The Chinese Benjamin Button
Tony Leung is 50 now!
That kinda just... it came up fast.
There was a time I wanted to marry Tony Leung. Most girls growing up in Hong Kong homes did. He was Hong Kong’s most popular television actor. He had just starred in a very popular tv series called Police Cadet. In Canada, back then, before they figured out how to watch everything illegally, we would wait and wait and wait for the video cassettes to arrive at the Chinatown rental shoppes. And then we’d have to wait and wait and wait on the wait list for the previous renters to return their tapes. He hasn’t changed at all, I swear to you. Police Cadet was made almost 30 years ago and he still looks the same.
This is Tony with Zhang Ziyi and director Wong Kar Wai at the Berlinale today (premiere and photo call) where Wong’s long-awaited The Grandmaster opened the festival. What is this, their 8th film together, Wong and Leung? Or more? The Grandmaster is about Ip Man, a kung fu master and Bruce Lee’s “sifu”. The Weinstein Company has acquired the film for English language territories distribution. It has already been released in Asia and is doing well. My ma and her friends saw it last week. (They have their ways.) They talked about it at dinner the other night. Not that their reviews mean much because, well, this was my ma’s feedback on In The Mood For Love, one of my favourite movies of all time and one of the greatest Chinese movies of all time:
It’s so slow and the movie should have been about all the clothes. I used to dress better than Maggie Cheung.
So on The Grandmaster, according to the Chinese mah-jong ladies, it’s “too arty” for a fight movie. I take this as a good sign. I take this as I’m going to love it. I already loved the trailer, but that has a lot to do with Tony’s voice. Listen to that voice. (Except when he sings. Let’s pretend that never happened.)
JOHANNES EISELE /Pascal Le Segretain /Getty