http://www.thestar.com.my/Lifest ... ays-wanted-to-tell/
'The Crossing' is the love story John Woo always wanted to tell
Published: Thursday December 11, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday December 11, 2014 MYT 11:33:45 AM
by seto kit yan
Touted by media as the Chinese Titanic, The Crossing Part 1 is Hong Kong filmmaker John Woo’s latest epic war romance.
At the 67th Cannes Festival earlier this year where The Crossing Part 1 was first revealed, director Woo said: “I’ve wanted to make this movie for a long time. Because people always see me as an action director, but do not realise that I can make love stories as well.”
Describing The Crossing Part 1, Woo mused: “It is a romantic story of hope. And, it has a lot of drama, action and humour.”
Woo recalled when he was diagnosed with lymph cancer in early 2012, he had to postpone the making of The Crossing Part 1 (formerly titled as Love And Let Love) as he underwent four surgeries and spent a whole year recuperating.
“I was feeling very unhappy then, as I felt that I had not made a really perfect film, and my heart was filled with regret,” said Woo in an earlier interview.
“But, after I recovered from this life-threatening illness, I also regained my confidence and realised that I had the opportunity to make the best movie of my life. I was so excited to be able to continue making The Crossing Part 1,” said Woo, best known for his Hong Kong action flicks like A Better Tomorrow (1986) and Red Cliff (2008 & 2009), as well as Hollywood films like Face/Off (1997) and Mission: Impossible II (2000).
Based on the infamous 1949 sinking of Chinese steamer Taiping, an incident which claimed some 1,500 lives, The Crossing Part 1 revolves around several young couples who are forced to flee to Taiwan in the midst of the Chinese Revolution.
Much of the excitement about the US$49mil (RM166mil) film also has to do with its multi-national star-studded cast, which includes Japanese-Taiwanese heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro, South Korean actress Song Hye-kyo, mainland Chinese actors Zhang Ziyi, Huang Xiaoming, and Tong Daweim, as well as Japanese actresses Masami Nagasawa and Hitomi Kuroki.
The film also reunites Woo, 68, with Kaneshiro, 41, with whom he collaborated with in Red Cliff, also a two-part war epic.
When asked what attracted him to make another epic with Woo, Kaneshiro, who plays a doctor in The Crossing Part 1, replied: “Very simply, the script is good, the director is good, so there was no reason to decline it.”
It was also revealed that director Woo had arranged for his wife and daughter to have some scenes with his dashing leading man.
His second daughter, Angeles, plays the handsome actor’s sister-in-law while Woo’s wife plays Kaneshiro’s neighbour.
“The neighbour’s role was a small one and required someone with knowledge of the Taiwanese dialect. Since my wife spoke Taiwanese, I let her take on a minor role for a bit of fun. As for my daughter, she really adores the collaboration with Takeshi Kaneshiro,” Woo revealed in an interview.
Taiwanese-Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro plays a Taiwanese doctor who travels frequently to Shanghai to get his medical supplies and ends up falling for a Japanese girl in John Woos epic war romance The Crossing.
The director also showered praises on Kaneshiro, saying that the low-profile actor looks set to be a director.
“For his next movie project, I’d like for us to be joint-directors. Or if he prefers to direct, then I’m willing to be the producer.”
Asked if he wanted shift gears and try directing, the multilingual Kaneshiro (he speaks Mandarin, Taiwanese Hokkien, Japanese, Cantonese and English) replied: “When I was younger, I really wanted to do that. But now after filming two epic flicks with John Woo, I no longer want to be a director.
“I feel that it is a very taxing role. But, I would still consider it if the material is compelling.”
■ The Crossing Part 1 opens in cinemas nationwide today. Part 2 is slated to be released in May next year.