Leung: Wong flick packs action

Arthouse helmer jumps genres in first kung-fu foray

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong art-house filmmaker Wong Kar-wai is known for his slow, moody dramas, so when he announced his next project would be a kung fu flick, some were worried it would be more tears and talking than fists of fury.

But the film's star, Cannes-winning actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai, admitted Tuesday that when filming of "The Grand Master" started, the action was so fast-paced that he "almost couldn't hang in there."

"This is a genuine kung fu movie," Leung said at a news conference, adding "there really will be many action scenes."

Leung is starring as the late Ip Man, a pioneer in promoting the wing chun style of kung fu who coached Bruce Lee in his teenage years. Wong's biopic is the second similar movie in recent years. Hong Kong director Wilson Yip's "Ip Man" was a hit in 2008, starring Donnie Yen.

Leung, however, promised it would be a very different take on the martial arts master.

It's guaranteed to be a sharp change in genre for Wong, whose films have drawn Hollywood admirers like Nicole Kidman and Sofia Coppola. His credits include "As Tears Go By," "Chungking Express," "Happy Together" and "In the Mood for Love." "Happy Together" won him best director at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997.

His most recent film was the 2007 English-language release "My Blueberry Nights." Wong's English debut marked singer Norah Jones' first movie and drew an ensemble cast featuring Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn and Natalie Portman.

"The Grand Master" is now shooting in China with a cast that also includes Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi and South Korean Song Hye-kyo.

Leung won best actor at Cannes in 2000 for playing a newspaper editor who has an affair with a married woman in "In the Mood for Love."