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Wong Kar-Wai Considering 'The Grandmaster' Sequel, Film Shortened By 15 Minutes For International Release

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by Kevin Jagernauth
February 3, 2013 2:11 PM
2 Comments
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While Wong Kar-Wai's films have by and large been critically acclaimed, and beloved among cinephiles, they haven't exactly broken down the doors at the box office. But that seems to be changing with "The Grandmaster." The picture, which is now open in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, is reportedly his most commercially successful effort yet. And it looks like the helmer may continue the saga of Ip Man.

The Oriental Daily (via WongKarWai) reports that distributors for "The Grandmaster" want a sequel, and that Wong Kar-Wai "is considering" taking it on. However, he may have a bit of a stumbling block if indeed he wants to push forward. His leading man and longtime collaborator Tony Leung, isn't interested. While there have been rumors the two had a bit of a falling out during the lengthy three-year production on the movie, they have been gamely doing press together, and Leung simply says he wants a change of scenery.

“I want to try new things. I like staying fresh. If I do the same things over and over again, it won’t be fun,” he explained. And one can certainly understand why after spending so much time on this movie and character, he might not be interested in doing it again. That said, Wong Kar-Wai's film covers Ip Man's life up until, roughly, the 1950s, but he died in 1972, so theoretically there are still two more decades to cover, up until his death from throat cancer, including his mentorship of Bruce Lee).

Meanwhile, there are changes being made to "The Grandmaster" itself. THR reports that the movie has been cut by 15 minutes for its international release, as it gears up to screen for European journalists in Paris this week. The director heads to Germany to preside over the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival starting on Thursday, where the movie will also screen. He has apparently hinted at a longer director's cut eventually being released later, but it's a bit of bummer we'll be getting a shortened version. We'd wager this will make the movie an easier sell for distributors by getting the runtime under two hours, but it's nothing we want to see happen.

"The Grandmaster" still awaits a U.S. distributor and release date, but until then, watch the trailer below.

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2 Comments

  • The Fanciful Norwegian | February 3, 2013 6:18 PMReply

    Days of Being Wild, Ashes of Time, Chungking Express, Happy Together, 2046 and My Blueberry Nights were all recut by Wong after their premieres, usually to make them shorter (though Chungking Express and 2046 got a bit longer). It's just that Wong's films from Happy Together onward have typically premiered at festivals, so the first cuts don't get commercial screenings and the changes aren't well-publicized; The Grandmaster broke this pattern. I find it extremely unlikely that Wong is trimming The Grandmaster for the sake of foreign distributors, particularly since the film has already been presold just about everywhere. He's just an inveterate tinkerer.

  • Kevin | February 3, 2013 7:10 PM

    Agreed. I'm a bit uneasy about this film, cowritten by a couple of screenwriters. Wong is very underrated for his writing (he started out as a writer after all). _My Blueberry Nights_ was his first film with someone other than himself credited with writing, and it was unnecessary verbose and deferential to the script. We'll see what happens ...

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