To qualify for next year's Oscar competition, Chinese director Zhang Yimou has already finished shooting Curse of the Golden Flower at Bashang Grassland in Hebei Province, 20 days ahead of schedule. And, playing an important role in the film, the rising young actor Liu Ye has much to say about the new work and his own acting career.
Zhang Yimou's latest epic drama Curse of the Golden Flower involves ill-fated romances of an emperor played by Chow Yun-fat, an empress by Gong Li and a prince by Liu Ye.
Though Liu Ye became famous in his early twenties, winning several best actor awards, compared to veterans Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li, the actor is still quite inexperienced. So did he feel any pressure acting in scenes with Chow and Gong?
"There hasn't been much pressure because I just consider myself a young actor. It's not in the least bit strange that a young actor isn't as good as very accomplished ones like Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li."
Liu Ye in film Curse of the Golden Flower
Liu Ye's last big screen effort was his role as Guilang, or the Snow Wolf in director Chen Kaige's very controversial movie The Promise. No matter how many "hate it" reactions the film has produced, young as he is, Liu Ye, who has worked with so many of China's top film makers, is the envy of many. And his cooperation with two of China's best directors, Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, has also left him with unforgettable experiences.
"Zhang Yimou is like a father to me. He actually cares for every member of the production team. While Chen Kaige is quite authoritative. I always feel really naive in front of him."
Now that Zhang Yimou's latest production Golden Flower has finished shooting, if everything goes smoothly, the production will wrap before September 15th, in time for the director to apply for the Oscars. And it'll also be Liu Ye's first time in the international film market.
(CRI July 6, 2006)