Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Ang Lee‘s Oscar-winning mystical martial arts romantic adventure with touching performances and astounding fight scenes choreographed by the great Yuen Wo Ping, was an international smash success when it was released in the final months of 2000. More than half of its $213.5 million worldwide box office take was made in the U.S. and later was honored with ten Academy Award nominations, four of which the film won including Best Foreign Film. Not since the release Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon nearly three decades before had a martial arts epic had such a widespread cultural impact. Many films attempted to emulate Crouching Tiger‘s style and global success, including Curse of the Golden Flower and House of Flying Daggers, with little or no luck.
Crouching Tiger had been based on the fourth novel in the Crane Iron Pentalogy by wuxia novelist Wang Dulu, leaving open the possibility of sequels. The family of Dulu, who died in 1977, saw very little money from the box office take of the movie, so they were reluctant to make a deal for the rights to the other novels in the Crane Iron series with Sony, the distributor of Crouching Tiger. After a drawn-out battle the Weinstein Company emerged triumphant with the rights and now plans to begin production on an untitled sequel this May. The movie will be based on Silver Vase, Iron Knight, the fifth novel in the Pentalogy, and John Fusco, the screenwriter of Young Guns and Hidalgo among others, has been retained for scripting duties.
“This was an opportunity to explore a lifelong passion I’ve had for Wu Sia, and if there wasn’t continuing source material, I would never have gotten involved,” Fusco said in an interview with Mike Fleming Jr. at Deadline. The sequel will involve around the continuing adventures of the warrior Yu Shu Lien, played in the first movie by Michelle Yeoh. Although it is not yet known if other actors from Crouching Tiger will return for the new film, Fusco has confidence that they will and promises a grand, sweeping adventure to match the scale of the first movie:
“This introduces a new generation of star-crossed lovers, and a new series of antagonists in a battle of good and evil. It has a Knights Errant quality. There is an alternate universe in the books, a martial forest that exists alongside the real world, full of wandering sword fighters, medicine men, defrocked priests, poets, sorcerers and Shaolin renegades. It’s so vast and rich, and I found characters from the second and third books in the series to create a most interesting stew while being as true to the source material as I could be.”
Fusco is hoping Yuen Wo Ping will return to choreograph more dazzling martial arts battles. Ronny Yu, who has produced and directed more than his share of stylish Hong Kong action epics in the past, is being sought for the director’s chair. Once the production gets a director casting is expected to begin. Harvey Weinstein will serve as a producer.