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HONG KONG – Keanu Reeves sent his sympathies to the victims of the earthquake that struck China’s Sichuan region Saturday morning as he unveiled the trailer of his directorial debut Man of Tai Chi at the Beijing International Film Festival.
The first-time director said he would try his best to help and support the victims of the 6.6 magnitude quake that hit the Lushan county of Ya’an city in Sichuan and killed more than 100 people and injured hundreds more.
Reeves appeared at a press conference with his leading man, Tiger Hu Chen, and the film’s action choreographer, Yuen Woo-ping. Chen, a native of Sichuan, sent his blessings to his compatriots.
Reeves developed Man of Tai Chi around Chen, his martial arts trainer for the Matrix trilogy. The film marks the first time Reeves, Chen and Yuen – the action choreographer of the Wachowskis’ trilogy have reunited in ten years. The star said he wanted to show Chen’s life on screen, and described his leading man as possessing a “strong and traditional heart, but is a modern man,” which, according to Reeves, is what the film needed.
Reeves, who plays the villain in the film and utters the line “Let the killing begin” in the trailer, subverts the traditional impression toward Tai Chi, and redefines the martial arts discipline in a commercial form in the film. “The survival of martial arts cinema depends on renewal,” said Yuen. “We have to be open about new interpretations of Chinese martial arts.”
Reeves said he enjoyed making his directorial debut, and hopes to have more opportunities to direct.
Chen, a protege of Yuen and member of Yuen’s stunt team, has been a practitioner of Tai Chi since he was a young boy. He has been the stunt double of stars including Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Jet Li, and Stephen Chow, and the martial arts trainer of Reeves, Cameron Diaz, and Drew Barrymore.
Produced by China Film Group, Wanda Group, Village Roadshow Pictures, and Universal Pictures, Man of Tai Chi is set for a summer 2013 release in China.
Watch the trailer below.
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