Martin Scorsese talks ‘The Grandmaster’ with Wong Kar Wai

Director Wong Kar Wai, left, director Martin Scorsese and producer Harvey Weinstein attend a Q&A and reception in honor of Wong at Lighthouse International Theater in New York.
(Theo Wargo / Getty Images / The Weinstein Co.)

Martin Scorsese took time from his busy schedule promoting “The Wolf of Wall Street” recently to moderate a question-answer period while Hong Kong-based filmmaker Wong Kar Wai was in New York. Scorsese lent his name to Wong’s “The Grandmaster” when it opened theatrically last summer with the credit “Martin Scorsese presents.”

Wong is among the world’s most celebrated filmmakers, a longtime festival favorite for films such as “Chungking Express” and “In the Mood for Love.” His latest, “The Grandmaster,” is a romantic martial arts epic that was submitted for the foreign language Oscar, representing Hong Kong.

Wong opened the conversation by declaring Scorsese “my hero” and noting how he and his cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd -- recently nominated for an American Society of Cinematographers award -- watched Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” to figure out some the fight sequences in their own film.


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Scorsese talked briefly of the post-production race to finish “Wolf,” but the spotlight in the conversation was clearly on Wong, even as he repeatedly paid tribute to the American filmmaker. Wong mentioned how he got into the habit of playing music on set after learning that Scorsese did it. Throughout the shoot of “The Grandmaster,” Wong would play music from director Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America,” and some of that score is even used in the finished film.


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