"Memoirs of a Geisha"

Gong Li Talks About Memoirs of a Geisha

"I had read [Arthur Golden's] book and I liked the story, but most importantly, I liked the role, as it was a very challenging character to play. Despite my being Chinese or Japanese, she's a woman, first and foremost, with all the characteristics of being a woman. But Mr. Marshall is a very reputable director, and this was an unforgettable experience."

"In terms of production, there was perhaps more financial support, being an American venture. In terms of philosophy - with Americans writing about Japanese people - there was more room as far as the artistic aspect is concerned. Had the film been produced by an Asian faction, sure, there may have been more boundaries. And perhaps it would have been more loyal to the culture, but with this international imagining, the story becomes more universal."

"I studied dialect and accent training, as well as geisha movements and actions, ... In one scene I needed to toss a fan in a specific way - it was a very difficult maneuver - and I practiced many times - more than a thousand times a day. Mr. Marshall told me it was a difficult action, but said he believed I could do it. This is something a geisha would have practiced extensively, and from a very early age."

"This is the first international film I've worked on. I spent five to six months working with Mr. Marshall and I became very close with the cast. A month after filming, I still felt in character. I had grown so close to all involved, and in the end, after I shot my last scene, I had this feeling of 'where would I go?'"

(from Kristopher Tapley's website, Oct.3 2005)

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