Ang Lee Won't Direct Crouching Tiger Sequel

Double-Oscar-winning director Ang Lee won’t be helming a planned sequel to his blockbuster kung-fu romance Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, according to Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily News.

The rights to the film have already been bought by producer Harvey Weinstein. He is thought to have signed David Thwaites (Black Swan) to direct, with production slated to begin later this year. Lee, who is known to dislike directing two films of the same genre, is now reportedly mulling an offer to helm a Cleopatra epic starring Angelina Jolie.

The sequel will focus on Yu Shu Lien — the female warrior played by Michelle Yeoh in the original Crouching Tiger — and her husband. Jen Yu, Zhang Ziyi’s role of the willful and impetuous young swordswoman, is expected to go to Fan Bingbing. Donnie Yen has been asked to play Yu’s husband, a martial artist and film director who went missing after going off to war. Yen has expressed ambivalence about whether to take the role because he doesn’t know if he can improve on the success of the original Crouching Tiger film.

Yeoh said she would be happy to participate in the sequel but hasn’t been contacted.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ultimately became a global blockbuster at the box office after it opened small in the US and won four Oscars, including one for best foreign-language film. It then expanded distribution and ultimately grossed $213 million worldwide, $128 million of it in the US. Its success helped turn Ang Lee into one of Hollywood’s most in-demand directors for projects like The Incredible Hulk and Sense and Sensibility. In addition to his recent best-director Oscar for Life of Pi, he also won the same award for the gay cowboy love story Brokeback Mountain which also won two other Oscars for best score and best adapted screenplay.