Actress Shu Qi (The Transporter, Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons) is set to star in a new film from director Hou Hsiao Hsien titled The Assassin, also known as The Hidden Heroine, which has reportedly officially wrapped principal photography this week. The news comes with the film having been well over a few decades in the making as Hou initially planned the film back in the late 1980’s with screenwriter Chu Tien-Wen, followed by kicking off its hectic fifteen month schedule with locations set in China, Taiwan and Japan.
Based on a short story from a compilation known as “The Extensive Records Of The Taiping Era” (a.k.a. Tàipíng Guǎngjì), Hou‘s new film is set in the Tang Dynasty and centers around Qi‘s portrayal of young girl named Nie Yin Niang who is kidnapped by a Taoist nun who trains her to become an assassin, assigned to take out any selected target when ordered, until she falls in love with one of her targets and begins to question her loyalites. Filming initially kicked off in 2010 with its main schedule starting in October 2012, which then became plagued by an unfortunate series of cancelled and re-scheduled shoots, among other things. Hou explained his experience in the following passage, courtesy from statments published last November at Filmbiz Asia:
I haven’t shot a movie in six or seven years. It’s really a whole new world for me because the market is now so big, because of China. So the scale is much bigger, and that makes every detail different, so now even I have to adjust my scale.
Shooting a film set during the Tang Dynasty, you can’t treat it like how you shoot a modern story. With a contemporary movie, if you don’t get what you want then you can keep shooting. If something’s not right on set, you can change it on the spot.
But if you’re shooting the Tang Dynasty, if you didn’t prepare it beforehand, then the set won’t be there and the costumes aren’t prepared. You can’t just conjure them, so it turns out that every single detail you gotta prepare and prepare for ages.
Because of my way of film-making, maybe it makes my movies stylised, but you can only do that if you have time. But Tang dynasty’s sets… so many sets! And the fighting choreography! My god! I was deep in shit. It was terrible!”
The Assassin stars Qi along with Chang Chen, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Ethan Ruan and Nikki Hsieh, with Ni Dahong, Zhang Shijun, Michael Chang, Jiang Wen, Zuo Xiaoqing, Xu Fan, Tadanobu Asano and Zhou Yunin rounding out the cast. The film was written by Chu along with Hou and A. Cheng, and produced by Dai Song and Stephen Lam, and is currently aiming for a film festival run at Cannes this year. Qi is also starring in Wen‘s late 2014 black comedy action thriller, Gone With The Bullets.
Stay tuned for more information.
H/T: Filmbiz Asia