It seems the story behind John Woo’s new big budget epic, “The Battle of Red Cliff,” is as flexible as the movie itself. Less than a week after it started shooting, it experienced the drop-out of big star Chow Yun-fat. Now, another big star, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, has returned.
Web portal sina.com quoted a source from the film producer, Zhang Jiazheng, as saying that Tony Leung has agreed to return to the movie. This time, the actor will star as Zhou Yu instead of the role of Zhu Geliang, which he quit before.
Zhang said the return of Tony Leung made them excited. They are now expecting him for the upcoming cooperation, though a formal contract has not yet been signed. They assure the changes won’t affect the shooting of the film.
Chow Yun-Fat, who was invited to play Zhou Yu, was dropped from the star-studded cast just one day after filming started. The production team alleged Chow put forward “nearly 100 unreasonable demands” which they said “they are unable to tolerate.” They also alleged Chow Yun-Fat is “far beyond the age of his role in the film” and they had received what they called “negative feedback from the public on that point.”
Earlier last month, Tony Leung announced he would step back from his original role as Zhu Geliang. The star said he quit because of the six-month-long shoot and his bad Mandarin.
Rumors had suggested the star was taking a break to concentrate on his relationship with fellow actress Carina Lau.
In the wake of Leung’s withdrawal, the production team had confirmed heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro would take on the role of Zhu Geliang.
Shi Dongming from the entourage said the return of Leung wouldn’t affect the original decision.
Shi says that Zhou Yu and Zhu Geliang are the two eye-catching characters in the movie. In the famous legend, Zhu Geliang was a brilliant military strategist in the ancient Three Kingdoms period, while Zhu Yu was an excellent general for his opponent. In the screenplay, there are many plots to narrate their relationship.