INTERVIEW: Show Them You're a Tiger! Lee, Schamus and Yeoh Elucidate the "Dragon"
by Anthony Kaufman
(indieWIRE/ 12.7.00) — It starts tomorrow. Hold on to your hats, because subtitled-films may never be the same. Taiwanese director Ang Lee has outdone himself with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” a martial arts epic that straddles the line between mainstream entertainment and psychological melodrama like never a film before it. While his last collaboration with screenwriter-producer James Schamus — the Civil War adventure-drama “Ride with the Devil” — approached the same balance of action and poetry, it is the breathtaking visual set-pieces of “Crouching Tiger” that will likely send the latter film into the “shopping malls,” as the director himself wishes. Starring Asian stars Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, dazzling newcomer Zhang Yiyi and perhaps the biggest attraction, the work of “The Matrix‘s” fight choreographer Yuen Wo-Ping, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is poised to crack open the foreign language market, with the help of distributor Sony Classics, who confirmed the release to be their biggest New York opening ever.
All this is a long way off from “The Wedding Banquet” and “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman,” Ang Lee’s well-crafted and low-budget first independent films. But the director remains the same quiet, shy sort, even as the paparazzi’s flashbulbs popped around at him at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Whatever amount of awesome confidence and master craftsman lies inside Ang Lee’s person, on the outside, you’d only ever see a humble man who is quietly realizing his dreams.
During a series of interviews in Cannes with indieWIRE’s Anthony Kaufman and other members of the world press, Ang Lee, Maggie Yeoh and James Schamus spoke about different aspects of the production of “Crouching Tiger,” from the famous bamboo forest sequence, balancing action with acting, feminism and the challenges of writing the script in English and Chinese.
THREE CONVERSATIONS about “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”