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 HKCinemagic 2

Statistics :
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Interview with Leo Au-Yeung, Behind the Scenes of Ip Man
Ip Man and Beyond 1/1 - Page 4
Author(s) : Mike Fury
Date : 7/7/2010
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Sammo Hung Kam Bo
Lau Kar Leung
Tony Leung Siu Hung
Jet Li
Movies :
Once Upon A Time In China
Companies :
Shaw Brothers
Lexic :
Hung Gar
Wing Chun
Wong Fei-hong
< Previous
Page 3 : Ip Man: The Legend is Born
Thanks to Leo Au-Yeung for participating in the interview

All photos courtesy of Leo Au-Yeung.

You can visit Leo Au-Yeung’s website at: http://www.chinesekungfu.co.uk

HKCinemagic: What is your best experience working on the Ip Man movies?
Leo Au-Yeung: My best experience would have to be gaining a real understanding of filmmaking and seeing how movies are a team effort. It’s never just about the actor or star. People like Donnie are obviously brilliant but there are so many other people supporting him like the director, choreographer, stuntmen and so many others. It really made me appreciate the team effort and respect every single person working on the movie, no matter what the job title is. Something else I learned to appreciate was each and every fight sequence. Going back to that fight scene which lasts 30 seconds on film but took one week to setup, it made me realize all the work that goes on behind the scenes. I’m also really happy to have made so many new friends like Sammo and Tony [Leung Siu-hung] and to have had the opportunity to work with them all.

Leo Au-Yeung relaxing and dining with Fan Siu Wong
HKCinemagic: Is there potential for more in the Ip Man series?
Leo Au-Yeung: With these two new movies released this year, I think it’s best to see what the audience thinks first. If the movies do very well and everyone enjoys them, I’d definitely like to see more. I can say there is a film in the very early stages which could form Ip Man 3. The story would focus on Ip Man’s four major students: their lives, how they learned Wing Chun, their relationship with their teacher, Ip Man and so on. This is a project which could start up in the future if the next two movies do well.

Leo Au-Yeung on the set
HKCinemagic: Is there anything new you’re working on at this time?
Leo Au-Yeung: Since so many people know and associate Ip Man with Wing Chun, we were thinking about a movie to portray Hung Gar. Everyone is already familiar with Jet Li playing Wong Fei-hong in the Once Upon a Time in China movies so we didn’t want to repeat that. Wong Fei Hung’s senior student, Lam Sai Wing had a student called Lau Cham. Lau Cham was similar to Ip Man in that he brought Hung Gar to Hong Kong. He was also the father of Lau Kar Leung, the legendary Shaw Brothers filmmaker and actor. Since Lau Kar-Leung is also my grandmaster, we’d very much like to get him involved. Hopefully we could get started on this within the next year.
HKCinemagic: Did you consciously want to try a different style in your next film project?
Leo Au-Yeung: Yes, I was very keen to try something different. I practice and teach Hung Gar already and felt I’d done everything I could in portraying Wing Chun on film. Ip Man made Wing Chun popular with a lot of people so we thought it would be nice to do the same thing for Hung Gar because it’s a very nice system as well.

Leo Au-Yeung teaching in China under extreme conditions
HKCinemagic: With the popularity of the UFC and MMA training, how do you see yourself bringing martial arts to film in the future? Do you see yourself adapting to show a modern approach or sticking closely to traditional conventions?
Leo Au-Yeung: Movies are aimed at an audience who, for the most part, have little or no understanding of martial arts so obviously you compromise a little to show the most interesting elements. This is something I’ve had to learn myself; I can’t just show Wing Chun or Hung Gar, the aim is to absorb people and attract them to the martial arts. The first goal is make the movements nice so for that purpose I don’t mind mixing up moves and showing different stuff but obviously all within a certain margin. For example, I would never show a Hung Gar expert suddenly doing chain punching but I might have a Hung Gar expert use a Judo style throw so long as it flows. For myself, in terms of teaching, I don’t compromise and I’m a very traditional person. If I teach Wing Chun, I’ll only teach Wing Chun. What I often do is show my students the similarities and differences between styles because it’s the person who controls the martial art, not the other way around. If you understand it, you are the driver. To be honest, I’m not aiming to become more involved in making movies but only to improve people’s understanding and interest in martial arts. I see movies as a means to communicate that message.
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Page 3 : Ip Man: The Legend is Born

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