Fri, Aug 16, 2002 - Page 18 News List

Michelle Yeoh shows true colors

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Michelle Yeoh at her press conference in Taipei Wednesday.


Dressed in bright red, Michelle Yeoh (楊紫瓊) came to Taipei yesterday to attend the premiere of The Touch, her latest film which kept her busy both in front of and behind the cameras. She smiled and laughed more than during her last visit, when she came to promote Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Her Mandarin also sounds more fluent.

Yeoh should be happy. For the past two weeks she and her boyfriend and co-producer, Thomas Chung, have been touring China's major cities from Beijing to Wuhan and Chengdu, promoting the film. The result looks satisfying. In the two weeks after its release in China, the film reached a box office tally of 17 million renminbi, which surpassed the Chinese box office sales of Spiderman and Star Wars: Episode II.

"My feelings shifted from being extremely nervous to excited and now I feel really happy and relaxed," Yeoh said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Standing beside her, Pater Pau (鮑得熹), who also pulled double duty as the film's director and cinematographer, said that Yeoh is not just smiling now, she's smiling in the film, too.

"She was the typical Chinese woman in Crouching Tiger, repressing her feelings towards her beloved and her anger towards her enemy," Pau said. "In Tomorrow Never Dies, she was too cool and serious." So in The Touch, Pau said the audience will see the true Michelle Yeoh, who likes to laugh and make jokes. There are also kisses with Ben Chaplin in the film.

The Touch is one of the few Hong Kong-produced films with a budget over US$20 million. Investors in the film include Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. "Chinese filmmaking is now beginning to change its face from small-budget kung fu films to bigger and bigger productions," Pau said. "Touch is among the first ones to make this change," he added.

Helen Huang (黃寶雲), chairperson of Pandasia Entertainment, is the film's Taiwanese investor. Her company put up nearly one-third of the film's budget. "Enterprises in Taiwan do have the willingness and the vision to invest in films with international appeal," she said. "The film is a good example of this."

The Touch sees many former Crouching Tiger actors and crew members, including late Taiwanese actor Lung Sihung (郎雄), who came to fame playing the father figure in most of Ang Lee's (李安) films. The Touch was Lung's last film and perhaps his most difficult as, at age 72, he had to memorize his lines in English. He plays a Tibetan monk in the film.

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