Keanu Reeves (second, right) unveils the trailer of his first directorial debut "Man of Tai Chi" at a press conference during the 3rd Beijing International Film Festival on Saturday, April 20 in Beijing. The film will be shot in China and it is co-financed by Village Roadshow Pictures Asia, China Film Group, Wanda Media and Universal. Reeves, who also will cast as the villain in the film, Tiger Hu Chen will star as the protagonist in the lead rule of the movie. [CRIENGLISH.com/Zhang Linruo]
Keanu Reeves unveiled the details and first trailer of his directorial debut "Man of Tai Chi" during a Beijing press conference on Saturday.
Reeves is the biggest star so far to make an appearance at the 3rd Beijing International Film Festival.
The film star said he loved China's culture and food, especially the spicy Sichuan dishes. When asked if he wanted to say something in regards to the big earthquake that occurred just Saturday morning in Ya'an City of Sichuan Province, Reeves, who has previously claimed to have 1/8 Chinese blood running through his veins, sent his best wishes to the quake's victims and their families and said he wanted to help.
Reeves will play the main villainous character in "Man of Tai Chi" and the action choreography hails from famous Kung Fu choreographer Yuen Woo Ping, who also choreographed the impressive moves in "The Matrix" trilogy.
"This is an extraordinary experience working with Yuen Woo Ping and I grew up with films he had choreographed," Reeves said. The two met during "The Matrix" production and have maintained a good relationship ever since -- fifteen years and counting. "I have learned a lot from him," he added.
When asked why he chose Tai Chi as the theme of his directorial debut, Reeves explained, "I developed an interest in martial arts -- particularly Tai Chi boxing -- during the filming of "The Matrix" and had dreams to direct my first picture in China."
Reeves and other participants in the conference subsequently watched the first trailer for "Man of Tai Chi."
Yuen was also present during the press conference and explained, "Reeves is a foreigner so he didn't know much about Chinese martial arts; when we first met, he didn't perform too well. But after receiving four-month training from his master Tiger Chen, and putting in a lot of effort, the final results are really good."
Chen, who Reeves refers to as being both his "master" and "brother," takes on the leading role of "Man of Tai Chi." This is first time the man who worked behind scenes stepped in front of the camera to take the lead in a would-be Kung Fu blockbuster.
According to Reeves, there will be 18 Kung Fu fighting scenes which will take up a total 40 minutes of the movie. Reeves denied the movie being yet another special effects film, and explained "Man of Tai Chi" will focus on the real Kung Fu and understanding of martial arts.
The movie, starring Chen, Reeves himself as well as Karen Mok and Simon Yam, is set for a summer release in China this year.