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Who will know that the road to “Long Hu Men’ is so full of trials and tribulations even in real-life. If the movie portrayed a series of life struggles for the main protagonists, then the road to bringing this 35 years old HK manga to the big screen is equally a daunting one for Producer Raymond Wong.

Wong who was in town with Director Wilson Yip and upcoming HK star Shawn Yue were at Clark Quay, Crazy Horse on 20 July for the press conference of “Long Hu Men” (direct translated in English as “Dragon Tiger Gate”). Wong with his shades on admitted to the media that his closest associates actually caution him about adapting DTG to the big screen upon hearing about his intention. Ironically, among them who did so is the original comic artist of DTG, Tony Wong Yuk-Long. How is it possible to translate such a well-loved comic legacy of all time and compressed them into a 2 hours odd movie? But Raymond and co-producer Shi-Nansun (wife of the acclaimed Tsui Hark) persist and did it.

In addition, rumours were rife that over 18 stars rejected the various roles in the script which in turn went through several drafts and rewrites itself. When prompt further by the media who were the 18 stars involved, Raymond remains tight-lipped but he did confirm the rumours are for real.

Since Shawn is the only star present as Donnie Yen and Nicholas Tse were held up by other filming commitments, it’s not a surprise Yue has to answer majority of the questions posed. Yue who spent 3 months mastering the basics of Nan-chakus under Donnie Yen’s stunt team even suffered a serious asthma attack during filming. Apparently, the weather was bitterly cold and Yue quietly endured throughout one of the scenes (which requires him to lie down for a period of time on the ground) just to speed up the day’s filming. Fortunately, his co-star Nicolas Tse came to the rescue and managed to calm his asthma by giving him…coffee. Now we have another great reason to down ourselves with our favourite drink to last us over the long nights of labouring at moviexclusive.com.

Shawn hopes to venture into another genre after DTG simply he’s one person who prefers not to repeat himself. In other words, you might find it hard to spot Shawn in another cop thriller or action piece unless the script is too good to be passed over.

Director Wilson Yip lets on that it took approximately one month each just to build the various sets which include “The Inn” and the infamous “Dragon Tiger Gate” in China, Hengdian. A record-breaking sandbag was also built to signify the formidable power of the villian, Shibumi who uses the sandbag for his training punches in the movie. It holds the Guinness World Records for being the largest sandbag ever built for a prop weighing at 141kg and 2.5m tall.

Yip who emphasized that Raymond never imposed any stress on him during filming added that he was very fortunate to have Donnie Yen onboard as action choreographer and the main lead. Apparently, production work begins straight away once Yen committed to the lead role of “Dragon Wong” after filming another Raymond Wong’s production, “Seven Swords” last year.

Consider that Donnie has to juggle dual roles in DTG, Yip feels that the latter is the one having the most stress instead.

Costing a hefty US$10 million (a highly substantial amount for a HK production) and over 100 working days, “Dragon Tiger Gate” is a not-to-be missed HK movie to grace the screen this year. Join “Dragon”, “Tiger” and “Turbo” in the theaters as they fight through life tribulations and defeat the ultimate villain, Shibumi. The showdown begins…

“Dragon Tiger Gate” opens islandwide on 28 July 2006 and is review here.

Press Report/Layout : Linus Tee | Photos : Richard Lim Jr
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