Twitch Puts Your Questions to Yuen Wo Ping and Kara Wai Ying Hung!

James Marsh, Asian Editor
In the world of martial arts, few names carry as much weight, respect or experience as Chinese actor/director/fight choreographer extraordinaire Yuen Wo Ping. A regular fixture of Hong Kong Cinema since the 1960s, Yuen has been involved in many of the industry's finest productions, from The Drunken Master and Once Upon A Time In China to Iron Monkey and Kung-Fu Hustle. Recent years have seen him work overseas, bringing his unmistakable action choreography to Hollywood in films like The Matrix and Kill Bill, as well as helping reestablish Chinese Action Cinema on the global stage with Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Likewise, actress/beauty/martial artiste par excellence Kara Wai Ying Hung stands proudly as one of Hong Kong Cinema's finest action heroines. Wai has starred in well over 100 films since her debut back in the mid-70s, and her resume boasts such genre classics as My Young Auntie and four Brave Archer films. Recent years have seen a resurgence in Wai's career, thanks to her knockout (not action) performance in At The End of Daybreak, for which she won more than half a dozen awards. Since then she has enjoyed prominent action roles in films such as Peter Chan's Wu Xia, Wilson Yip's A Chinese Ghost Story, and is currently filming Juno Mak's Rigor Mortis.

Twitch has landed a one-off opportunity to interview both Yuen Wo Ping and Kara Wai later this week, and we wanted to offer our readership the chance to send in your own questions. Is there anything you've always wanted to ask these pillars of the kung-fu community, but have never had the opportunity? Well, now you do! Simply write your questions in the comments section below before Wednesday 20th June and I will put the best ones to Mr. Yuen and Ms. Wai later this week! 
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  • James Marsh

    Thanks for all the great questions. Time to go do the interviews!

  • Стас

    To Yuen Wo Ping: How is it important for an actor to know and practice martial arts?

    In today's industry there are very few actors that know how to throw a punch properly, how to make moves with right technique, to know phylosophy of martial art and to know the real deep meaning of martial arts.

    Even in your latest "Once Upon A Time In Shanghai" Philip Ng moves like a wushu sportsman. How he do reverse moves, punch trajectories, jump kicks and all other techniques, all that says that he is more like a sportsman who have never been in a real fight. He looks effective, but this is not a true martial art. Remember Bruce Lee and his movies, Sammo Hung and his movies, they all know basic techniques of martial arts (what is the most important) and you can endlessly watch their moves, because they are beautiful. They don't do useless acrobatics moves and other stuff that currently in vogue. Remember "Kuro Obi", in this movie you can enjoy martial art because of a masters who starred in it. Their movements are very short, fast and focused. That's how we need to show martial arts.

    So, how is it important for an actor to know and practice martial arts? Not sport, but martial art.

  • Sean "The Butcher" Smithson

    That said...

    To Woo Ping - What non-Asian action star working today does he think has some juice?

  • kungfueurotrash

    To Yuen Wo Ping- You are the muthafuckin king!!!

    To Kara- Will you have my babies???

  • Hugo Ozman

    Sounds fantastic, James! One question I'd love to ask Yuen Wo Ping is what he thinks of the future of Hong Kong action cinema (considering all of its leading action stars are starting or looking to wind down and there seems to be no one on the horizon who can really take their places).

  • gotadventure

    To Mr.Y.W.P.-

    As an action choreographer, where do you see is the dividing line to what you want an actor to do physically and what the director wants the actor to do emotionally/performance-wise?

    Follow-up:

    Could you share with us any times where your vision of what a fight scene should accomplish differed from that of the director you were working with?

    OR

    What do you need from a collaboration director or actor to help you achieve your best work?

    Second Question:

    Could you speak a little about how you learned to convey and teach complex choreography to actor with little martial arts backgrounds (Matrix/Kill Bill/Kung Fu Hustle)

    Follow-up:

    How has your teaching method changed over the years? How has this impacted your personal understanding of kung-fu?



    To Mrs. K. W Y. H.-

    You've managed the difficult feat of both conveying incredible beauty and incredible strength on screen what have the difficulties been for you to achieve this balance on-screen or off?

    Follow-up

    What differences have you noticed in the younger actors and actress' you are working with now as compared to when you first started in the business?

    Looking forward to reading the interview.

  • west

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  • Yi

    To Yuen Woo Ping:

    - Many of your movies have been released in the west, but more often than not, western publishers seem to butcher those movies, supposedly to please 'the western audience' (apparently we love incomplete movies, according to these suits(!)).

    Scenes are cut out, soundtracks get changed, voices get dubbed, and sometimjes even the special effects are altered. Often resulting in a poor release, and angry fans.

    How do you, as a director, feel what western publishers are doing to YOUR work!? Do you care, or do you feel it improves these movies for a different audience, or doesn't it matter to you as long as you get paid!? And don't you have ANY say in this!? (I know Ghibli's Miyazaki made it very clear to Disney years ago when they published his movies: 'NO CUTS', sending them a sword, and luckily they obliged)

    To Kara Hui:

    - You are and were so very talented and gifted as an actress and screenfighter, with fans worldwide who adore and respect you. Has there ever been any opportunities offered to you to come to Hollywood and perform in some western movies, in an effort to launch you as a big international female action-star!?

    If so, then why didn't it happen, and if not, why do you feel that was never offered!?

    To both: there seems to be a current trend of putting crappy CGI in HK/Chinese martial arts movies in scenes where it's absolutely NOT needed. A scene in Wing Chun Kung Fu springs to mind where for some reason the ground was CGI(!)

    Why isn't there anyone on the production team who says:" Hey... why not just use a proper ground/floor, cause this looks fake and will take the viewer out of the experience!" !?

    To both:

    - What's your favourite cartoon ever!? Either series or movie.

  • https://www.google.com/account

    YWP: How has action choreography changed by decade since the 60's? Do you believe there was a high point in the field?

  • DooK

    To Woo Ping:



    - To you still keep in touch with Donnie Yen? And what do you think of his work as both a lead actor and action director in the past 7 years?



    - You have both worked with Donnie Yen and Vincent Zhao. How do you feel about the recent feud/rivalry that rose between these two on the set of Donnie's upcoming action film Special Identity?



    - As a veteran action director, what do you think can push martial arts films forward and keep evolving? Which action directors do you think has succeeded giving action choreography a breath of fresh air in recent years and what does it take to keep action choreography constantly fresh and captivating?



    - What have your brothers Yuen Yat-Chor and Brandy Yuen Jan-Yeung been up to in the past 25 years? Yuen Yat-Chor's last appearance was opposite Donnie Yen in In The Line Of Duty 4 (1989) while Brandy Yuen last worked on a film in 1994. Do they have plans to return to film-making?

    To Kara Hui:



    - When and how long did you train with Donnie Yen's mother? And what was your relationship with Donnie at the time?



    - Which actors and directors did you enjoy working the most as of now?



    - Which actors and directors would you like to work with in the future?



    - How long do you feel you can take on action film roles? And how do you keep yourself in good shape before making action films?

  • Ooooooh ... DooK is opening the Donnie Yen can of worms. Might be a conversation killer but I'd be really curious how he answers this ...

  • Hanajun

    A pretty specific question for both legends:

    Just recently watched "Gallants" again, and found myself enjoying the montage of the training sequence for its comedy. "True Legend" uses training more in service to the character and their dramatic journey. How do you approach and prepare such a crucial scene celebrated in this genre and how difficult can it be for the players involved?

  • Vlad

    To Yuen Woo Ping:

    -Now that we have more CG in MA films, does it feel like it impacts the experience that past MA movie fans have always enjoyed with real fights and stunts?

    -How do you see the future for MA films? Will we be seeing more crossovers with international actors (Hollywood?), therefore increasing the international appeal to a wider audience or bigger budget movies like Red Cliff in the MA genre.

    - Are there any current projects you are either involved in or not, that you are looking forward to that you can share with your fans?

    To Kara Hui:

    - How different is it working in action scenes compared to the past? Do you feel that martial arts films have opened to more actors now that we have better technology so fights can be computer stimulated?

    - With the opening up of the Mainland, a lot of HK films now have mainland actors. Does the language barrier sometimes prove to be a problem when trying to act in 2 different languages?

    - A lot of MA films are usually based on Chinese history. Is there a particular era you like acting in based on the scenery, dresses or history?

  • riceahomie

    To Yuen Woo Ping:

    - Have you considered making any wacky new films like you did with your brothers in the old days, such as Taoism Drunkard?

    For Kara Hui:

    - Any chance of crossing over the the US anytime soon, ala Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi?

  • arturo

    To Yuen woo Ping

    What is the one film that you think has the best choreographed fight sequence, one that you were not involved with?? And what do you think of the fights in The Raid?? Would you consider working with Iko Uwais or Tony Jaa??

  • Good Grief

    For Yuen Woo Ping:

    - You directed your own "Drunken Master" sequel-of-sorts in "Dance of the Drunken Mantis." With Jackie Chan directing HIS sequel in 1994 and Liu Chia Liang directing the the ill received "Drunken Master 3," have you considered revisiting the series and directing a new Drunken Master film?

    - With kung fu legends like Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Gordon Liu and many others slowing down these days, all eyes look towards people like Dennis To, Fan Siu Wong, Tony Jaa and Wu Jing. Who do YOU think has the ability and potential longevity to become the next big martial arts star?

    - Were you happy with "True Legend" and the subsequent reaction towards it?

    - Of all the fights you have choreographed, which, in your opinion, is the greatest?

    For Kara Hui:

    - Was it difficult being a woman in the male dominated genre of kung fu cinema during the 70's and 80's? How did you maintain such consistent output?

    - What is the worst injury you have sustained whilst filming?

    - Do you have any stories/anecdotes about working with Liu Chia Liang?

  • hhdang1989

    To Yuen Woo-Ping:

    - Is there a chance that you would work with Donnie Yen again?

    - How is the progress of Keanu Reeves' directorial debut, MAN OF TAI CHI going? Any upcoming overseas projects in the future?

    To Kara Hui:

    - How does it feel to get back into the martial arts genre, with films like Wu Xia and Rigor Mortis?

    - With you starring in a remake of A Chinese Ghost Story, what do you think of remakes these days, like Flying Swords of Dragon Gate and the Legendary Amazons? How would you feel if there was a remake of My Young Auntie? =)

  • Qinlong

    To Yuen Woo Ping :

    - Of the countless martial arts luminaries you choreographed fights for, with whom did you enjoy working most ?

    - Do you intend a return to directing on a regular basis like you did up to the mid-90's, or was TRUE LEGEND more of a one-off comeback ?

    To Kara Hui :

    - Will you marry me ?

    - Do you intend to keep taking actiony roles, or do you mean to move exclusively into dramatic (or comedic) roles ?

  • mightyjoeyoung

    "Is there anything you've always wanted to ask these pillars of the kung-fu community, but have never had the opportunity?"

    Do both of them think that Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon made the wuxia genre popular among westerners?

    That this films global impact sort of made people more aware of that type of chinese film productions?

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