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Asia-AICN #4, tons of info and pics from Hong Kong in this week's column

Folks, Darius 25 has really scored for you this week. You've been wanting reports from Hong Kong, well, you've got tons of them this week, lots of great photo links too. If this keeps up ol' Father Geek's dreams for this column will come true. Check this stuff out, its great...

Asia-AICN #4

Hello fellow readers. We have a few changes in the column this week. I have two new reporters - The Accidental Spy and Crashpoet who have reported info on Chinese/HK movies, and I myself will be reporting info from Bollywood. Because we have much information to provide, my reviews of the latest Indian movies will not be appearing for a while, but they will be back at a later date. But of course, I will be telling you guys about the latest releases from India and sometimes recommending an Indian film, much like Edgard and Darth Bond from Euro-AICN. Now lets get to the news.


- Director Raj Kumar Santoshi who latest film Pukar (Call) did pretty good at the box office has announced his next film. Titled Lajja (I have no idea what this means), it stars, Rekha, Madhuri Dixit, Mahima Chaudhary, Manisha Koirala, Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Paresh Rawal and Danny Denzongpa. The movie is set to be released in November.

- Madhuri Dixit has joined the cast of Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's next film Devdas (Indian name) and now will star opposite Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai.

- The shooting of Director K. Shashilal Nair's next film One Two Ka Four (One Two then Four) is now almost complete. Only the songs remain to be completed. The film stars Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla and Jackie Shroff.

- Actor Hrithik Roshan's next film will be Mission Kashmir, set to be released in July. The film is being directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and also stars Sunjay Dutt and Jackie Shroff.

- Actor Amitabh Bachchan will star along with his son Abhishek Bachchan in a film by director Rakesh Mehra.

- Director's J.P. Dutta's next film Refugee, is set to open in the first half of June. The much awaited followup to Dutta's Border will star Abhishek Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Sunil Shetty, and Jackie Shroff (he is basically all the newsitems this week).

- Director Suneel Darshan has announced his next film "Rishta (Relationship) - A Bond of Love". It will star Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Juhi Chawla, Karishma Kapoor, and Ashutosh Rana. A similar titled film, Rishta, is also being made which will star Anil Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai.

- Finally, Director Ramgopal Varma's next film, Jungle, will be released this summer. It stars Fardeen Khan, Urmila Matondkar, and Sunil Shetty.

- A much anticipated movie was released on Friday, May 5, 2000 (Besides Gladiator). It is titled Chal Mere Bhai (Let's go my brother) and it stars Sanjay Dutt, Salman Khan, and Karishma Kapoor. The movie is yet another romantic comedy and it involves a love triangle between the two male leads (who play brothers) and the woman that comes in their lives. I haven't seen this yet, but the buzz around this is pretty good, and director David Dhawan usually makes entertaining, if not thought-provoking, films. The story is of course typical like most Bollywood movies but the songs are pretty good. From the promos, the songs look well picturised, especially the title track "Chal Mere Bhai" which was sung by the two main leads.

- My recommended movie this week is "Dil Se. (From the heart)." The film stars Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala and it is a lot better than your average Bollywood musical. The songs are not of the typical variety and the cinematography is excellent. It actually has a story, and a very good if rather serious one concerning terrorists, human bombs and of course love. However it's not a normal love story - it's actually more about obsession and infatuation, which is rare in Indian cinema. The acting is also great, and I think that this is one of the movies that would play really well to an international audience aswell as the Indian audience.

Now let's head on to the realm of HK news.

China / HK

The following is from "The Accidental Spy":

- Info. about ZU: Warriors from the Magic Mountains II. It's now shooting in Beijing and about to be wrapped up before June, and then do the post-production. Originally it's set to be released this summer, but most likely, the release date is moving to Christmas or next Feb, ie, Chinese new year. Director, co-producer Tsui Hark said that the idea of the film, as a prequel to ZU I, is inspired by the prequel trilogy of Star Wars. Tsui has hired five specialists who worked for Episode I to come abroad and do this film's special effects. A shot of the setting is here

- In this prequel, none of the cast from the original would join except Sammo Hung, who would plays a new role this time. Without Brigitte Lin and Yuen Biao, perhaps the biggest selling point of the film to the western audiences would be Yuen Wo-Ping( The Matrix, Fist of Legend) as fight choreography.

- Now introducing the new cast:

- Cecilia Cheung (King of Comedy, Fly me to Polaris, which just won her the best new performer in HK academy awards) as the Countess in the Fort in the Sky. Here's her pix on the set: #1, #2, and #3.

- Ekin Cheng (The Stormriders, A Man called Hero) plays Swordman Din Yan. Here's some pictures of him on the set : #1, and #2.

- Patrick Tam (Beast Cop, won him Best supporting actor last year) plays De Min Chi, in the role played by Yuen Biao. Here's some pictures of him on the set: #1, #2, and #3 (with Ekin Cheng) and #4.

- Louis Koo (the leading man of the coming Black Mask II) plays Sword Old Man, the role originally played by Tsui Siu Keung. Here's a picture of him on the set: Click here.

There was also some news that happened in April and is worth mentioning:

- In April, Jackie Chan was busy shooting his latest HK movie, "The Accidental Spy", in Hong Kong. Directed by Teddy Chan (Downtown Torpedoes, Purple Storm), starring Jackie Chan, Vivian Tsu, Eric Tsung and Korean Actress Jin Mei. The shooting also take place in South Korea and Turkey. The movie is expected to open in HK next Chinese New Year.

Here are some pics from the set of the movie:

- Chan doing the favourite "escalator" stunt: Just click here.

- Chan's knee is hurt and waiting for another take: Click here.

- Chan with Eric Tsung(left) as the spy agent: Here's where to click.

- From April 11 to April 16, HK comedy actor Stephen Chow attended one of the festival in Italy for a section which is a tribute to him, "The Stephen Chow's week", which showed five films from his whole bunch of must-see films, including "Fight Back to School"(1991), "Justice, My Foot!"(1992), "From Beijing with Love"(1995), and two films which Chow took a dramatic turn, "God of Cookery"(1997) and "King of Comedy"(1999)(Anyone never seen Stephen Chow's film, I suggest you to start the experience with one of these five and once you do so, you will be addicted to his work!). Chow told the media that he's excited to visit the arena in Italy, where his idol, Bruce Lee, shoot "Return of the Dragon".

- Chow said that his next project would be either "Soccer Hero from The Shaolin Temple"(temp.title) or "God of Cookery 2". People from Italy are interested in the idea of both movies, especially "Soccer Hero from The Shaolin Temple", which they even encouraged Chow to come Italy for the shooting of the finale soccer match scene, instead of China. For the news that Jim Carrey finally picked up the US version of "God of Cookery" project and hired Jay Roach to direct it instead of Stephen Chow, Chow refused to comment but said that the whole thing is still in negotiation.

- Director Stanley Tong(Rumble in the Bronx, Jackie Chan's First Strike) has now moved back to HK, and will open a film called "Thunder Cop"(temp. title). With a budget involving a Hollywood studio's money, the movie would be shot in English and will definitely open in US. It will star Aaron Kwok (The Stormriders) and Japanese actress Norika Fujiwara. No further info. yet, but Aaron told HK media that he would have a skin-head haircut for the movie so no fantasy type long hair as in The Stormriders this time.

- After the success of the Mod Squadish "Gen-X cops", Media Asia announced to open the sequel, "Gen-Y Cops". In the press conference on Apr 26, the cast was introduced - six young fellows including four fresh faces and Stephen Fung and Sam Lee reprising their roles as Match and the funniest Alien, respectively. Since Nicolas Tse has a tight schedule this year, the leading boy from the original won't appear in the sequel, but a cameo shot could be possible. In the first installment, they blew up an HK exhibition centre in the final scene; this time the kids have to fight a 7-foot robot named "RS1", which is created by a Hollywood computer special effects company and would be delivered to HK at the end of June. The movie will be directed by Benny Chan (Who am I ?, Gen-X Cops), would start shooting this month and is expected to release at Christmas in HK. Here is a picture of the cast: Click here.

- Michelle Yeoh has just signed a contract with Media Asia for 5 years, and shows interest to work with Anita Mui and Maggie Cheung again. They once teamed up in " Heroic Trio" which is already a cult classic for the western audiences.

Now here's some latest news:

- Jackie Chan takes a few days off from the shooting of "Accidental Spy" and is promoting his latest Hollywood film "Shanghai Noon" in Taiwan and Malaysia. He told the media that "Shanghai Noon 2" is in negotiation and he would probably earn $20 millions USD plus a bonus for reprising his role.The shooting would probably start next Feb., after finishing "Rush Hour 2", which would earn him a $15 millions USD + a bonus paycheck. The film opens on June 1st in HK.


- Cannes' winner Wong Kar-Wai has finally finished the postproduction of "In the Mood for Love" and the film is already sent to Cannes for this year's competition of the prestigious Palme d'Or prize. The film's starring two of the Wong's favourite actor and actress, Tony Leung Chiu-wai (Hard-boiled, Happy Together, Chungking Express) and Maggie Cheung (Heroic Trio; Centre Stage; Comrades, Almost a Love Story).

- For Wong Kar-wai's another project, a sci-fi epic, "2046", rumors said that he dumped all the film footage which was shot in Thailand for almost a year because of dissatisfaction, and therefore the production is back to the very beginning. The movie stars Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Leung's real-life love interest, Carina Lau (Ashes of Times; He's a Woman, She's a Man), and HK pop queen, Faye Wong (Chungking Express).

- Stareast announced a few projects including the adoption of the famous Japanese comics "Crying Freeman", a story about an orphaned assassin, nicknamed "800 dragons", who would get naked and shed a tear upon killing every time, and later on, would try to escape from his organization. The film will star Leon Lai (Fallen Angels; Comrades, Almost a Love Story) and would be directed by Andrew Lau (who's already directed two HK comics adoption, "The Stormriders" and "A Man called Hero"). It is the second time that a HK film adopts this comic book. Last time was "The Dragon from Russia" in 1989, starring Sam Hui (Aces Go Places series) and Maggie Cheung.

- Director Gordon Chan (Beast Cop, Fight back to School)'s next project is "Cop on Vacation"(temp. title), starring Leslie Cheung (Tempest Moon, Happy Together) and Faye Wong. This is the first time that Faye Wong appears in a film which is not directed by Wong Kar-Wai.

* The temp. title is like a straight translation of the Chinese title, since the English title is not yet confirmed.

Here's some more information on HK films from "Crashpoet":

- John Woo's Mysterious Gay Past.

Now now. I am talking about a black and white silent film done in 1969 by John Woo and Shek Kei. This film was lost but is now restored and is the focus of this year's HK International Film Festival and John Woo is extremely excited about this and would gladly pay the cost of the restoration.

The film is called Dead Knot (Sei Git). The entire film lasts 16 minutes w/o any dialogue. The story is divided into 8 chapters about a homosexual couple John Woo and Chan Gai Yut who lives together. Woo meets Cho Chung Lan, a girl that interests him. He tried everything to leav Chan and marry this girl. Then problem rises. Woo personally performed in the buff as well as performing in an S&M scene (This, I HAVE TO see - D25) Daring? All the actors and actress are co-workers, friends, etc.

- The 19th Annual HKFA Film Awards were handed out on Sunday, May 7, 2000 at a ceremony at the Hung Hom Coliseum. In an attempt to raise the aura of the awards to that of the Academy Awards, HK$3 million was spent this year. Presenters this year included: Michelle Yeoh (Yeung Chi-King), Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk, Danny Lee Sau-Yin, Geung Mo, Kelly Lin (Lam Hei-Lui), Jackie Chan, Carina Lau Ka-Ling, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Lisa Wong Ming-Chuen, Stanley Tong Lai-Kwai, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Sylvia Chang Ai-Ka, and Ruby Wong Cheuk-Ling among others. Despite the death of her sister, Ann Mui Oi-Fong, from cancer earlier in the day, Anita Mui Yim-Fong also attended the awards.

The winners were:











BEST SCREENPLAY: Sylvia Chang Ai-Ka, Cat Kwan Ho-Ming (TEMPTING HEART)




BEST ORIGINAL SONG: SING YU SUM YUEN (lit. STARRY WORDS HEART WISHES from FLY ME TO POLARIS) Performed by Cecilia Cheung Pak Chi. Music was by Kam Pui Tak. Lyrics were by Maggie Ko Shuet Lan.


Well, that's about it for now. Again, I urge all of you who have any information on any movies in Asia (including Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia, Korea, etc.) to contact me. The more information we have on ALL of the countries in Asia, the more it will benefit all of you. Until next week, goodbye.

- Darius25

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