On a day when this wasn’t being reported, news that The Weinstein company is spearheading a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon might be the biggest news of the day. But it’s true: shooting is set to start in May.
“That’s interesting,” we hear you thinking, “so this is what Ang Lee is doing next?” But we have to stop you there. The director who brought the original to such lyrical, treetop-fighting life is not involved this time around. Instead, the producers are in talks with veteran Chinese director Ronny Yu.
John Fusco has already adapted the script from Silver Vase, Iron Knight, the fifth book in Wang Du Lu’s Crane-Iron Pentalogy (Crouching Tiger was the fourth) and the story continues to focus on Michelle Yeoh’s Yu Shu Lien, though the actress isn’t yet committed to reprise the role.
“This introduces a new generation of star-crossed lovers, and a new series of antagonists in a battle of good and evil,” Fusco tells Deadline. "It has a Knights Errant quality. There is an alternate universe in the books, a martial forest that exists alongside the real world, full of wandering sword fighters, medicine men, defrocked priests, poets, sorcerers and Shaolin renegades. It’s so vast and rich, and I found characters from the second and third books in the series to create a most interesting stew while being as true to the source material as I could be.”
It’s likely that the Weinsteins would have tried to get this moving sooner, but they have been caught up in legal squabbles with Sony over the rights to the source material. But now TWC is moving full steam ahead, with more than $20 million to spend making the follow-up. We’re keeping our swords crossed it lives up to the 2001 original. In the meantime, there was some other Michelle Yeoh-starring wu xia action yesterday in the UK trailer for Reign Of Assassins, which you can see here.