24: "Shanghai" opened last weekend in competition with several big
budget U.S. films, and placed a respectable fourth. From a report
in Film Business Asia: "The Weinstein Company production 'Shanghai' has
taken $3 million in China in its first four days on theatrical release. The
period thriller starring John Cusack and Gong Li has opened in China months
before its North American release, tentatively scheduled for early
December." Ranking in the top three are: "Toy Story 3" (4.6 mil),
"Robin Hood" (4 mil) and "Prince of Persia: The Sands of
Time" (3.8 mil).
23: A gala premiere of "Shanghai" will be held on the opening night
(June 27) of the first Astana International Action Film Festival in Astana City,
Kazakhstan. Harvey Weinstein will represent the film. (source: Crave Online)
22: Elizabeth Kerr reviewed "Shanghai" for The Hollywood Reporter
Asia. While she feels it "has a nice hard-boiled vibe and a sense of
semi-exotic danger," she also feels that "the film tried to be a
romance, political thriller and historical drama but winds up merely muddled and
scattered." Verdict: "Box office prospects look middling at
19: John Cusack was interviewed by Li Anlan for Shanghai Daily. He said "Shanghai" has
"a high-quality script with high-quality
characters. The US usually doesn't make movies like this now; it's mostly about
superheroes... For me it was a very easy decision to make this special film...
The original script is terrific." He also said, "I like the
complexity. There's no character that is simply good or bad. The characters are
filled with contradictions. The story is much more like a literary novel. The
most touching part is in the relationships, the emotions in the end when they
take off their masks. The entire plot is centered not around politics, but
jealousy. The love in this film is rich and complicated." When asked about
working with Gong Li, Cusack replied, "I was very nervous to work with her.
I have seen her films in the United States and I thought she made some
masterpieces. She usually plays a woman of power. After meeting in person, I
found out how warm and funny and down to earth she is. She is a very happy
person, who plays unhappy characters very well. And she likes to keep things
17: On the day of the release of "Shanghai" in China, a new trailer
and more character posters have been issued. ->Trailer
(best on IE)
has video of an interview done on June 9 to promote "Shanghai". ->Watch
June 15: Earlier this month, the
Hollywood Reporter included a report that "Gong Li will star in Chen
Daming's Chinese remake of the romantic comedy 'What Women Want' with Andy
Lau... Gong's manager Christophe Tseng told The Hollywood Reporter that the
contract was likely to be signed in a few days." Asian news sites are reporting today that Andy Lau made an appearance at a restaurant opening in Hong Kong
yesterday and claimed that he does "not know" who his leading lady will be. One source (kwongway.com.my) reports that Lau said he
"does not know now who is the heroine, I do not want to make a
mistake." Sohu.com, as well as other Asian news sites, are
also reporting that Lau claimed he does not know if Gong Li will join the cast.
He also said that the project has been in production for the past three weeks. During her recent appearance
to promote "Shanghai", Gong Li said she was considering the project.
Update, June 17: Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop, a freelance journalist based
in Singapore, writes on her blog, "Chinese screen goddess Gong Li has
finally signed to play opposite Hong Kong star Andy Lau in a remake of What
Women Wants." She does not cite a source.
13: Gong Li and "Shanghai" co-star John Cusack attended a media
conference prior to the screening of the film at the Shanghai Int'l Film
11: Derek Elley, a former Variety film critic, feels "''Shanghai' doesn't
bore for a second." Excerpt from his review for FilmBusinessAsia: "Shanghai
is the closest thing to an oriental version of Casablanca in colour and
widescreen as you're likely to get. The surprising thing is that it pretty much
works, on its own deliberately pulpy level, and even manages to pack some
genuine emotion into its final section and must-make-the-last-ship-out finale...
While it's running on screen, Shanghai doesn't bore for a second."
Xinhuanet (via China Daily) has an English language report on
media conference. Excerpts: "I only take roles that I think are right.
Nobody can change my mind. I don't fear mistakes; if they happen, it's okay.
Let's do it again and right... I will not start acting if I am not fully
prepared. It may sound old-fashioned, but that's the way I am... One thing I
like about Hollywood is that it has so many professional writers, so most of
their scripts are very solid. It is unrealistic for Hollywood to offer many
important roles to Asian actors; after all, we are not part of its culture. But
I would still encourage young actors to meet different people and cultures. Do
not focus too much on where you work, care more for the story, director and
10: 34 min. video from the "Shanghai" events on sina.com.
(best on IE)
"Shanghai" making-of featurette has been released. Watch at
from the "Shanghai" premiere in Beijing have been added to the
Li and John Cusack attended a media conference for "Shanghai" in
Beijing this morning. John Cusack commented on Gong Li's work: "I was an
admirer of Gong Li for so long... A role like this, to work with such great
actors is a rare honor. She's like a Mona Lisa. She has a very subtle way of
conveying how the character feels. She's a very complicated and intricate
performer. You have to pay attention to not just her lines but her body
movements and subtle gestures five seconds before and after those
lines." ->Click on the image to jump to more
-> Ent163.com has video from the media conference... Watch
Schwankert contributed a report about the day's events for The Hollywood
Reporter. On the topic of working with John Cusack, Gong Li said: "I was
very happy but very nervous. He's very nice but very serious. The first time we
met was in England. He was exceptionally kind, and we talked for quite a while.
I was concerned that there might be communications problems since he is an
American actor, but that wasn't any trouble at all." ->Report
9: New "Shanghai" character posters have been released:
Li did a sit down interview for sina.com to promote "Shanghai"... -> Watch
(best on IE)
Photos taken during the interview and transcript -> GO
said that she has not yet signed on to the Chinese remake of "What Women
Want," and is waiting for the latest script revision. She feels that the
female role in the original version was weak, and wants more depth. She was asked about
starring with Mickey Rourke (they had been attached to "Saint
Vincent"). She replied that he will be playing Genghis Khan in a film early next year, and she may join him in that project. She was also asked about
Zhang Yimou's "13 Nanjing Women", and she joked that as there are 13
women, all of the roles must be small. As she did not directly confirm or deny
that project, rather choosing to make a joke, she has left the door open, in my
(Thanks to NewPath for assistance in translating the interview.)
6: Sina.com posted an alternate "Shanghai"
trailer... -> Watch
(best on IE)
3: Superstar Chinese pianist Lang Lang has contributed to the film score for
"Shanghai". PeopleDaily.com.cn reports that his piano solo runs for
about 10 minutes during the film. Lang Lang commented, "The film is
a good adventure story filled with romance and suspense, and they made it look
like an old-style movie. I thought it was a very attractive opportunity for
also has a lengthy report that includes additional remarks by Lang Lang: "I
have not seen such a powerful combination of international actors. This cast is
wonderful, very wonderful. I also loved to watch Gong Li and Chow Yun Fat's
performances... Gong Li in particular, her delivery is fresh and full of charm, mysterious, icy appearance and complex inner torment." He also
commented on his recent appearance at an event with her. "Gong Li is like a
big sister, very kind, very elegant. Very happy that we talked. Very glad to see
her again soon."
posted the transcript of an interview with Chow Yun-Fat. Speaking about his
character in "Shanghai", he said: "He is not a typical gangster
in Shanghai in 1940. He has a big heart. He's not only black and white, he has a
gray area in the middle. This is the most enjoyable thing about this role." About the film:
people say it is a very traditional love story, or a historical war film, but
it's not. We are
talking about a love story, a passion, not only man and woman, it's also the
relationship [between] man and man. The film actually does not talk
about too many political issues... the human dignity in that period is very interesting.
It's not all about money, it's all
about interests and friendships." About his character's relationship with Gong
Li's character: "It's interesting. You don't know if they are only friends, or
husband and wife, business partners. They still have a lot of mysterious substances inside the story and the character itself."
1: Gong Li's next film project may be a Chinese remake of "What Women
Want". Read the details at HollywoodReporter.com.
Director Chen Daming said, "I wanted to bring more strength out in the
woman character to reflect what's happening in China. Chinese women are leading
giant businesses today and winning most of our Olympic gold. Gong Li has the
presence to convey this strength." Producers are planning for a Valentine's
Day release. Chinese superstar Andy Lau co-stars in the project set to begin
25: The "Shanghai" international trailer is finally online!
23: Thanks to NewPath for the find of two sina.com articles about the release of
"Shanghai" in China on June 17. Wang Zhonglei of Huayi Brothers, the
company distributing the film in China, was interviewed and stated that the U.S.
release is "now tentatively scheduled for September." Also, it is
being reported in the Chinese media that a premiere will be held on June 10 in
Beijing. Gong Li, John Cusack, Chow Yun-Fat, Ken Watanabe, and director Mikael
Hafstrom are expected to attend the event.
21: Many new publicity photos from "Shanghai" are posted on
sina.com. -> View
13: Patrick Frater of FilmBizAsia has updated info about the
"Shanghai" release in China: "Premiere will be held on 8 June at
CPCC Hall in Beijing, followed by a Shanghai premiere on 10th." Also: There
is finally an official poster in circulation in the Chinese media.
6: The Beijing News includes a report that "Shanghai" will be released
in China mid-June. (Thanks to NewPath.) I found that two new production
stills are being circulated in additional Chinese reports about the film
4: Liu Wu, Estee Lauder model, mentioned Gong Li during an interview: "I
think Gong Li is a great role model because she is gorgeous, friendly and a
great influencer in China. I got to meet her a few weeks ago at a store opening
in Shanghai and she was so nice and welcoming. I felt so lucky to meet
her." (Source: BeautyBloggingJunkie.com)
Shu Qi also mentioned Gong Li during a recent interview: "The goddess in my
heart would be Gong Li and Maggie Cheung. After watching their shows from the
past to the present, they are perfect in their dressing, appearance, way of
doing things and attitude towards life. They are very attractive and I should
learn from them." (Source: HKMDB.com)
2: Gong Li had been attached to the Walter Hill project, "St.
Vincent", for some time. In December, her manager informed me that they
were waiting to review a new draft of the script. Recently, a reporter asked
co-star Mickey Rourke about his upcoming projects, and he replied that "St.
Vincent" was "not gonna happen" for him. Today, the IMGlobalFilm site
lists Pierce Brosnan and Maria Bello as the only cast members.
1: Gong Li was presented with the Legion d'honneur (National Order of
the Legion of Honor), the highest decoration from the French government. She is
the first Chinese actress to receive the honor. Gong Li also participated in the opening ceremony for the France Pavilion at the