Oscar-winning director Ang Lee (李安) is back in Taiwan to celebrate his mother's 80th birthday, and also received the Order of the Brilliant Star Second Class from president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). His reception during this visit has marked him out as a local hero and virtual superstar, and although notoriously shy and soft-spoken, he has been quick to capitalize on his prestige with people in high places.
At a conference on Taiwan's movie industry, Premiere Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) felt that he was no more than a warm up act for the director, and was even the victim of a little good natured reprimand, when Lee took him to task on the government's cultural development policies.
At a talk given at his alma mater, Lee called on students to enjoy "their age of innocence," to enjoy life and not take their studies too seriously. At the same time, he issued a call to arms, saying that "culture is a competition," and that Taiwan's students must not loose their educational advantage over students in China. The man seems a little conflicted; is this the result of too much attention?
With the imminent release of Jasmine Women (茉莉花開), leading actress Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) has found yet another podium from which gripe -- the cause, the fact that she didn't get a cuddle from Ang Lee despite all her hard work in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ( 臥虎藏龍). She criticized Lee for being stingy with his praise on set, and said that Michelle Yeoh (楊紫瓊) would often get a hug of encouragement. Poor neglected darling, and after all these years as well.
Lee responded by saying that he had simply been too embarrassed to show such a young starlet.
Boyband F4 were interviewed on the CNN program Talk Asia last month. On the program, which aired last week, the group revealed a level of vacuousness in conversation with host Lorraine Hahn that needed to be seen to be believed. When asked about future prospects, band member Vanness (吳建豪), who was brought up in the US, said the band hoped to break into the US market. Good luck to them, but good looks, a floppy hairdo and boyish charm can only achieve so much.
Speaking of talent, or the lack thereof, singer Wang Lee-hom (王力宏) got a rather backhanded compliment when his two albums failed to make it into the top 10 Chinese-language albums this year. He didn't make it last year either, but he was hanging tough, saying that as long as his fans continued to support him, rankings such as this one hardly mattered. Well that's one way of saying he's not too fazed that critics think he lacks talent.
David Tao, who has had four albums in the top 10, was rather prissy when he said that he was happy to be selected again, and how glad he was to be selected on talent alone, as he was not entangled in many steamy scandals.
May Day's (五月天) Asian tour came to an end earlier this week at Hong Kong's Colosseum (香港紅勘體育館). There was no doubt that they were hugely popular with the crowd, whose repeated calls of "encore" dragged the concert out for three hours, with the result that the band were fined NT$60,000 by the Hong Kong police for exceeding the scheduled concert time.
Amid all this excitement, it has emerged that May Day's drummer Ming (冠佑) went off the rails when the group was in Shanghai late last month. Ming has made a statement to the effect that he is still faithful to his fiancee Wang Hsing-chi (王行芝), but comments by the woman in question have done nothing to douse the gossip.