Aug 25: I received news from Gong Li's manager this afternoon... Gong Li is scheduled to do a TV commercial shoot at the beginning of September in Shanghai. Her manager said he will send me photos from the shoot. Around the same time, Gong Li may appear at a Hundred Flowers Film Festival event... "more details to come".
The "Shanghai" extra who posted video on YouTube.com of the crew wrap party has also posted these responses to queries about Gong Li (thanks for the tip, NewPath): "She's very nice in person. Always smiled and said 'hello' to everyone, even though it was late at night and pouring down rain. Definitely a kind-hearted person... When she spoke to me, her English seemed very good. She and Cusack also looked good together, good chemistry, so I think it's a good pairing... When you see the 'gate scene' in the movie, if it looks intense, it's because it was REAL (I still have bruises), and Li/Cusack were right in the middle of that scrum. So they took their lumps just like everyone else." ->More
Aug 24: A Singaporean publication includes a report claiming that Gong Li has applied for Singaporean citizenship and was expected to attend the national citizenship ceremony last night. The reporter wrote that two event organizers were "overheard discussing the actress. They even pointed out the actress' seat - No. 133 - to The Sunday Times. But she didn't turn up in the end." The reporter contacted officials who would not comment on the matter, but did get a response from celebrity hairstylist David Gan who reportedly said: "I knew about it a few months ago. She told me she applied for a Singapore passport. I told her it's good and I even congratulated her." Gan also revealed that Gong Li had applied for citizenship in May. He commented: "Singapore is a good place. She travels a lot and it's convenient to hold a Singapore passport. A lot of stars like to stay here, too. There's no paparazzi. When I walk down Orchard Road with Gong Li, nothing happens."
Aug 23: Vietnamese businesswoman Ly Nha Ky was interviewed about her experience playing a minor role in "Shanghai". Excerpts: "My character is a minor one... but I am very happy... as it was a great experience. I was overwhelmed by the film crew's professionalism which included over 400 persons... Chow Yun-fat and I shared a scene, standing close together in a casino... I am really happy because after each scene, I was given emotional encouragement, especially from director Mikael Hafstrom. It gave me extra motivation even though they were all strangers. The talent of Hollywood film makers is that they create such a real background. Everything seemed real so the feeling of being scared and terrible was also real. The scenes of war, shooting, and death made me feel as if I was there... It was a big film crew but the schedule was very specific. Every detail was coordinated."
->Link to Interview (warning: it includes a plot spoiler)
August 19: Producer/Screenwriter Bey Logan, VP of Asian Acquisitions and Co-production for The Weinstein Co., posted a wonderful tribute article to Gong Li on his blog, and wrote about observing her on the set of "Shanghai". Excerpts: "The scene climaxes with a major dramatic beat for star John Cusack, and I noted how, for take after take, Gong and co-star Chow Yun-fat were there, off-camera, to give John a genuine performance to react to. Gong Li was there late in the evening, emoting her heart out solely to support a fellow actor. So much for playing the diva... On the day of our Thai press conference for 'Shanghai'... I got drafted in to host the event, and to improvise questions for the assembled film-makers. When I got to Gong, her eyes met mine and, for once in my life, I totally blanked on what I wanted to say." ->Read the Article (thanks, Cocoa)
Aug 6: Watch an Asia Brief video report (English, 2:30) on the Aug 2 "Shanghai" press conference:
Aug 4: A couple of promotional photos for "Shanghai" have been posted on imdb.com tonight.
Update, Aug 5: Thank you to Gong Li's manager for sending me the resource for the larger images! Credit: Murray Close/TWC 2008. Click on pics:
Director Mikael Hafstrom said: "Thailand invited us in a great way. We got the possibility to do this fantastic backdrop I couldn't dream of." Producer Jake Myers added: "We've been able to rethink the film and maybe gain a little bit more production value. I think the construction team has been able to achieve something we would have never been able to do in China." Gong Li commented that the Thai sets are "bigger and more beautiful" than those in China, and that "Everything exceeded our imagination ... all the movies set in Shanghai in the future can shoot here." John Cusack remarked: "To do something that has a big budget, a great scope with a great director and great actors that has the quality and level of writing and the level of production design ... is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." It was revealed that principal photography is scheduled to end on August 12, and that a Christmas release in the U.S. by the Weinstein Co. is still planned. When asked about a release in China, Myers responded: "A film with Gong Li and with Chow Yun-fat? We really have to release it in China." (Source: Associated Press)