Lust, Caution, director Ang Lee‘s next film for Focus Features, following his Academy Award win for directing Brokeback Mountain, has found its leading man and leading lady. Screen newcomer Tang Wei, who hails from mainland China, will star opposite Asian cinema icon Tony Leung in Mr. Lee’s espionage thriller set in WWII-era Shanghai, which begins filming later this year. Focus Features CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
Bill Kong, who previously produced Mr. Lee’s blockbuster Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, will produce Lust, Caution with the director. Mr. Schamus will executive-produce Lust, Caution, which is adapted from a short story by the late Chinese author Eileen Chang.
Mr. Leung will star as Mr. Yee, a powerful political figure in 1940s Shanghai. Ms. Tang, making her feature film debut in Lust, Caution, will star as Wang Jiazhi, a young woman who gets swept up in a dangerous game of emotional intrigue with Mr. Yee.
Tony Leung Chiu-wai, a native of Hong Kong, has been one of Asia’s top stars for nearly two decades. He has starred in several memorable films for directors Wong Kar-wai and John Woo, and in such smash hits as Hero and Infernal Affairs.
Tang Wei is already a rising star in mainland China, having starred on stage and television. She recently gave an award-winning performance in the telefilm Jinghua Swallow. Ms. Tang has also written short novels and stage dramas, and directed theater productions.
Mr. Schamus said, “Paired with a great star like Tony Leung, Lust, Caution will be a wonderful introduction for Tang Wei to the world film community. She is a young actress of intelligence and major big-screen potential, and together they are the perfect protagonists for this thrilling story.”
Mr. Lee commented, “It’s exciting for me to be making a movie in China again, and to finally be working with Tony Leung on a project. Tang Wei has already shown such versatility in her early work that I knew she was the ideal actress to incarnate the many sides of Wang Jiazhi.”
Also newly cast in Lust, Caution is Chinese pop idol and actor Wang Lee Hom, who will play Kuang Yu Min, a young student involved with Wang Jiazhi.