Shooting a martial arts flick the hard way

By Xu Fan ( [Photo provided to China Daily] ) Updated: 2015-11-26 08:17:59

Shooting a martial arts flick the hard way

Actor Liao Fan plays the title role in The Master, a martial arts thriller that pays tribute to Bruce Lee. The movie is set to open across the country on Dec 11. [Photo provided to China Daily]

While most directors rely on computers to transform actors into superheroes, Xu Haofeng shoots his martial arts flicks in a more traditional way through training the star to be a real kung fu master.

This meant a tough schedule for Liao Fan, the veteran actor starring in his forthcoming martial arts thriller, The Master, which is set to open across the country on Dec 11.

The movie recently beat rivals, such as Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Assassin, to claim the best action choreography prize at the just-concluded 52nd Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan.

During its 92-day shoot last year, Liao was asked to get up at 4 am every day in an isolated location in rural Beijing.

One bowl of porridge is all he got for breakfast, as a vegetarian diet was believed to be the best to keep the 41-year-old actor in peak physical condition.

A more interesting fact was that Liao's martial arts coach was not a professional sportsman, but the director himself who learned his kung fu skills from his grandfather and an apprentice of kung fu master Yip Man (1893-1972).

Yip's most well-known apprentice was the Chinese-American megastar Bruce Lee.

And Xu has always been fascinated by Lee.

From the time he was an adolescent, Xu has dreamed of making a movie with someone resembling Lee who had mastery of Yip's Wing Chun form of kung fu.

Speaking of his fascination with Lee, Xu, who was on a promotional tour recently, says: "Lee had a huge role in letting the world know about Chinese movies and the unique kung fu genre. It is a big pity that only a few filmmakers could follow his footsteps."

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