10.06.2010

Cusack praises co-star Gong Li for intricate work


Cusack praises co-star Gong Li for intricate work
By CHI-CHI ZHANG, Associated Press Writer

Thursday, June 10, 2010 at 5:20 a.m.

BEIJING — John Cusack says "Shanghai" co-star Gong Li was part of his cinematic introduction to China, so he jumped at the chance to work with the veteran Chinese actress.

The 44-year-old American actor told a news conference in Beijing on Thursday that China was a "mysterious place" to him as a youth and that he learned about the country gradually through its movies, such as "To Live." In Zhang Yimou's 1994 film, Gong plays a suffering wife to a compulsive gambler.

"I was an admirer of Gong Li for so long ... A role like this, to work with such great actors is a rare honor," Cusack said.

In "Shanghai," Cusack plays an American intelligence official who investigates a friend's death in Japanese-occupied Shanghai in the months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Besides Gong, the movie also features Chow Yun-fat and Ken Watanabe.

Cusack praised Gong, whose credits also include "Raise the Red Lantern" and "Curse of the Golden Flower," as a nuanced performer.

"She's like a Mona Lisa. She has a very subtle way of conveying how the character feels," he said. "She's a very complicated and intricate performer. You have to pay attention to not just her lines but her body movements and subtle gestures five seconds before and after those lines."

"Shanghai," the first Asian production by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, is scheduled to debut in a week, nearly two years after shooting wrapped up in August 2008. Production has been bogged down by repeated delays - including China's refusal to allow shooting in the country.

Chinese officials never spelled out their reasons, but they were likely concerned about the film's historical backdrop - an issue skirted during the news conference. Many Chinese are still upset about atrocities committed by the Japanese military during its invasion.

"This movie is a tribute to China, during a period which they suffered and fought so valiantly," producer Harvey Weinstein told reporters Thursday.

Other problems for the movie included editing, which took longer than usual because director Mikael Hafstrom had to combine visually different footage from London and Bangkok and went through several composers, a person familiar with the production, told the AP in August.

The Weinstein brothers are best known for founding Miramax , which became part of the independent film movement in the 1990s and produced several high-grossing movies including "Chicago." They left in 2005 to form The Weinstein Co.

The Associated Press
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jun/10/cusack-praises-co-star-gong-li-for-intricate-work/

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John Cusack praises 'Shanghai' co-star Gong Li as intricate performer
By: Chi-Chi Zhang, The Associated Press

10/06/2010 7:44 AM
BEIJING, China - John Cusack says "Shanghai" co-star Gong Li was part of his cinematic introduction to China, so he jumped at the chance to work with the veteran Chinese actress.

The 44-year-old American actor told a news conference in Beijing on Thursday that China was a "mysterious place" to him as a youth and that he learned about the country gradually through its movies, such as "To Live." In Zhang Yimou's 1994 film, Gong plays a suffering wife to a compulsive gambler.

"I was an admirer of Gong Li for so long ... A role like this, to work with such great actors is a rare honour," Cusack said.

In "Shanghai," Cusack plays an American intelligence official who investigates a friend's death in Japanese-occupied Shanghai in the months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Besides Gong, the movie also features Chow Yun-fat and Ken Watanabe.

Cusack praised Gong, whose credits also include "Raise the Red Lantern" and "Curse of the Golden Flower," as a nuanced performer.

"She's like a Mona Lisa. She has a very subtle way of conveying how the character feels," he said. "She's a very complicated and intricate performer. You have to pay attention to not just her lines but her body movements and subtle gestures five seconds before and after those lines."

"Shanghai," the first Asian production by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, is scheduled to debut in a week, nearly two years after shooting wrapped up in August 2008. Production has been bogged down by repeated delays — including China's refusal to allow shooting in the country.

Chinese officials never spelled out their reasons, but they were likely concerned about the film's historical backdrop — an issue skirted during the news conference. Many Chinese are still upset about atrocities committed by the Japanese military during its invasion.

"This movie is a tribute to China, during a period which they suffered and fought so valiantly," producer Harvey Weinstein told reporters Thursday.

Other problems for the movie included editing, which took longer than usual because director Mikael Hafstrom had to combine visually different footage from London and Bangkok and went through several composers, a person familiar with the production, told the AP in August.

The Weinstein brothers are best known for founding Miramax, which became part of the independent film movement in the 1990s and produced several high-grossing movies including "Chicago." They left in 2005 to form The Weinstein Co.
http://stage.www.winnipegfreepress.com/entertainment/breakingnews/john-cusack-praises-shanghai-co-star-gong-li-as-intricate-performer-96045029.html

FILMOGRAPHY

Shanghai(2009) (pre-production) (in negotiations)
The Factory (2009) (filming)
Igor (2008) (post-production) (voice) .... Igor
Summerhood (2008) (post-production)
(uncredited) .... Narrator
War, Inc. (2008) (completed) .... Brand Hauser
Martian Child (2007) .... David
1408 (2007) .... Mike Enslin
Grace Is Gone (2007) .... Stanley Philipps
The Contract (2006/I) .... Ray Keene
The Ice Harvest: Alternate Endings (2006) (V) .... Charlie
The Ice Harvest (2005) .... Charlie
Must Love Dogs (2005) .... Jake
Runaway Jury (2003) .... Nicholas Easter
Identity (2003) .... Ed
Max (2002/I) .... Max Rothman
Serendipity (2001) .... Jonathan Trager
America's Sweethearts (2001) .... Eddie Thomas
High Fidelity(2000) .... Rob Gordon
Being John Malkovich (1999) .... Craig Schwartz
Cradle Will Rock (1999) .... Nelson Rockefeller
Pushing Tin (1999) .... Nick Falzone
The Jack Bull (1999) (TV) .... Myrl Redding
The Thin Red Line (1998) .... Capt. Gaff
This Is My Father (1998/I) .... Eddie Sharp, the Pilot
Chicago Cab (1998) .... Scary Man
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) .... John Kelso
Anastasia (1997) (voice) .... Dimitri
Con Air (1997) .... U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) .... Martin Q. Blank
"Frasier" .... Greg (1 episode, 1996)
- Our Father Whose Art Ain't Heaven (1996) TV episode (voice) .... Greg
City Hall (1996) .... Deputy Mayor Kevin Calhoun
The Road to Wellville (1994) .... Charles Ossining
Bullets Over Broadway (1994) .... David Shayne
Floundering (1994) .... JC
Money for Nothing (1993) .... Joey Coyle
Map of the Human Heart(1993) .... The Mapmaker
Bob Roberts (1992) .... Cutting Edge Host
Roadside Prophets (1992) (as John Cusak) .... Casper
Shadows and Fog(1992) .... Student Jack
True Colors(1991) .... Peter Burton
The Grifters(1990) .... Roy Dillon
Fat Man and Little Boy (1989) .... Michael Merriman
Say Anything... (1989) .... Lloyd Dobler
Elvis Stories (1989) .... Corky
Tapeheads (1988) .... Ivan Alexeev
Eight Men Out (1988) .... George 'Buck' Weaver
Broadcast News (1987) (as John Cusak) .... Angry Messenger
Hot Pursuit (1987) .... Dan Bartlett
One Crazy Summer (1986) .... Hoops McCann
Stand by Me (1986) .... Denny Lachance
The Journey of Natty Gann (1985) .... Harry
Better Off Dead... (1985) .... Lane Meyer
The Sure Thing (1985) .... Walter (Gib) Gibson
Grandview, U.S.A. (1984) .... Johnny Maine
Sixteen Candles (1984) .... Bryce
Class(1983) .... Roscoe Maibaum