By Erik Crouch
More than a decade after the original’s release, a sequel to Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” has been announced, and will begin filming as early as May. Lee, who recently received 11 Oscar nominations for “Life of Pi,” will not be directing the new film: there is talk that Ronny Yu (best known for the 2006 Jet Li film “Fearless”) will be taking the reigns, but The Weinstein Company producers have been tight-lipped with details.
Here’s what we know so far: John Fusco (“The Forbidden Kingdom”) has written the script, which is based on the book “Silver Vase, Iron Knight” – the fifth text in the “Iron Pentalogy” series by Wang Du Lu, of which “Crouching Tiger” was the fourth. The story will follow several characters from the original film, but likely with a different cast. IndieWire offers a summary of the “Silver Vase, Iron Knight” story, along with the actors who played each role in “Crouching Tiger”:
[Spoilers!] Jen (Zhang Ziyi) gives birth to Lo’s (Chang Chen) son. Fang secretly replaces her son with a baby girl, Silver Vase. Later Fang is robbed and rescued by an armed escort. Jen’s son is taken to Han Wen Pei’s home by the maid and named Iron Knight. After growing up, Iron Knight travels miles to look for his parents. When he finally meets Jen and Lo in the desert, he doesn’t recognize them until they are both killed in front of him. The pentalogy ends when Iron Knight and Silver Vase are joined together. In the end, Yu Shu Lian (Yeoh) dies from disease and Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) loses his chance to be with her forever. But the biggest tragedy is the tiger (Lo) perishes in the icy mountain and the dragon (Jen) gets lost in the desert.
When released, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” became the highest grossing foreign film in both the US and the UK, and earned more than US$200 million, despite a film budget of just US$17 million. Whether the sequel can achieve such success remains to be seen, but it does promise desert-roaming dragons, icy tigers, and parental estrangement.