueqi (王學圻, Bodyguards & Assassins 十月圍城), Shawn Yue (余文樂, Infernal Affairs 無間道), Kelly Lin (林熙蕾, Sparrow 文雀), Guo Xiaodong (郭曉冬, Summer Palace 頤和園), Jiang Yiyan (江一燕, City of Life and Death 南京!南京!), Pau Hei-ching (鮑起靜, The Way We Are 天水圍的日與夜), Leon Dai (戴立忍, No puedo vivir sin ti 不能沒有你) and John Woo's daughter Angeles Woo (吳飛霞).
Technical credits are also impressive with Horace Wong (黃永恆, A Better Tomorrow 英雄本色, Hard-Boiled 辣手神探, The Myth 神話) as cinematographer, Japanese Oscar-winner Wada Emi (和田惠美) as costume designer, Stephen Tung (董瑋, Scooby Doo, Bodyguards & Assassins) as action choreographer, Cheung Ka-fai (張嘉輝, Ip Man 葉問, SPL 殺破狼, Shinjuku Incident 新宿事件) as editor and Peter Kam (金培達, Isabella 伊莎貝拉, The Warlords 投名狀, Bodyguards & Assassins) as music composer.
Production started in Shanghai before moving to the World Studios complex at Hengdian in the second month. Heavy rains meant that production went over-schedule and that a huge outdoor temple set had to be moved indoors to avoid further weather delays.
Chang reports that Woo was on set most of the time and spent "more than a week directing a fight scene which featured his daughter Angeles as a ruthless assassin."
International sales are split between Media Asia and indie sales house Fortissimo Films.
Within Asia, Media Asia licensed the film to Clover Films (for Singapore and Malaysia), P.T. Teguh Bakti Mandiri (Indonesia), Sahamongkolfilm (สหมงคลฟิล์ม, Thailand) and Galaxy Studio JSC (Vietnam).
Outside the region Fortissimo reports deals to date with Film Depot (for Russia, the CIS region, and the Baltics), Boogui Cinema (부귀영화, South Korea), Falcon Films (Middle East) Lusomundo Film & TV (Portugal), Vision Film (Poland), United King Films (Israel) and Lions Gate Pictures UK (United Kingdom).