shiftyeyes wrote: ↑
Wed Sep 13, 2023 10:04 pm
The Fanciful Norwegian wrote: ↑
Tue Sep 12, 2023 12:57 pm
In the original plot, Tony Leung Ka-fai played Duan Zhixing, the scion of a royal family engaged against his will to a Mongolian princess (Maggie Cheung); rather than go through with the marriage, he hides out in a brothel and falls in love with one of the women there. Joey Wong was cast in the latter role and worked on the movie for about a month, then Wong Kar-wai shut down the production and everyone went off to do The Eagle Shooting Heroes
. WKW used the break to rethink the plot, and when filming resumed almost everyone was recast in a different role—for example, Leslie Cheung went from playing Huang Yaoshi to Ouyang Feng, Tony Leung Chiu-wai went from Ouyang Feng to a blind swordsman, and Brigitte Lin went from Wang Chongyang to Dugu Qiubai. Leung Ka-fai took over the part of Huang Yaoshi and the entire subplot with Duan Zhixing fell by the wayside, which meant Joey Wong was out (as was Veronica Yip, who played one of the brothel workers). As already mentioned, Joey Wong couldn't return after the hiatus, so her part couldn't be reworked to fit the new story and was reduced to a contractually-obligated cameo.
An odd postscript is that Joey Wong was very popular in South Korea (mainly thanks to A Chinese Ghost Story
) and the slightly-extended Taiwanese cut of Ashes
was released there as well.
Thanks for the information! I was first introduced to Ashes of Time via the Redux edition over a decade ago. Thought it was interesting, but it left me a bit cold. It wasn't until about two years ago when I watched the original cut for the first time that I fell in love with it. I've been trying to read as much information as I can about the production, etc. but these are hard to come by in English articles discussing the film. I'd love to know more about the original intended plot! Most of the official quotes from WKW are rather vague and don't really get into the details.
I'm glad to hear someone besides me fell for this movie based on the international cut! The Redux was what started poisoning me against this new-fangled, post-2000 filmmaker who calls himself Wong Kar-Wai. If felt like Wong had practically clawed the guts out of what had been a very striking movie––one of the early viewings that made me a Hong Kong film fan for life (I rented the VHS tape from a shop in Westwood, along with Peking Opera Blues, The Bride with White Hair, and Full Contact; borrowed a VCR from my downstairs neighbors, a TV from my roommate, and watched all four films in a single evening).
When I hear these stories of all the recasting, I feel like this is the work of a fairly inexperienced filmmaker, who doesn't quite know what he wants out of his film (this would be Wong years later, though, as actors in 2046 would beg WKW in press conferences, "just tell me; am I still in the film? What was all that footage we shot for?") There's a little bit of that instability in Days of Being Wild, also, with Leslie Cheung being perfectly cast, but with Andy Lau seemingly uncomfortable playing a police officer. I wonder if the roundelay of changing roles in Chungking Express (Brigitte is a blonde and now she's not, Tony is a cop and now he's a restaurant worker, Faye is a restaurant worker, now she's a flight attendant, etc.) was inspired by this switching around of the roles Wong had in mind for all the actors. And maybe Wong's re-contextualizing the roles as he has interpreted them from the source material (maybe he cast the roles based more on his impression of the Jin Yong book, then as his own concept of the characters came together he felt the need to recast everyone).Then there's the way the same actors play the same story as a comedy, shooting at the same time for this film's executive producer. Parallels upon parallels. Mirrors reflecting story on production, production on story. Dizzying. Hopefully one day we get a version of the international cut restored, so that something good might come out of the twisted, sordid tale.