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Interview with Leo Au-Yeung, Behind the Scenes of Ip Man
Ip Man: The Legend is Born 1/1 - Page 3
Author(s) : Mike Fury
Date : 7/7/2010
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Chen Zhi Hui
Sammo Hung Kam Bo
Yuen Biao
Movies :
Ip Man
Ip Man 2
Ip Man 2
The Legend Is Born - Ip Man
Sha Po Lang
Lexic :
Hung Gar
Wing Chun
< Previous
Page 2 : Bringing Wing Chun to the Screen
Next >
Page 4 : Ip Man and Beyond
All photos courtesy of Leo Au-Yeung.

HKCinemagic: Ip Man fans are eagerly anticipating the new movies. Can you tell us more?
Leo Au-Yeung: There are two new movies out in 2010. As it’s the latest release, first I’ll mention The Legend is Born which is a prequel about what happens before the events of the first film. After the original Ip Man movie, this is the second film I worked on. Unfortunately I didn’t work on Ip Man 2 and this was due to my own time and scheduling issues and so with what little time I had available, I really wanted to focus on the prequel and help tell the story of the young Ip Man.
HKCinemagic: What did you hope to do differently with The Legend is Born?
Leo Au-Yeung: For this movie, we really wanted to demonstrate to the audience why Ip Man is a legend and how he learned Wing Chun. In terms of the fight scenes we had a very strong objective which was to make the action better than what we saw in the first film! To do this we took a step back and decided to examine everything you can do in Wing Chun. For example, Wing Chun in short distance or close-quarters fighting, Wing Chun against ground fighting and basically showing the style against different Martial Arts. We’ll show Wing Chun against Karate, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and of course Wing Chun itself. We also wanted to show more of the traditional weapons because the first film didn’t go into too much detail about the long pole or using knives. It was an opportunity to pull out everything we missed before and bring something fresh for the audience. The film will be released in Hong Kong in July 2010.

Leo Au-Yeung with To Yue Hong, star of Ip Man: The Legend is Born
HKCinemagic: Tell us about the story…
Leo Au-Yeung: This film follows Ip Man’s life from when he was 18 to 28. It looks at how he learned Wing Chun and where he learned it from. It looks at his early training in China right through to his father sending him to study in Hong Kong. He met a guy called Leung Pak who inspired him in his training and took his Wing Chun to the next level. In this movie, Yip Chun will be acting as Leung Pak. Even though a lot of facts are covered, being a movie and not a documentary we had to change some parts of the story to create good guys and bad guys. Ip Man obviously plays the good guy and Fan Siu Wong will be returning as a bad guy, playing a different character from the first movie. In the story, they start as brothers at the same school but when Ip Man leaves for Hong Kong, Fan Siu Wong’s character leaves to study Japanese martial arts and learns Karate, using swords, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other styles of combat. When they face off, this is how we were able to apply the different styles and show something new. The story also shows how Ip Man met his wife and gives the background to their relationship.
HKCinemagic: Yuen Biao, ‘little brother’ and long-time collaborator of Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan also acted in the movie. What was it like working with him?
Leo Au-Yeung: Yuen Biao and Sammo Hung both have acting roles in the film playing kung fu brothers. Yuen Biao plays Ip Man’s teacher in Mainland China. The great thing is that we have a fight between Yuen Biao and Sammo demonstrating different techniques within Wing Chun. Yuen Biao would sometimes watch the fight scenes we were choreographing and make some comments or add ideas. He was a good guy and it was nice to work with him. Chen Zhi Hui who was in the first Ip Man movie will also be returning but this time playing Ip Man’s father. Again, we have Fan Siu Wong playing the bad guy, so a lot of the team from the first movie came back for The Legend is Born.

Leo Au-Yeung with Yuen Biao
HKCinemagic: How long were you working on the prequel?
Leo Au-Yeung: I was there for nearly two months in total. The work ethic I followed was similar to the first film. To begin, I worked with the actors, teaching them the main techniques and movements of Wing Chun. I didn’t spend as much time on this stage as many of the actors and team were returning from the first movie and already had a good understanding. However, for The Legend is Born, I had a lot more involvement in the choreography, compared to the first movie. For the original Ip Man movie, I was only involved in the choreography for roughly half the fight scenes. In The Legend is Born, I was involved from start to finish and was a lot more personally involved in the fight coordination.
HKCinemagic: For those who haven’t seen it yet, could you tell us a little about Ip Man 2?
Leo Au-Yeung: The story follows Ip Man in Hong Kong when he starts taking on Wing Chun students. The story is somewhat fictionalised but features Sammo playing a Hung Gar godfather-style gangster, similar to the type of role he played in S.P.L. So his character has his own school and students and a rivalry follows. The story portrays Ip Man’s work bringing Wing Chun to Hong Kong but in terms of the action, the main idea was to demonstrate Wing Chun against Hung Gar and show the difference in styles: high stance versus low stance and how they take each other on. It also looks at the different martial arts as different sides - do they have to oppose each other or can they be friends? The way the films were shot, the team filming Ip Man 2 would sometimes come to watch us on the set of The Legend is Born to try and see which movie was going to be better! [laughs]
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