So it was a joy on Thursday to traipse down the stairs to the beach buffet to join Ang Lee and his partner James Schamus and their actors to talk about Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
The character-driven, action fantasy is the hit of the festival and no one is more pleased – or more surprised – than Ang Lee. It turns out that the first press screening that I saw was the first time he had seen it all together and word is there are still some finishing touches to be applied. It was such a rush to get it here that there were no preview screenings or audience testings – the burst of applause that greeted the first big action scene 15 minutes into the movie was the first time he knew he had hit a home run.
Humble and genuinely sweet as ever, Ang’s response (think contrast to James Cameron here) was little more than a demure smile, but it was sincere one. Almost 6 months of location shooting in China and Tibet, 2 crews going full time resulted in a physical exhaustion he had never known before.
After the incredible response to the film, the obvious question was "Why wasn’t it in competition?" But with Cannes juries being as fickle as they are, it wasn’t worth the chance for a film that will not be released in the states until Christmas. Now Sony Classics who will distribute the film gets to go into marketing meetings and decide how to packageCrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Is it a martial arts film for teenage boys? Is it a woman’s film? Is it a science fiction fantasy? Will the fact it has subtitles ruin it for The Matrix crowd?
In the meantime, Ang Lee is going to take a break and as he says enjoy a few days at the beach before going into preproduction on his next film.
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