Man of Tai Chi
by Yohei Taneda
Man of Tai Chi, Keanu Reeves’s directorial debut film, to be released on July 5th in China
Keanu Reeves becomes just like a boy as he talks about ideas on a film – being so innocent, honest, and earnest. But once he began to film his first–ever endeavor as a director, he turned serious. His eyes were also stern when he looked at the performers. It should be natural for a man who has been leading his life as an actor, for more than 30 years. I felt he got more nervous when acted as well.
I heard Bernardo Bertolucci once told Keanu had ‘impossible innocence’ in him when the director chose him as a lead, Buddha in “Little Buddha”. I found him just the same, even as a director, he was surely, totally, innocent. I spent a year working with him, feeling to embrace that innocence closely.
The film, “Man of Tai Chi” is going to be released finally. The set I made up was meant to be ‘a place for a fight’, which I had not worked upon for a long time, since KILL BILL Vol.1. I’m looking forward to the film’s release. ———Yohei Taneda
Keanu Reeves, one of those world-famous actors, made his directorial debut with “Man of Tai Chi”, a film based upon his own project. And this will be shown, first in China, followed by the winter premier in the US.
Called up are, action director Yuen Woo Ping, who created those vivid scenes of action through “The Matrix “ series, his disciple Tiger Chen playing the leading character, as well as director of photography Elliot Davis ( “Twilight” ) from Hollywood, and Yohei Taneda, production designer from Japan. Their collaboration resulted in this great entertainment action film, after spending more than a year for preparation, filming and finish-up.
In Beijing, where the good old days being cast away as the city keeps on hurtling, Chen’s character seeks to learn and uphold a traditional martial arts, Tai-chi, while he tries to live his life according to teachings Tai-chi imparts to them. He comes to face a cold-blooded man (Keanu Reeves) , who secretly organizes fight matches, without a sense of guilt in breaking a law, even though he behaves like a righteous man of business. Depicting the battle between the two, Reeves presents us a question, about the importance of a balance between tradition and progress, as well as difficulties to keep that balance.
Filmed in Beijing and Hong-Kong, joined by people from a vast variety of countries as US, China, Hong-Kong, Japan, Australia, and so on. Ahead of its release in Japan, you can enjoy the film in China, or in America.