|This article's references may not meet Wikipedia's guidelines for reliable sources. Please help by checking whether the references meet the criteria for reliable sources. (October 2010)|
|This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.|
|Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame|
|Directed by||Tsui Hark|
|Screenplay by||Chen Kuofu|
|Story by||Lin Qianyu (novel)|
Tony Leung Ka-fai
Huayi Brothers (China, International)|
Emperor Motion Pictures (Hong Kong)
|Release date(s)||29 September 2010(China) |
30 September 2010 (Hong Kong)
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, is a 2010 epic mystery film that is a fictional account of Di Renjie, one of the most celebrated officials of the Tang Dynasty. A co-production between China and Hong Kong, the film was directed by Tsui Hark from a screenplay written by Chen Kuofu. The film is an adaptation of the book, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, authored by Lin Qianyu. The film stars Andy Lau as the lead role, and features art direction and fight choreography by Sammo Hung. The film's supporting cast includes Carina Lau, Li Bingbing, Deng Chao and Tony Leung Ka-fai. Principal photography for Detective Dee began in May 2009; the film was shot at Hengdian World Studios in Zhejiang, China. Detective Dee was released in China on 23 September 2010 and in Hong Kong on 30 September 2010. The film was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 2010 Venice Film Festival. The film also made its North America debut by premiering at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.
When the mysterious deaths of a series of loyal subjects threaten to delay the 690 A.D. inauguration of Empress Wu Zetian, she summons the infamous Detective Dee back from an exile into which she cast him eight years earlier.
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phanton Flame is a co-production between Chinese production company Huayi Brothers (also the film's distributor) and production company Film Workshop. The film will be Film Workshop's 50th feature film as a producer. The film was directed by Tsui Hark, who co-produced the film with his wife Nansun Shi. The screenplay was written by Chen Kuofu, the Chinese screenwriter of the 2008 films Forever Enthralled and If You Are the One. Fight choreography and art direction for the film was handled by Sammo Hung.
Prior to filming Detective Dee, Tsui had spent years doing research on stories concerning Tang Dynasty official Di Renjie. Chen Kuofu first approached Tsui with a screenplay based on the life of Di Renjie.
Tsui first announced production plans in 2008, while promoting his previous film All About Women at the 13th Pusan International Film Festival. At the time, Tsui had pondered on whether to make Detective Dee or remake the 1966 film Dragon Gate Inn.
For the lead role as Di Renjie, Tsui originally had Tony Leung Ka-fai, along with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai in mind. Tsui commented on choosing an actor to play Di Renjie: "Who said that Di Ren Jie must be plump and old? He could also be very handsome. Wits and looks can balance one another." On 5 January 2009, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Andy Lau would star in the lead role. On 29 April 2009, it was announced that Carina Lau, Li Bingbing, Deng Chao and Tony Leung Ka-Fai would appear in supporting roles.
Principal photography for Detective Dee began in May 2009, with a budget of $13 million; the film was shot in Zhejiang, China at Hengdian World Studios, which is one of the largest film studios in the world. Detective Dee has been described as one of Tsui's most personal films to date. During production, Tsui would reportedly work consistently on the set, barely getting enough sleep.
Sammo Hung served as an action director for the film and his stunt team built eight platforms (12 meters tall) in the cave for three days of wire work. The record was over 70 wires for one scene. One of the sculptures was a 80 metre bust of Empress Wu Zetian, a key element of the film that cost $12 million to design and decorate. During production, reporters were invited to enter the bust's interior, which included a 12 meter tall circular platform. Outside of the platform hung red and white drapes that were full of scriptures.
Detective Dee's martial arts sequences will be choreographed by Sammo Hung, who worked extensively alongside actors Andy Lau and Li Bingbing. Tsui choose Hung as a choreographer, feeling that his work had shades of Bruce Lee. Of the fight sequences for the film, Tsui commented that they would be similar to that of Ip Man, as they would aim for realism with actual punches and kicks. This would prove difficult for actors who had no martial arts experience. Of the two actors, Li Bingbing had no experience in martial arts, and her role required that she use various weapons in the film such as a whip and a sword.