Mike Tyson has officially joined the cast of “Ip Man 3,” which was announced at a press conference in Shanghai on May 6, 2015 (photo of the conference above).
The $36 million film reunites the team that made the first 2 Ip Man movies, and is executive-produced by famous Chinese producer and entrepreneur Shi Jianxiang, founder and CEO of Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group.
Martial artist Donnie Yen, who will reprise his role as Ip Man in the third installment, exchanged gifts with Tyson on Wednesday’s press conference. Tyson gave a boxing glove to Yen, who in return gave a set of mook jongs, or wooden dummies used in martial arts training. Executive producer Shi also sent a sword to Tyson, wishing him a thriving film career in China.
“I liked reading martial arts novels when I was a little child, and have been fascinated with Kong Fu since then,” said Shi. “I think of myself as macho, generous and bold, just like those novel characters. After talking with Tyson, I also found him warm and loyal to friends. That’s why we swore to be brothers.”
Tyson said he’s a big fan of Ip Man and has watched the first 2 movies several times.
Ip Man (1893-1972) was a Chinese martial artist who popularized the practice of Wing Chun. One of his most famous pupils was Bruce Lee, who later developed his own discipline, Jeet Kune Do.
“Ip Man 3” focuses on the master-student relationship between Ip Man and Bruce Lee. But, according to Shi, the movie is more than that.
“The movie also conveys the spirit of emotion and justice,” said Shi. “This year marks the 70th anniversary of World War II, and the 110th of the founding of the Chinese film industry. I feel like I’m not only publishing a movie, but carrying forward the Chinese spirit as well.”
Tyson will play a significant role in “Ip Man 3,” as a property developer who also happens to be a street fighter. Per the press release, he will have some intense fighting scenes with Donnie Yen.
Shi hopes that the introduction of Tyson can further facilitate the cultural exchange between China and U.S., especially in the film industry.
The previous “Ip Man” movies grossed $37 million worldwide, and was a local sensation. Shi is therefore optimistic about the box office prospects of “Ip Man 3,” which is tentatively scheduled for release in 3D in the first quarter of 2016.