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“I’m too old for that”: Hulk Director Ang Lee Reveals if He Will Ever Work With Everything Everywhere All at Once Star Michelle Yeoh Again After ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’

“I’m too old for that”: Hulk Director Ang Lee Reveals if He Will Ever Work With Everything Everywhere All at Once Star Michelle Yeoh Again After ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’

Ang Lee is a Taiwanese director who has made popular action films such as Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon which the audience loved and he is the mastermind who directed Hulk, the 2003 MCU film. The director is immensely popular for his artistic vision which earned him two Academy Awards, with a keen eye for detail to make compelling films the filmmaker has cemented himself as one of the greatest directors in Hollywood.

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Ang Lee

The Hulk director recently had an interview where he disclosed the problems he faced while creating his treasured films, as well as gave an insight if the filmmaker would create another with Michelle Yeoh.

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Ang Lee talks about the troubles of directing action films

In an exclusive interview with Discussing Films, Ang Lee talked on a number of topics, the Life of Pi director explained that the common obstacle he face while making Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was that he often felt that most of his ideas did not make sense, as most of his ideas were from his childhood, and is he having a midlife crisis. He said that back in the movie making was not a challenge for him, and he could blend so many different elements in the film. 

“Most of the time I was struggling, thinking this thing didn’t make sense. It was like my childhood dream, accumulated over so many years, and I was the age of 45. Is this my midlife crisis? I wanted to jam everything into one movie. I was in a place where I didn’t know like, back then making that kind of movie in China was a real challenge. I wasn’t prepared for it. Not like today. And I blend so many genre elements. Michelle was an action hero but she has to also do a very dramatic role. Then Chow Yun-Fat was a great dramatic actor.”

Ang Lee with the cast of Crouching tiger, Hidden Dragon
Ang Lee with the cast of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

He continued saying that the problem with martial films is that they are time-consuming, and they have to get different shots of people fighting, as well as capturing sceneries capturing landscapes, which was new to him as well as for his crew.

“So all of that is challenging, going to big territories and traveling a lot to shoot these beautiful Chinese landscapes. This was unusual for martial art films because marital art films are very time-consuming. To make our martial arts film, we shot stylish sword fights with people flying. That was something very new to me. So that was a challenge for me and for the crew. So just about everything is challenging, and Michelle hurt her knee in the second week of shooting the martial arts scenes. She was limping the whole movie.” 

The filmmaker was then asked if he faced any major problem more severe and challenging than the one he faced while making Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, to which the filmmaker humbly answered that every movie is a challenge for him, as he doesn’t know how the film would perform in the theatres. However, he will not take such challenges because “I’m too old for that,” and puts a toll on him, spiritually and physically.

“Well every movie is a challenge. You’re taking a risk because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You can’t plan for it. But I will say Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is by far the most challenging movie I made. I probably won’t take that kind of challenge again, I’m too old for that. It’s physically demanding, emotionally draining, and spiritually confusing – it takes a lot of stamina for that kind of creativity and collaboration on a production. So that was the hardest one.”

Ang Lee, then answered that he has seen Michelle Yeoh’s Everything Everywhere All At Once, and he was extremely proud of her because of her contribution to his magnum opus early in her career where she had to do serious acting as well as be an action hero, and that was what led to her immense success. He talked about the actress as a proud teacher who is immensely happy for their student’s success.

“Yeah! I was one of the pushing hands for her. I’m very proud of it because Crouching Tiger was one of the earliest parts of her career where was doing serious acting and also being an action hero. [Everything Everywhere All At Once] really made her shine, I thought that must be like the peak, the culmination of her career. I’m just so happy for her. She’s one of the most determined people I know, hardworking, soulful, and earnest. We’ve remained great friends. I couldn’t be more happy for what Asian Americans can do these days. It took a while, but they shine each year. So wonderful.”

Since Ang Lee is getting old it can be said that the filmmaker will not create a classic Martial Arts starring Michelle Yeoh, however, Lee is known for having an artistic mind which aids him in coming up with out-of-the-box ideas, also the audience supports him immensely so it would be wonderful if the veteran filmmaker would create another masterpiece.

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Can we see Ang Lee working again with Michelle Yeoh?

Michelle Yeoh has recently been nominated for Oscars for her performance at Everything Everywhere All At Once, and recently the actress has talked about her role in Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The actress said that the film is an evergreen classic, perfectly mixing the East and West Asian history of filmmaking.

“It is classic and never gets old. It is not just an action film but [a] beautifully poetic and painterly depiction of the wuxia world. It is a fusion of East and West, of Asian film history and Hollywood, of action movies and art house cinema. It is ‘Sense and Sensibility’ with martial arts.”

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Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The Supercop actress called her time with Ang Lee one of the most pivotal points in her acting career as she was able to combine character work and innovative action, as Lee is a detail-oriented person, and he trains the actors in understanding their roles. 

“What I like about Ang Lee is that he is very detail-oriented. He believes the training can help us to understand our characters instead of just physical technique or physical training. The fighting scenes he and Master Yuen designed are based on our characters. My character Yu Shu Lien is a very grounded, experienced warrior, so her flight is solid and grounded but powerful. I took calligraphy lessons. Ang believes every detail counts, and it helps to build our characters day by day.”

Michelle Yeoh was speaking highly of Ang Lee’s work and she acknowledged his contribution to her career’s success. Even though neither Lee nor Yeoh has said about a possible project but we can expect that they can make an action film full of drama and comedy, as well as Lee’s exploration of the human condition.

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What is Ang Lee going to do in his upcoming Bruce Lee movie?

In the same interview, Ang Lee said that he will bring something new to the action genre, and the way to do action. He also said that he will not break the frame rate with 120fps because traditionally, films are made for 24fps, however, he is interested in making such kind of films but this movie will not be the rule breaker.

“I’m not going to with this movie. But I’m gonna bring something new to action and the way to do action. But no, I don’t break the frame rate this time that way. With 120fps you’re really challenging viewers’ habits and the industry because history is built for the 24 frames. So that’s a holistic ecosystem of the movie world. Someday we’ll create something new, but not with this movie. I’m going to break some other rules though, like Bruce Lee would do.”

It would be intriguing to see what Ang Lee has in the palette for his upcoming Bruce Lee film. And if his film upcoming film would contain the issues of tradition, culture, and identity. Moreover, what did Ang Lee mean by bringing something new to action? Well, we’re unsure of it but we’re confident that the film would be visually stunning, and be added to Lee’s collection of thematically layered works.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon re-released in theatres on 17th February 2023.

Source: Discussing Film

Written by Tushar Auddy

A voracious reader and a wordsmith at heart. Tushar is a student of Linguistics, who's always on the lookout for a good book or a captivating story. He has a passion for literature that runs deep and loves nothing more than getting lost in a novel for hours on end. When he isn't reading, you'll find him scribbling down his thoughts and musings, always eager to capture the beauty of language.