Legendary martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo-ping (The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter to reflect back on his long and illustrious career in both Hong Kong cinema and Hollywood. It’s a worthwhile read, which you can find over at Chinese Films.
It’s long been rumored that Yuen Woo-ping and actor Donnie Yen were no longer on good terms, despite Yuen Woo-ping helping give Yen his big break, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In the interview, Woo-ping discusses the aging of the ‘old guard’ of Hong Kong talent: “It’s very difficult find the next Jackie Chan or Jet Li, and even Donnie Yen isn’t a young man anymore. He’s paid his dues, and finally got his break.”
Speaking of the old days and how things have changed, Woo-ping states: “In the era of ‘Drunken Master,’ all the fighting you see on screen were genuine fighting; the actors were hitting each other for real, and it really hurt…The action nowadays is all about romance, and the whole process is so much more careful and meticulous when putting together an action scene.”
At present, Yuen Woo-ping is reuniting with one of his other former pupils, Keanu Reeves, who Woo-ping trained to fight for The Matrix trilogy, in order to direct the action sequences in Reeves’ The Man From Tai Chi.