The director of ‘My Sassy Girl’ leaves Chinese-Japanese co-production

"Princess Yang Kwei-Fei" Japanese Theatrical Poster

Here’s some shocking news: director Kwak Jae-yong (My Sassy Girl) has left the set of his latest movie, Yang Gui Fei, during its sixth week of filming. The project is a Chinese-Japanese co-production based on the life of Yang Gui Fei, who is known as one of the Four Beauties of Ancient China and who served as a beloved consort to Emperor Xuanzong until her tragic death in 756 A.D.

The Japanese and Chinese film industries have a history of collaborating together on this story, as Daiei Studios and the Shaw Brothers teamed up for 1956’s Princess Yang Kwei-Fei. In the current big screen adaptation, Yang Gui Fei will brought to life by actress Fan Bingbing (Flash Point, Bodyguards & Assassins).

So why did Kwak Jae-yong leave the film halfway through production? Supposedly he rejected advice from the Chinese crew on the film and was “deviating from traditional Chinese values.” Although Kwak is a Korean director, this is not his first experience in foreign movie industries. He was an “executive director” on the 2010 Chinese film Piano in a Factory and he shot a movie in Japan.

It is thought that veteran Chinese director Tian Zhuangzhuang (2009’s The Warrior and the Wolf) will be brought on to replace Kwak shortly. We’ll keep you updated on the story as it develops.

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