Zhang Ziyi’s acting in the role of the queen of Night Banquet is vital in filming the historical epic, said director Feng Xiaogang at a news conference in Beijing last Saturday.
According to the director, Zhang has captured the inner world of the queen in the tragedy that has been described as the Chinese version of Hamlet, with its royal conflicts and tale of revenge entangled with love.
Public interest has been sparked by Feng's switch from comedy to tragedy and the star-studded cast, which includes Feng's long-time partner Ge You, Hong Kong heartthrob Daniel Wu, and Chinese pop idols Zhou Xun and Huang Xiaoming.
Feng's biggets budget film, the US$15-million Night Banquet looks to major box-office successes in overseas markets.
The director is thought to have cast Zhang mainly because hers is a familiar face for Western moviegoers. Even though Night Banquet is a dramatic shift from Feng's trademark comic style, the director said he will still stick to his motto of "amusing the public."
Feng said, "I will not make the story complicated just to cater to the tastes of a small group. I believe my film will be for the public."
The shooting is scheduled to be finished before the Chinese New Year. It is also reported that Zhou Xun, Mongolian singer Teng Geer and Super Girl Zhang Liangying will be singing in Night Banquet.
(Shenzhen Daily October 31, 2005)