John Woo puts career on the line with 'Red Cliff' blockbuster

Friday, June 27, 2008
Director John Woo, widely known here for his masterful "A Better Tomorrow" series and "The Killer," seemed deeply reluctant to take any chance in marketing his ambitious big-budget historical movie "Red Cliff."

At a press conference held on Wednesday in posh W Hotel in eastern Seoul, Woo led a traditional Korean ritual to invoke spirits. The ritual's single-handed purpose - a huge box-office success for "Red Cliff." The unprecedented marketing gesture illustrates the intensity of Woo's passion - and concerns - about the forthcoming movie, which cost $80 million to produce. What's more, "Red Cliff" is not a single movie; it's the first installment of a two-part series. The second installment will come out later this year.

"This movie is to realize my 18-year dream," John told reporters. "I was given generous opportunities to make films in Hollywood, but it seemed like Western people did not understand our culture accurately. This movie is part of my efforts to help them get a better picture of our culture and spirit." Woo went on to proclaim that "Red Cliff" is the most important film he has ever made.

The press conference was the world-first appearance of Woo and his star-studded cast members to the public. "Red Cliff" is set to be released on July 10 in Korea. The movie showcases the spectacle of grand-scale battles in autumn of 208 A.D. - a turbulent period of Chinese history that is featured in the popular historical novel, "The Romance of Three Kingdoms." The original novel is extremely popular with Korean readers, a plus for the film adaptation of the historical saga.

Among the main cast present at the press conference was Tony Leung, who plays Zhou Yu in "Red Cliff." He left an indelible impression with his impassioned role in "Lust, Caution." Asked about the traditional musical instrument he plays in the film, he said he found it difficulty to synchronize his hand gestures to the tune because he does not play it himself. When a seemingly ardent fan-cum-reporter asked about how he looks sexier, Leung smiled and replied that men become more mature as they get older, perhaps because life experiences add to the internal charm.

Chen Chang, who plays Sun Quan, said he felt a surge of excitement on the production site when he was filming. "When I put on the traditional clothes and got ready for shooting, I felt as if I'm actually in the very battlefield in that ancient era."

Wu Chin-cheng, also known as Takeshi Kaneshiro, said that he was not bothered by the absence of action scenes allocated for his role, Zhuge Liang, the paragon of a masterful war strategist. "I focused on sharpening my inner feelings that can be reflected on the screen, and watched other related films to add more depth to the character."

Lin Chiling, who makes a silver-screen debut with "Red Cliff," said she was under a lot of pressure in playing the role of Xiao Qiao, but she found the character intriguing and attractive. "Xiao Qiao is realistic and relies on her husband to see the world, but she is, at heart, very passionate about peace, which I hope will be relayed to the audience," she said.

The movie, showing off a number of massive battles and numerous extras, builds up necessary dramatic tension and provides a basic storyline right before the make-or-break battle at the Red Cliff starts. The full-scale battle at the cliff will play out in the second installment, to be released around the winter season.

By Yang Sung-jin
Article taken from AsianFanatics

Tony Leung & Carina Lau to Tie the Knot

Thursday, June 19, 2008
PETALING JAYA: Finally, long-time Hong Kong showbiz couple Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Carina Lau Ka Ling are tying the knot in a big way. News has leaked that the couple’s wedding will cost them well over HK10mil (RM4.4mil) reports China Press and Nanyang Siang Pau.

This is said to include a 38-table wedding dinner (RM456,000), a 38-table wine party (RM45,600), a HK50,000 per night (RM25,000) presidential suite for a week, wedding cakes and invites worth HK200,000 (RM82,000), a dowry of HK1mil (RM410,000), a diamond ring worth HK2mil (RM850,000) and a honeymoon in Europe costing HK300,000 (RM123,000).

Some 10 years ago, Leung was reportedly advised by fortune-tellers not to tie the knot or have any children before the age of 46 for fear of poor health and bad luck. Leung turns 46 on June 27. Lau, believed to be four months pregnant, will turn 43 in December. The pair have been together since 1989 and their wedding is expected to be held at the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong sometime in October.

Lau makes millions in product endorsements every year and is still a stunning beauty. Just last year, it was reported that Lau was being courted by Taiwanese tycoons Terry Gou and Jack Sun. Before she hooked up with Leung, Lau was engaged to Hong Kong tycoon Hui Chun Hung.
Then rumours abounded that the long-time couple secretly married after Lau was named best actress at China’s Golden Rooster Awards last year while a fellow actor revealed that they had already applied for a marriage licence.

The Suzhou-born beauty showed off her wedding ring to the Chinese media during a visit to China in April and announced her marriage to Cannes best actor Leung. The happy couple were pictured together while on a working holiday to France for the 61st Cannes Film Festival late last month.

Leung is currently busy with promotional activities for John Woo’s war epic Red Cliff and is set to play Bruce Lee’s martial arts master Ip Man in Hong Kong art house director Wong Kar-Wai’s biopic.
By Seto Kit Yan
Wow, so it was the fortune teller who "delays" the wedding all this time? What about the article of him and his marriage phobia? I guess we should all be skeptical when reading stars' reports. Anyway, I cannot wait to see his grand wedding and grand production Red Cliff!!!

Catch Me Now: Idy Chan's Last Series?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
After 14 years of hiatus, Idy Chan had made a comeback to the small screen due to the persuasion of her latest co-star Damian Lau. Catch Me Now has an interesting plot and was able to garner satisfactory ratings when it was aired just a few weeks ago. However, it might be the last series of Idy for us fans for quite a while. Due to various news articles, it appears that Idy will leave it to fate whether she'll film another series. She has no interest in staying in the limelight but aims for the tranquil and meaningful life doing charity. Ever since Catch Me Now was aired, she was forever absent in all of the promotion and rating celebratory events. Damian talked her into coming back for Catch but I highly doubt that he can persuade her to stay for more...

I am currently watching Catch and it is a fairly enjoyable series so far. Idy looks pretty in the series with nice outfits. She really knows how to dress beautifully onscreen compare to how casual she is offscreen. Unlike some negative comments from the youngsters, I thought she acts great so far. After 14 years out of showbiz, being able to show convincing emotions speak for her natural acting talent. Take one scene for example. Her husband used dirty trick to take the custody away from her and she went to negotiate with him. Damian winked at her and she turned around and slapped the husband. I could see the shock on her face because even she was amazed at what she just did. Being a kind woman and an obedient housewife, this action was so new to her. I totally love the look on her face at that time. She just looked so cute!

I have read many good comments on the series and I'm so glad that her first comeback was a success. After the filming wrapped up, I prayed that TVB would air the series and not warehouse it. When they decided to air the series, I prayed it would attract the audience. I was so happy to read the ratings report everyweek and see that Catch could stay in the top spot with more than 30 points average. The final week even peaked at 38 points. It is more than I could ask for. Now if she can film another series, and then another... I'm so greedy. ^___^
Catch Me Now Ratings:
Week 1: 31 pts
Week 2: 32
Week 3: 32
Week 4: 33 (highest at 38)

Image: TVB
Credits to A5News and AsianFanatics