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Home arrow Entertainment arrow Dark Gallery arrow "CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON"’S MICHELLE YEOH
Written by By Mitch Persons   
Jul 01, 2004 at 02:00 AM
Michelle Yeoh is on her way from the LeMeridien Hotel in Los Angeles, California to L.A. Airport. Still, this very gracious woman manages to break away from her entourage for a few minutes to talk about Sony/Columbia’s CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.
The film, for which director Ang Lee won a Golden Globe Award, is billed as a martial arts saga, but is actually a lyrical, dream-like morality tale about the pursuit of a magical sword called The Green Destiny. The pursuit affects the lives of a martial arts master named Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat,) his close friend Yu Shu Lien (Yeoh,) a young girl, Jen Yu (Zhang Ziyi,) and a mysterious bandit, Jade Fox.
Up close, the delectable Yeoh, who is best known to American audiences for her performance as Colonel Wai-Lin in the James Bond film TOMORROW NEVER DIES, appears younger, slighter, and considerably more animated than the noble, if somewhat dour, character that she plays in her new movie. Her bubbliness increases when she talks about the uniqueness of the film.
"Yes," says Yeoh, flashing a lovely, infectious smile, "CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON is a very poetic, beautiful, very lyrical movie, where the drama and then the balance with the martial arts are in harmony with each other, where one doesn’t overwhelm the other. With this genre of film, too often the martial arts sort of takes over the entire movie, and the beautiful stories, the powerful, complex emotions that these myths and legends have, are put too much into the background.
"I think Ang Lee found that blend. Instead of opening with a typical action sequence, where people who have not seen this genre of film before sit back and go, ‘Why are these people running on rooftops?’ the movie opens with the strains of Yo-Yo Ma on the cello, and the stirring music of composer Tan Dun that introduce you into a fantasy world. This is a world where people defy gravity, float over houses, do weightless somersaults. Ang quietly and effectively sets up a world which tells about these people that have trained for years of their lives and have sacrificed a lot of their emotional side to be these incredible heroes, warriors, and $$$then$$$ goes into the action sequences.
"Those scenes, the fights, are also something different than your typical martial arts confrontations. The main fight sequences were done by myself and the character of the young girl Jen who is this rebellious, possessive, yet emotionally vulnerable individual. The scenes weren’t about killing. They weren’t about revenge. They were about trying to tame a wild horse. They were lessons. Then when Li fought with her, it was trying to school her, rather than trying to dispatch her.
"The only time the fights were about revenge and killing was when a police officer confronted Jade Fox to avenge the murder of his wife. It was an incredibly violent fight, and it culminated in a bizarre and bloody death. But for the most part, that was something Ang wanted to stay away from, because he did not want to do violence just for violence’s sake."

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