Considering the insane amount of time it can take for any one of his projects to warp, when you want to discuss Wong Kar-wai, you best not discuss what will follow his current picture. (Well, during the rare time he truly has a “current picture.”) But, hey: it feels entirely relevant, we love the man, and we could also use any excuse to invoke his name while The Grandmaster goes without distribution in the United States.
As a matter of fact, its unreleased status happens to make this news the tiniest bit… abstract. At a Q & A held after some fancy university screening — one that’s in Chinese and, I’m afraid, technically inaudible — the inimitable Tony Leung addressed rumors that Wong had not only been asked about a sequel, but ended up weighing the option — and, according to The Oriental Daily (via WongKarWai.net and ThePlaylist), he sadly announced no intention of cmoing along. The actor’s own hesitation seems to correlate with a desire “to try new things [and] staying fresh,” since his own process doesn’t fully acclimate to running in circles with the same character. Which is odd, coming from a pairing who immediately followed In the Mood for Love with 2046, but…
And he could, simply, be acting gracious, seeing as there were a few strong rumors that Leung struggled with Wong on the set — or, rather, that the director’s exacting ways alienated everybody on the set over those many years it took to actually complete production. Fans of the work they’ve produced with one another (and that should be you) ought to hope this isn’t not the case — even if only for the sake of something good remaining in this scary world — and that, in fact, he just doesn’t want to play Yip Man once again. That The Grandmaster doesn’t even go up to the end of the man’s life raises questions about potential sequel direction that I, having not seen it, am unable to answer.
Let’s get back to the film for one second. After running somewhere around four hours in the editing room and, finally, hitting 130 minutes in China, Wong revealed (via THR) that a new cut of The Grandmaster, which will play at Berlinale — probably what ends up hitting the United States, too — should be closer to 115 minutes. Why? It’s not 100% clear, particularly when he says its Chinese version could be released (I’m thinking on Blu-ray) in a director’s cut of some fashion. Oh, Wong.
Could a Grandmaster sequel function without its star?