Tsui Hark starts filming 'Journey to the West 2'

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 7, 2015
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Tsui Hark (R) and Stephen Chow have united to film a sequel to Chow's "Journey to the West." [Photo: hebnews.cn]

Tsui Hark and Stephen Chow, two of the most famous directors in the Hong Kong film industry, have united to film a sequel to Chow's "Journey to the West," China.org.cn learned Thursday.

Johnny Choi, director of photography, posted a photo of a clapperboard on his microblog on Thursday, indicating that the sequel of "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons" had started filming on that day.

Director Derek Yee also posted a photo of him and director Tsui Hark at a dining table on his blog, saying “best wishes” to the new film production.

An executive from Bingo Group Limited, Chow's company, as well as the production company, the newly emerging giant Alibaba Pictures Group, also confirmed the news.

It was reported that "Journey to the West 2" would be executive produced by Stephen Chow and directed by Tsui Hark, with a budget as high as 400 million yuan (US$63.89 million). The release date will be in 2017.

Rumor has it that brand new cast will act in the new installment, including actors Yao Chen, Wu Yifan and Lin Gengxin, who will replace the original cast of the first installment, including Hsu Chi, Huang Bo and Wen Zhang. But Alibaba Pictures and all parties involved kept tight-lipped without revealing any solid information.

"Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons," was released in 2013, directed by Chow and starring Hsu Chi, Huang Bo and Wen Zhang. The movie grossed 1.244 billion yuan (US$203.5 million) on the Chinese mainland alone and ranks as one of the highest grossing Chinese films ever.

Chow, who was busy finishing his own new movie "Mermaid," has been in talks with Tsui and the two reached a consensus on the film's framework and script. Reports said Chow is sincerely hoping to work with Tsui, and will not interfere with Tsui's directing, though the two have different visions and styles.

But there are also several things in common between the two: they both love to experiment with advanced film technologies and have wild imaginations. It was previously reported that the visual effects team behind "Avatar" will also be invited to be consultants for the 3D special effects.

Stephen Chow had planned to shoot "Journey to the West 2," however he was not satisfied with the initial script, so he changed his plan and chose to direct "Mermaid" instead. Tsui Hark was also interested in doing a "Journey to the West" movie, so Chow was willing to let Tsui try, reports said.

At least 10 film projects, with the Monkey King as the leading role, including Tsui Hark's, are going to be released in next two years, (six of which will be released in 2016), cashing in on the Chinese ancient classic, in this "Journey to the West-mania." The most recent animated adaptation "Journey to the West: Hero is Back" has become the top grossing animation ever in China, with more than 800 million yuan in box office ticket sales.

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