The fantasy world of THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM

For all of his experience shooting in China, THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM is by far the biggest film Pau has shot there. “I had to put up two units with more than fifty crew members each for the cameras, lighting and grip departments,” he says. “For everyone to maintain a consistently high standard and professional working attitude in a 17-week shoot with three to five weeks of preparation was quite a challenge indeed. But I must say I am very pleased with my crew and their working spirit.”

Unlike the cool de-saturated tones he lent to CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, Pau created a vivid, saturated color palette, inspired by Van Gogh’s paintings, for the fantasy world of THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM. For the action sequences, Pau meticulously timed camera movements in order to emphasize the acrobatic moves. He explains, “The crane movement usually involves one or more crane operators, dolly operators, a zoom control person, either on a Technocrane or zoom lens, while I operate the remote control head. To put all these people in sync with the fast paced action requires what I called ‘dancing beats’. All the relevant crew must memorize the action beats in order to do this right. A dedicated crew has to work years together to achieve such a result.”

When it came time to find an action choreographer, the filmmakers agreed there was only one choice: Yuen Wo Ping. As Silver says, “The only choreographer who could truly stand in the middle between these two giants, Jackie and Jet, and serve each of them was Yuen Wo Ping.”

An action-film director and star in China, with an avid cult following in the United States, Ping catapulted onto the world stage in the 1990s with his action choreography for such seminal films as the Wachowski Brother’s THE MATRIX trilogy, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, and Quentin Tarantino’s KILL BILL, VOL. I and II. Li, who has worked with Ping on his recent films, FEARLESS and UNLEASHED, was adamant that he be the choreographer for THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM. “Everyone knows that Woo Ping is the best action director in China and in the world. That is why I really pushed very hard to work with him again in this movie.”

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