The Touch

The Touch is the first film produced by - not just starring - Michelle Yeoh herself. Michelle plays an acrobatic
circus performer in this romantic action adventure. The aim is for the film to appeal internationally.

Release Dates:  08/2002 (Asia), 08/2003 (France)
Production Companies:  Mythical Films/Han Entertainment,
Pandasia Entertainment, Tianjin Film Studio
Distributors:  Miramax Films, Golden Harvest Entertainment
Language:  English, and a bit Mandarin and Tibetan
Producers:  Michelle Yeoh, Thomas Chung, Gao Feng Jun
Director:  Peter Pau
Cinematographer:  Peter Pau
Music Composer:  Basil Poledouris
Screenplay:  Julien Carbon, Laurent Courtiaud, J.D.Zeik
Action Director:  Philip Kwok
Art Director:  Second Chan
Editing:  Marshall Harvey
Category:  Action/Adventure/Romance
9th CineAsia Awards (2002):
Producers of the Year (Thomas Chung, Michelle Yeoh)
22nd Hong Kong Film Awards Nominations:
Best Cinematography (Peter Pau)
Best Action Choreography (Philip Kwok)
47th Asia Pacific Film Festival:   Best Cinematography (Peter Pau)
8th Huabiao Awards (China):   Best Co-production Film
Cast:  (in credit order)
Yin /Pak Yin Fay .... Michelle Yeoh
Eric .... Ben Chaplin
Karl .... Richard Roxburgh
Monk .... Long Sihung
Tong /Pak Yeuk Tong .... Brandon Chang
LiLy .... Margaret Wang
Bob .... Dane Cook
Draco .... Emmanuel Lanzi
Ping .... Kenneth Tsang
Sam .... Gabriel Hoi (Gabriel Harrison)
Yin's Father .... Winston Chao
Silvio .... Kou Zhen Hai
Yin (teenager) .... Zuo Xiaoqing



News Photos

The Touch


Production Facts  

Film Index

Articles & Reviews:
Touch and go (SCMP 12/08/01)

Crouching Tiger Redux? (TV Guide 04/11/02)

Best of East meets West (The Star 07/17/02)

Asian kung fu queen diversifies into film production (Reuters 07/29/02)

Words of wisdom (SCMP 08/01/02)

High on adventure (SCMP 08/04/02)

The Touch (Cinema Online 08/02)

The Touch Review (Hollywood Reporter 08/06/02)

Touchdown: Firm favourite (The Star 08/09/02)

Michelle Yeoh shows true colors (The Taipei Times 08/16/02)

A good start loses touch in the end (The Taipei Times 08/16/02)

Malaysians' Touch (Golden Screen Cinemas 08/02)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Talent (Bangkok Post, 08/27/02)

That Special Touch (Galaxie, 09/02)

The Touch Review (Hong Kong Film Net, 2002)

The Touch Review (KFC Cinema, 11/02)

The Touc hReview (Cinespot, 2002)

In a time of great danger, the Monks of Dunhuang hid the Sharira -- a Relic purported to contain the pure essence of a Holy Man in the Buddhist religion. To protect this greatest of treasures, it was placed where no ordinary human being would ever be able to reach. However, it is destined to happen that someday the Sharira will be recovered. To ensure that it could be retrieved when such time came, the Monks turned to a family of acrobats. For hundreds of years this family has trained, passing on the skills required to perform the ultimate leap when the time is at hand.

In modern Qingdao, Yin (Michelle Yeoh) and her brother Tong are the last heirs in this long lineage of acrobats. Being circus performers, they travel throughout the world, entrancing audiences with their stunningly beautiful gymnastic performance. One day, Eric, a man from Yin's past, shows up with a Medallion - the Heart of Dunhuang - a key to unlock the secrets, a clue to unveil the legend of the Sharira. Together they embark on a hazardous journey to rediscover what her ancestors once protected. Following closely on their trail is Karl, a merciless, unscrupulous rich man who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the valuable treasures.

(from The Touch Official Site)

The Touch News:
© MichelleYeoh.info
[* For more news on Michelle Yeoh or site updates, please visit News page ]
[** More information to share? Please e-mail webmaster ]

(11/14/08) The Touch will be screened on November 21st at 8th International Marrakech Film Festival. It is a part of the special tribute to Michelle, "Timeless Female Heroine". A total of 6 Michelle films will be screened and Michelle will be there to receive the honor. For detailed schedule please see News.

(05/05/05) These are some video clips from Michelle's Japan tour in March. In English with Japanese translation.

Download at Video Page.

Screen captions

(05/03/05) The third (and last) auction on the items autographed by Michelle during her The Touch promotion trip in Japan in March is being held from May 3 - 9.

Benefit of the auctions will go to UNICEF Japan (United Nations Children's Fund).

Photos: autographed "The Touch" items auction in Japan

(04/26/05) Second auction in Japan, April 26 - May 2.

(04/20/05) Several items autographed by Michelle when she met with Japanese press last month are going on auction in Japan. Michelle hopes the auction will benefit children charity.

Pictures shown are from the first auction: an autographed The Touch booklet. Winner also gets the two photos of Michelle at the right side.

To bid, enter the auction page (in Japanese. ship inside Japan only). April 20 - 26. (closed)

(04/19/05) Another video clip from The Touch press conference in Japan.
   Length: 2 minutes and 49 seconds
   ASP High (9.7MB)   ASP Low (2.6MB)   Realmedia
(from "Walkerplus")

"The Touch" Japanese Release Promotion Photos

(04/15/05) Video download: The Touch press conference in Japan, March 22, 2005.
   Length: 20 minutes and 53 seconds
   Avi (35.2MB)   Realmedia (High 34.1MB)   Realmedia (Low 7.8MB)
(from "Cinematopics")

A report from Nikkatsu on the press interview. With photos. In Japanese.

(03/22/05) A press conference for the release of The Touch in Japan was held in Tokyo on March 22nd. The film will be released in Japan on April 16th.

Photos from Japan Press Conference

The Touch Japanese official site

(03/14/05) The Touch is scheduled to have a public release in Japan on April 16th. The Japanese title of the film is "Sanzohoushi No Hihou" ("Secret Treasure of Master Sanzang").

(02/16/05) Dutch version DVD of The Touch has been released under the title "The Martial Touch". See News for the cover scan.

(10/27/04) This was published at Kung Fu Cinema on Oct. 26:
Miramax looks for help to unload movie backlog

Variety reports that Miramax is seeking outside partners for a number of its many unreleased movie properties, including various martial arts titles. Outside sources state that Miramax is planning a more ambitious selloff, but the company denies this. With Disney CEO Michael Eisner set to step down, this is seen as a preemptive move to show that Miramax is mending its ways and its finances. Miramax has acquired a healthy number of martial arts titles in the last several years that have remained unreleased, movies such as The Touch, Flying Dragon Leaping Tiger, The Legend of Zu, and according to Celestial Pictures, fifty Shaw Brothers classics. Miramax has already cut its workforce by a third this year and notably passed on distribution of this year's highest-profile Chinese martial arts movies, Kung Fu Hustle and House of Flying Daggers, to Sony/Columbia Tristar. This suggests that Miramax's interest in the genre may be waning as they continue to restructure.
I noticed at least for several months, The Touch has been listed at Arclight's website (who is also the sale's agent for Silver Hawk). I'm not sure if Arclight has the global rights or only rights in certain regions to The Touch.

(08/18/03) The Touch French official site: Le Talisman.

(08/07/03) The Touch (Le Talisman) will be released in France theatrically on August 13th, 2003 with about 300 prints. The U.S. release date is still undecided by Miramax, unfortunately.

(03/15/03) According to Greg's Previews, Miramax has pushed The Touch's U.S. release back from August 2003 to spring 2004.

(02/18/03) The Touch has received two nominations at the 22nd Hong Kong Film Awards: Best Cinematography (Peter Pau) and Best Action Choreography (Philip Kwok). Winners will be announced at April 6th.

(12/02/02) Michelle and Thomas Chung are named "Producers of the Year" at the CineAsia 2002 awards. Congratulations!

(12/02/02) The Academy published the list of the official entries for the 2003 foreign language Oscar category today. The Touch failed to make its entry because most of the dialogue is in English.

(11/19/02) "Screen Daily" reported yesterday on the current development of the U.S. release of The Touch:
According to sources close to Miramax, delivery has been "postponed", pending further work on the special effects. Chung said: "Miramax still very much wants the film," and says delivery will take place four months from now.

"Some of the computer graphics in the 'trap cave' in the last ten minutes are not up to the standard I want. This is our first film. It is not only a matter of pride, but also a question of improving something that is our copyright and will outlive any licence agreement."

Han is understood to have switched to a new post-production house, Central, in Hong Kong for the revisions.
The Touch has fixed distribution deals with Scanbox for Scandinavia and with Deal for France. A deal for Japan is understood to be imminent.

(11/15/02) Dane Cook talks about his The Touch experience ( Tallahassee Democrat):

Hey, that hurt

Cook recently went to China and got beaten up by a short woman.

After moving to L.A. four years ago, Cook, 30, began landing acting roles. He got a part playing a villain in "The Touch," a martial-arts movie by director Peter Pau (the fight choreographer for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") and starring Michelle Yeoh (co-star of "Crouching Tiger").

"She's very petite but very powerful," Cook said of Yeoh.

One of his scenes required him to get into a street fight with Yeoh's character.

"For the first hit, she really connected with my chest," Cook said. "She really put her whole chi into it. She knocked the soul out of my chest. You've never heard a man make noise like the one I made. I needed a nap after she hit me. She knocked sleep into me."

Later, the actress autographed Cook's bruise, and he took a picture of it to show to friends back home.

(11/01/02) "Screen Daily" on The Touch's foreign language Oscar entry:
   Hong Kong submits English-language film for best foreign-language Oscar
   Tongue-twisting challenge faces Oscar foreign language selectors

(10/30/02) The Touch will have two screenings at the 69th MIFED film and television market in Milan: Nov 3, 09:30, SALA/8 and Nov 6, 17:30, SALA/VENEZIA. Together with the American Film Market and Festival de Cannes, MIFED is one of the leading international markets for cinema, television and home video rights. Han Entertainment is currently seeking for sales of The Touch in France, Germany, Japan, and Korea, also worldwide presales of Hua Mulan, Masked Crusader, and Jiangshi (a Chinese vampire film which will be produced by Michelle and Thomas Chung).

(10/24/02) The Touch official DVD is to be released on October 29th, and it's REGION FREE! For more details and some online order links see News (Oct. 24).

(10/17/02) The Touch did not enter this year's Golden Horse Awards (Taiwan), at which Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon won 6 awards and got 13 nominations (including Michelle's Best Actress) two years ago. The Touch is not eligible for the awards since the regulations of the Golden Horse require the main language of the film to be Chinese (at least 50%). Although the committee hoped the Mandarin dubbed version could be submitted, The Touch filmmakers decided not to do so.

(10/15/02) The Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong has announced that The Touch had been selected as Hong Kong's Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film. According to the rules of the Academy, the official entry for Best Foreign Language Film consideration from each country should be made by November 1, 2002. All submissions will be screened by the Academy's Foreign Language Film Award Committee before the committee vote for five foreign language picture nominees next January. A film submitted for Best Foreign Language Film Award consideration may also qualify for the 75th Annual Academy Awards in other categories if it runs in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County before December 31.

Here are my concerns: can The Touch, which is shot predominantly in English, be qualified as a foreign language film - even English is one of the official languages used in Hong Kong? Will Miramax be kind enough to arrange the film to be shown in at least one LA theatre this year so it could be qualified for other categories??? (75th Annual Academy Awards Rules)

(10/09/02) The Touch opens today in the Philippines.

(10/04/02) Michelle and Thomas Chung attended the award ceremony of the 47th Asia Pacific Film Festival on Oct. 4th, Seoul. The Touch was awarded Best Cinematography and Michelle accepted the award for Peter Pau. This was the first time Michelle attended APFF. She was nominated as best actress and she was also an award presenter at the evening. Japanese film Inochi claimed best picture and best actress (Makiko Esumi).

Michelle discussed the distribution of The Touch in South Korea with the local distributors.

Photos from APFF

(09/10/02) Hong Kong news: The Touch, along with two other Hong Kong films, Chinese Odyssey 2002 and The Legend of Zu, have been chosen by the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong to be sent to the 47th Asia Pacific Film Festival (Seoul. Oct 1-4, 2002). The films will attend the Feature Film Competition.

(09/03/02) A celebration party for The Touch was held on August 31 at Shangri-la Hotel in Hong Kong. The Touch was recently awarded as the "Best Co-production Film" at China's Huabiao Awards. Congratulations!

"Huabiao Awards" is one of the major film awards in mainland China and the highest governmental honors for Chinese films. Created in 1956, it was originally called "Government Awards". By some reasons it was stopped for years and resumed in 1979. Since 1986, it has been organized by the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television. In 1994, it was renamed as "Huabiao Awards" (directly translated as Palace Columns Awards). It is an annual award in recognition of the excellent Chinese films and filmmakers. Two of the films by director Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern) were awarded at the Huabiao Awards in the past.

The Touch has collected about 30,000,000 Yuan in mainland China. The film will attend The 47th Asia Pacific Film Festival (APFF) in October in Seoul.

Producer Thomas Chung told reporters that they will be in U.S. in the middle of this month to discuss with Miramax about the U.S. release of The Touch. So far no release date has been set. They hope it could be released during the winter or other school breaks.

Michelle said to reporters that she feels The Touch is far away from perfect. If someone thinks his/her own work is perfect, then it would the time for him/her to retire. She believes her future films will get better and better.

It is confirmed that Michelle's Hua Mulan proposal has been approved by the China Film Bureau. Furthermore, this will be the only film on the Mulan subject which is allowed to use the name HUA MULAN (the full name of Mulan) as the film title. Earlier news reported that although multiple film plans based on the story of Hua Mulan from different film companies have been given green light (to be shot in China), but some of the projects might be forced to change the titles.

It is a wonderful news that Michelle and Thomas Chung got such warm supports from China - the people and the government. I think it's a dream for most of the filmmakers - to conquer China, a film market which has the biggest potential in the world.

Photos from the The Touch celebration

(08/23/02) Released in Taiwan on August 16th, The Touch collected $106,534 from total 16 theatres and ranked No.2 at the weekend box office, behind Harrison Ford's K-19: The Widowmaker which was released at the same time.

   The Touch Charity Auction 2002 (August 21 - August 30).
   The Touch E-cards (click on photos to send e-cards).

(08/19/02) The Touch continues to do well at the box office in China. In two weeks of its release, the film surpassed the Chinese box office sales of Star Wars: Episode II. "Qingdao News" reported that in Qingdao, where a part of the film was shot, The Touch was released at August 15th (2 weeks later than some major cities). In 5 days, the box figure of The Touch in Qingdao surpassed the local box figure of The Lord of the Rings, which was released in May. The total number of copies of The Touch shown in China has been increased from 160 to 182.

(08/15/02) On August 14th, Michelle, Peter Pau, Thomas Chung and Brandon Chang attended The Touch news conference and premiere in Taipei, Taiwan. Also in attendance was Long Sihung's wife. The Touch was Long Sihung's last and posthumous work. Actress Margaret Wang couldn't make it since she's currently shooting another project in Mainland China.

As a first time producer, Michelle said the box office figure was like a report card in school. She's very happy that the "grade report" has been good. Michelle said she's lucky to have a chance to work with a director like Peter Pau. And she thanked co-producer Thomas Chung and said she had learned a lot from him.

On screen, Michelle often plays heroic roles. In real life, she's an optimistic and independent person, and often a witty talker. Michelle said her view of life is to always look forward but not to look back. She believes happiness belongs to today and future and one has to look for it him/herself. The only thing one can get from past, she said, is to learn from one's mistakes and not to repeat them. Anything which is unhappy in the past should be let go.

Peter Pau praised Michelle: putting on makeup, she's an absolute professional, well prepared, modest actress; washing it off, she's a very considerate and understanding producer.

At the conference, Michelle and Peter Pau thanked Ms. Huang Bao-Yun, the director of Pandasia Entertainment (Taiwan). Ms. Huang and her company provided big help to The Touch financially during the hard time. Reportedly Pandasia financed US$6 millions to the project (the rest of the budget, about $14 millions, came from Miramax's pre-paid purchase).

Disappointedly, there are already pirate VCDs of The Touch in Taiwan before the film releases there. Michelle hopes audience will refuse to purchase them but watch the film in theatre.

Michelle's next project, Hua Mulan, is currently under development. She has got two horses to practice some horse riding techniques for the future filming. The production is aimed to start early next year, right after the Chinese New Year.

Michelle left Taiwan and returned to Hong Kong on 15th. The first round of The Touch promotion has been completed and she's now going for a 4-day beach vacation at Phuket Island, Thailand ;-).

The Touch is to be released in Taiwan on August 16th.

Photos from Taiwan, August 13-15

CTS Video: Michelle at the Taiwan press conference (1:02. in Mandarin)

(08/12/02) The Touch - after more than two years of waiting - has finally been released in the selected Asian territories: China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. The film claimed the No.1 box office spot at the the first weekend in all four territories. Congratulations to Michelle and all other filmmakers of The Touch!

Starting from July 29th to August 5th, Michelle, Peter Pau, Thomas Chung, etc. had an intensive 8-day tour in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and five cities (Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Wuhan) of China. I had been in Beijing for the past two weeks and lucky enough to catch the heat of The Touch there. Thanks to Thomas Chung and Mr. Chan Chi Leung for getting me the ticket to Beijing Gala Premiere and the invitation to the cocktail reception! For those of you who might be interested - no, I did not have chance to chat with Michelle. She only showed up at the end of the reception for a very short time and then went to the premiere (two pics can be seen at News). Michelle had multiple premieres (they should be called special "Meeting with Fans" screenings instead of premieres I think) in each of the five cities in China. She was running as many as four premieres in one day. No matter how much she wished to watch the film with her fans, she couldn't. It seems a strange way to arrange premiere(s) but I heard that it is common in China. At least many fans had chance to see Michelle in real person - all premiere tickets (as many as 2000 tickets in Chengdu only) were sold out.

The general release of the film in China was at August 2nd. The first time I watched The Touch was at the night of July 31st when 28 selected theatres across the country had special midnight screenings. All tickets were sold out. Some theatres kept adding screens or adding seats. Some people were willing to stand for 105 minutes to watch the film.

Being released right between Star Wars II and Spider-Man, The Touch has been facing tough box competition in China. Especially because Spider-Man was released only five days after The Touch's release. I heard that the distributor of Spider-Man (a major distribution company in China) pushed their release date forward to Aug 7 (originally set at mid-August) intentionly and left little room for The Touch because they were not happy that they failed to acquire the distribution right of The Touch in China. In Beijing all single-screen cinemas showed The Touch only for five days and multiplex gave the largest screens to Spider-Man after Aug 7. In Shanghai, cinema managers decided to support The Touch by postponing Spider-Man for two days.

Another tough "competition" is the pirate VCD, which has appeared widely in China since the 4th day of the release of The Touch and being sold for only US$1.25 each (a cinema ticket ranges from $2.5 to $5 for adults). It is one of the hottest VCDs on pirate market.

Despite the negative factors, The Touch has been doing great at box office in China. It has collected 16,000,000 Yuan in less than 10 days (more than the total box gross of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in China, which was 15,000,000 Yuan), beating the box office in Hong Kong.

Photos of the first round of The Touch tour are coming soon. The Touch will be released in Taiwan and Thailand in mid-August.

(07/26/02) On July 25th, the Asian release ceremony and press conference of The Touch were held in Beijing. In attendance were Michelle, co-producer Thomas Chung and Tibetan singer Han Hong, who sings the Tibetan version of the title song for the film.

Reportedly Michelle got quite emotional in front of more than a hundred of reporters. About The Touch - her first producing effort and two years of life - she said: "It's like my own baby. It was not easy. (I have) many thoughts and feelings."

Many questions from the reporters were focused on the comparison of The Touch with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Michelle says the character of Yin in The Touch is closer to herself in real person. In Crouching Tiger, the romance is restrained and the performance is very subtle. The Touch is a story in modern time. She enjoyed those fighting scenes - either physical or verbal - in the film.

Reportedly, The Touch got the final approval from the Chinese authority on 23rd. The first test screening of the film in Mainland China, mainly to the representatives of film companies, was held at the evening of 23rd in Tianjin. The film made a stir in the audience. Many film experts and distributors highly praise it and believe The Touch will be a big hit this summer.

The first theatre screening of The Touch will start at the same time in various Asian countries - 0:00 AM, August 1st.

Photos from the Beijing Press conference

(07/21/02) A press conference of The Touch was held in Taipei, Taiwan on July 20th. Michelle and Thomas Chung talked about what they were going through in making the film. Brandon Chang also attended it.

A sequel of The Touch is currently under development. Reportedly the treasure they are going to hunt in the sequel will be a diamond related to Buddhist religion.

Besides the sequel, another project in development is Hua Mulan. When Michelle and Thomas Chung read the first version of the script in March, they were very excited and wished to start location scouting immediately. Thomas Chung said no matter how many people wanted to make movies on this subject, he is certain he will make this version with Michelle and Peter Pau. The production is expected to start at the end of this year or early next year. Chow Yun-Fat might be one of the candidates for the male lead, if the schedule allows him. There are many American companies wanted to invest in the film, but the producers hope to get some investors from China, Hong Kong and/or Taiwan, to make a Mulan film which belongs to Chinese. The budget will be about US$30 millions.

In additional to the The Touch promotion, Michelle also has another task during her Taiwan trip. She will shoot a 30 second advertisement as a part of the anti-piracy efforts in Asia which are recently funded by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Michael Ellis, the vice president of MPAA and regional director for anti-piracy efforts in Asia, attended the press in order to express his appreciation to Michelle.

Photos from the Taiwan Press conference

(07/18/02) The premiere in Taiwan will be held on August 14. The general release of the film in Taiwan is August 16.

(07/17/02) "The Sun" (Hong Kong) has some information on the girl who plays young Michelle in the film. Reportedly her name is Zuo Xiaoqing. She's 20 years old and she's from Hunan province, China. She had been trained in gymnastic since childhood and won national champion in Rhythmic Gymnastics a few times. Zuo Xiaoqing was chosen from more than 800 candidates. Both Michelle and Peter Pau are very satisfied with her performance in the film. Peter Pau thinks the girl is clever and has the spirit of Michelle.

The premiere dates in China have been fixed: Guangzhou Aug 1, Shanghai Aug 2, Beijing Aug 3, Chengdu Aug 4, Wuhan Aug 5. The general release date is aiming at early August.

Photos from Shanghai

(07/16/02) Yesterday Michelle and Thomas Chung met with the media in Shanghai to promote The Touch. They accepted interviews and answered questions from reporters. The film will hit screens next month in all Chinese language speaking countries/regions of Asia.

According to the producers, the actual results achieved in The Touch is better than the script - thanks to Peter Pau's talent of grasping every special moment. All in all, there are more than 900 scenes which involve special effects. In her role as an acrobatic performer in the film, Michelle spends totally 11 minutes in the air. It is more challenging than the Qinggong (lightening skill) style "flying" used in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Here in The Touch, all the "flying" must be done in a more realistic way, with the help of such as a scarf.

Michelle confirmed that her next film will be Hua Mulan, which will be directed again by Peter Pau.

The Touch Photos from Beijing Morning Post

(07/15/02) The title song of The Touch went to media for the first time at Kelly Chan's concert on July 12th, in Hong Kong. According to the "Yangtze River Daily" (China), there are two versions of the title song - one that's in Mandarin and another that's in Tibetan. The Mandarin version is sung by Kelly Chan while the Tibetan one is sung by Han Hong, a (female) Tibetan singer. The title of the song is "Tian Ya", which means "the edge of the world" in Chinese.

(07/13/02) At The Touch Official Site: two new wallpapers and Artwork (Enhanced Media).

(07/10/02) Some samples of the original 5.1 DVD soundtrack have been launched at The Touch Official Site (Enhanced Media -> Soundtrack). They are accompanied by animated photos from the film.

(07/09/02) A new poster of The Touch - see Posters section at the left.

(07/08/02) Your may voice your concerns on the U.S. release of The Touch etc. to Disney/Miramax. For details please see News (07/08).

(07/05/02) A sad piece of news for U.S. fans... Various Hong Kong news reported that Miramax is thinking of delaying the U.S. release of The Touch until NEXT SUMMER (#%&%&!!!). This is ridiculous. By the time next summer comes along, whatever hype that's generated in Asia that The Touch could ride on to conquer the U.S. will long have dissipated. I was hoping it would get better treatment from Miramax. Despite their history of disrespectfully treating Asian films, I thought they would notice this work is intended for audience from both East and West and it's mainly made in English.

Some discussion of the Miramax issue has been going on at the message board of The Touch official site. Miramax handles The Touch release for North America, the U.K., Italy, Australia and a number of other territories.

On a happier note:
    "Journey of The Touch - Producer's Story", written by producer Thomas Chung, is up at The Touch Official Site (Making The Movie).

    Photos from TSL The Touch Jewelry Collection unveiling ceremony, July 4, Hong Kong. The general release date of The Touch in Hong Kong is August 1st. Michelle told reporters she's feeling nervous, as though she's about to give birth.

    Michelle also said Miramax had asked her to make The Touch sequel and a script is already under development. However, Michelle is more interested in making Hua Mulan first. "Mulan will be the best, the meatest and most challenging role on all levels," said Michelle.

Photos from TSL The Touch Jewelry Collection Unveiling Ceremony

(07/03/02) The Touch Official Site: The official trailer (the one which will come out across Asia in cinemas on July 4th) and a 5 minute Behind the Scenes video. Michelle was injured during one of the action sequences and you can see how it happened here. (Go to Enhanced Media -> Trailer)

(07/01/02) Michelle fans from Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore - you're so lucky because you're going to get to see The Touch before so many other people! Even more, you have chance to see it together with MICHELLE at the premieres!

Hong Kong fans: Han Entertainment Limited is going to give out 100 free Hong Kong premiere tickets of The Touch. For details see thetouchmovie.com/premiere.html.

Fans from Malaysia and Singapore may have similar luck. If you would like to go to the premiere, you may post your request at the message board of The Touch Official Site (under the topic "Calling on fans in HK, S'pore and Malaysia").

Premiere schedule:
    Hong Kong: July 29 (UA Pacific Place)
    Malaysia: July 30 (Kuala Lumpur Mid Valley)
    Singapore: July 31

(06/27/02) The message board - open for everyone - is up at The Touch Official Site!

In the current issue of Premiere magazine (July 2000, p.34), there is an article on The Touch shooting (entitled "Knocking on Heaven's Lake") and a photo from the Beijing set.

(06/26/02) New at The Touch Official Site: Michelle's diary in Qingdao and many photos.

Thank you all for participating in the survey poll. We've got 150+ positive votes. Know what, we're going to see the video clips and get the music, not only that but we also will be informed which section of the music relates to which part of the story. Additionally, there'll be a new trailer... all this is coming in early July!

(06/24/02) Lots of new photos are on The Touch Official Site (in Photo Gallery).

Not only Thomas Chung, now Michelle herself has been posting on the The Touch Treasure Hunt message board too! Hang on, a message board for everyone (not only Hong Kong residents) is on its way!

(06/20/02) A survey poll has been set up at the left side of this page. Please vote! The more positive votes we get, more clips we will get! [updated 06/26: the poll is closed]

Last night I had a "conversation" with Thomas Chung - yep, Thomas Chung the co-producer of The Touch, through a message board at the "The Touch Treasure Hunt Game" site which is only open to Hong Kong residents. Thomas was asking if there are many people who are interested in listening to the music scores of the film on the official site. He will put 2 samples if he gets 20 positive votes, 4 samples for 40 votes, 6 samples for 60 votes. If there are more than 80 positive votes, he will share with us a sample of a title song! I told him many fans are not from Hong Kong and they can't enter the message board to vote. He agreed to count the votes from my site as well. Thomas also has an extended film clip on The Touch and a 6 min. long "behind-the-scene" clip. Again, he would like to see the number of people who are interested in it before he decides how much he puts on!

I pushed him to get a message board for everyone - not only for fans from Hong Kong. He kindly agreed and we can expect one by the end of this month (yay!).

Now some information from Thomas on The Touch's premieres:
    Hong Kong: July 29
    Malaysia: July 30 in Kuala Lumpur Mid Valley
    Singapore: July 31
    China (tentative): Guangzhou Aug 1, Shanghai Aug 2, Beijing Aug 3, Chengdu Aug 4, Wuhan Aug 5
Looks like Michelle will be busy touring in Southeast Asia ;-).

Information on the U.S. release:
   "In the US, Mirmax is the distributor for The Touch. It may go out under the Dimension or the Miramax label. They are planning an extensive 4-5 month publicity campaign before releasing it. All we know is that it will go out BIG."

Well, I guess people in the U.S. will have to be patient!

Now after reading all these - don't forget to vote on the survey poll. Thank you.

(06/18/02) From UDN (Taiwan): The release date of The Touch has been postponed from July 27 to August 17 in Taiwan . Michelle's June visit to Taiwan (previously scheduled for this Thursday) is also postponed until next month. Reportedly the postponement is due to the crowded film releases in July.

(06/16/02) According to the Taiwanese media, Michelle will arrive in Taiwan on June 20th for the first round of The Touch promotion. She will accept interviews from newspapers and magazines. She will be in Taiwan again at the end July for the Taiwan premiere. The first trailer of The Touch is currently showing in Taiwanese theatres. On the 29th the second trailer will start there.

Reportedly, the Hong Kong premiere of The Touch is currently scheduled for July 29 at UA Pacific Place.

(06/13/02) From "UDN" (Taiwan): The Touch filmmakers have decided not to make Cantonese dubbed version for the Hong Kong and Malaysian market. However, there will be a Mandarin dubbed version shown in Mainland China (where all Hollywood movies are dubbed into Mandarin).

Ms. Huang Bao-Yun, the director of Pandasia Entertainment, said only the original English version will be shown in Taiwan. But she may try to convince Michelle and Thomas Chung to submit the Mandarin dubbed version for (Taiwan) Golden Horse Awards, since the current rules for a Golden Horse film entry requires that at least 50% of it be in a Chinese language. The chairman of the Hong Kong Film Awards said a work can compete for the Hong Kong Film Awards as long as the film is (co)-produced by a registered Hong Kong company and at least half of its cast and crew are from Hong Kong.

(06/11/02) CCTV (China) reported that the distribution contract of The Touch for Mainland China was signed yesterday in Guangzhou. Beijing Bona Culture Exchange Ltd and Guangdong Chinese Film Sales will handle the distribution of the film in China. The Touch will be released in the Greater China region in late July.

A press conference was held in Guangzhou China Hotel in the afternoon of June 10th. Michelle, Thomas Chung and Brandon Chang accepted interviews. Asked about her experience of being on double duty as the film's lead actress and but also an executive producer, Michelle said her producer duty was temporarily suspended whenever she was in front of the camera. During that time, she concentrated on acting and did whatever the director Peter Pau told her to do. After the shooting, the director would come to her and ask opinions from the producer. "It was very interesting," Michelle said, "Our director distinguished between my two duties very well!"

Since the cinematographer for both The Touch and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is Peter Pau, some reporters asked if the two films are similar. Michelle said Peter Pau is a very talented cinematographer. He always chooses lenses based on materials. These two films are very different in style.

A reporter asked Michelle if she's worried about the box office since Spider-Man is due to be shown in China in July as well. Michelle said it doesn't matter. "The important thing is," she said, "don't watch it on pirated video. Only in theatre can you experience the best effects." Asked how much box office she's expecting in Guangzhao, where Harry Potter made a 5,000,000 Yuan box record, Michelle laughed: "6,000,000 Yuan! More is better, of course!"

Perhaps because his Mandarin was not very good, Brandon Chang looked shy and nervous when facing the Mainland media for the first time. Whenver she could, Michelle would help him - sometimes translating for him, sometimes making jokes.

Reporters asked Michelle if Brandon Chang will join the cast of Hua Mulan. Michelle looked at Brandon and said: "We will talk about that when his Mandarin is better than mine."

Sometime ago, there was a rumor saying Crouching Tiger 2 would start soon. Asked about this, Michelle said: "It's impossible. I met Ang Lee in Los Angeles a couple of months ago. The earliest possible time for Crouching Tiger 2 is next year." Asked what's her number one ranked project next, she answered: "Of course it's Hua Mulan". Michelle said she would like to make a film from women's point of view. In Hua Mulan, she can find love, hate, and women's tenderness.

The distributors believe The Touch will become the Chinese media focus after the World Cup.

Photos from Guangzhou: Michelle & Brandon Chang

(06/10/02) New at The Touch Official Site: Set Design. Written by the Art Director Second Chan.

    According to Screen Daily, The Touch was sold to Italia Film for the Middle East and Central Partnership for Russia at the Cannes film market.

(06/02/02) Michelle attended a news conference for The Touch's promotion on sunday, in Hong Kong. The Touch Official Site is hosting a treasure hunt game which offers winning prizes of HK$500,000 in total. The game is starting now and will last until the film releases in late July (Asia), and is available for Hong Kong residents only. Also in attendance at the conference was Brandon Chang, who played some games and performed some Kung-fu moves for the audience at the conference. Two trailers of The Touch were shown as well.

Michelle told reporters that director Peter Pau is now in San Francisco working on special sound effects for the film. Especially for the parts when Michelle uses a silk scarf as a weapon. Michelle says the silk scarf is soft and very difficult to control, she got NGed many times while shooting the scenes. But don't think a scarf is not dangerous, Michelle said she actually hurt her opponent - accidentally - with the scarf during the shooting.

Reportedly many buyers at Cannes showed strong interests in the sequel, which may start next year. The shooting locations in consideration for the sequel include China, India, Vietnam and/or Malaysia.

Photos from the News Press of Treasure Hunt Game

(05/28/02) According to Taiwan UDN news, The Touch is scheduled to premiere in Hong Kong on July 22 and in Taiwan on July 24. But it's not expected to hit U.S. screens until September.

Photos from UND: Michelle and Ben Chaplin

(05/28/02) The Touch news Highlights:
    * The Touch is listed by "The Hollywood Reporter" (Cannes Special Issue, May 2002) on its annual The A-List: the ten debut films that will create buzz in Cannes.
    * On the dispute between Han Entertainment and French distributor M6/SND:
            Screen Daily (May 28)   The Hollywood Reporter (May 20)
For detailed news during the 55th Cannes Film Festival (May 15 - 26) see News.

(05/08/02) A news conference on The Touch and the signing ceremony for co-distribution rights of the film for South East Asia were held in Hong Kong on May 8, by Golden Harvest and Han Entertainment. Attendants included Michelle, Thomas Chung, Brandon Chang, Raymond Chow (the chairman of Golden Harvest), and the directors of the distribution from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. The contract between Golden Harvest and Han Entertainment was signed. The film is said to be released in Hong Kong and across South East Asia on July 26.

Reportedly the post-production of the film is currently going on in Beijing and U.S.. A trailer has already been shown in theatres in Hong Kong.

Young actor Brandon Chang told reporters how his master, Michelle, and Uncle Long (Long Sihung) helped him during his first film shooting. He will perform a theme song and may also join the performance of the main title song for The Touch.

A memorial to Long Sihung is planned to be held at the Taiwan premiere of the film.

Photos from the News Press of Han Entertainment and Golden Harvest

(05/07/02) The second part of Michelle's diary, My Days in Dun Huang, along with some photos, are up at The Touch Official Site. Oh dear re the horse. And funny (or maybe not so funny) the insurance company wouldn't insure her left knee!

Hollywood Reporter:
Golden Harvest in 'Touch'
HONG KONG -- Golden Harvest Entertainment has acquired theatrical distribution rights for Michelle Yeoh's summer actioner "The Touch" for Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. Details of the deal are expected to be announced Wednesday. The $20 romantic action adventure, which also stars Ben Chaplin and Richard Roxburgh, is expected to be released July 26 in Asia. No date has been set for its U.S. release, which will be handled by Miramax. (Winnie Chung)

(05/06/02) Ming Pao (Hong Kong) news reported that Hong Kong singer Kelly Chen will be the one who performs the title song for The Touch.

Earlier reports indicated there were different preferences between the investors of the film. Taiwanese investor wanted Taiwanese singer Sherry Chang but Hong Kong investor wanted Kelly Chen. Both Chen and Chang are top singers in Asia.

(05/02/02) Famous Taiwanese actor Long Sihung, Michelle's co-star in The Touch, passed away at the morning of May 2nd, in a Taipei hospital due to his worsened heart, kidney and liver diseases. He was 72.

Long Sihung is known to many people for his Sir Te role in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He is also famous as the father figures in Ang Lee's other three films: Pushing Hands, The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman. He acted in more than 100 films and he was awarded best actor and best supporting actor at the Golden Horse Awards for his roles in Pushing Hands and The Wedding Banquet respectively. He was well respected as an actor as well as a person.

Long Sihung had been in bad health for years. He didn't attend last year's Oscars for Crouching Tiger because of his health condition. Last fall, he accepted Michelle's invitation to star in The Touch and joined the shooting in Dunhuang in October. Michelle says Long Sihung was her first choice for the knowledgeable lama role. It was Long Sihung's first (and only) film which is entirely in English. He worked very hard for the English dialogues, word by word. To show honor and respect, the filmmakers of The Touch have decided to cancel the arrangement of dubbing his lines so Long Sihung's voice can be heard in his last film.

Reportedly Michelle's Hua Mulan was considering inviting Long Sihung to play Mulan's father. But now, sadly and unexpectedly, The Touch became his posthumous work.

Photos from Dunhuang

(04/25/02) According to Screen Daily, Fortissimo Film Sales is going to handle The Touch distributions in outstanding territories including Japan, Korea, Germany, Scandinavia and East Europe. The film was pre-sold to Miramax for the US, UK and Italy and a number of other territories. But French M6, which committed to the French rights of the film, is having problem with the negotiation.

The Touch is to be released in Hong Kong on July 22.

(04/18/02) The first part of Diary of Michelle - My Journey on "The Touch" is published at The Touch Official Site: Making The Movie - Story of Tibet. It describes in details her days in Tibet during The Touch shooting with many local pictures.

(04/17/02) Brandon Chang may join Sherry Chang and/or Kelly Chen to preform the title song for The Touch (see News (April 17) for more details and a photo).

(04/15/02) Ben Chaplin talks about The Touch. See the article on TV Guide. It says the film is slated for release in late 2002 or early 2003.

(04/04/02) Three more video clips from The Touch Beijing Press Conference (December 5, 2001) by NetandTV.com. See Video section of this page.

Clips include the press Conference and Michelle interviews. Some trailers, movie stills, and shooting sets are also shown. Michelle spoke in Mandarin and some English. In one of the clips she said they were having difficulty looking for the girl to play juvenile years of her character.

(03/16/02) You may sign up your e-mail at The Touch Official site to get the latest information on the film, upcoming events and promotions.

(03/06/02) The Official site has been updated. New photos, character descriptions, wallpaper, etc..

According to UDN news, Sherry Chang (a.k.a. A-Mei) will perform the title song of The Touch, "Himalayas". The same song is also sung by Margaret Wang in a scene of the film.

(03/01/02) UDN (Taiwan) published two more The Touch on set photos. They were shot inside the Beijing Film Studios - at January 10 (new photos are added at the end) I believe.

(02/20/02) The Touch sequel! Hollywood Reporter published an article "'Touch' already a go for sequel before release" today at the front line of its International section. The producers, the director, and the screenwriters are planing to team up again for a $30 million sequel. The article also says the music score of The Touch is being composed by Basil Poledouris (Les Miserables) and the editing is being done by Marshall Harvey. See News (Feb 20) for a link to the article.

(02/06/02) Official The Touch website!     thetouchmovie.com . A teaser trailer can be downloaded in Quicktime and WndowMedia format. It's basically the same as the one in the Video section of this page with some additional text at the beginning and the end. The picture quality of the trailer on this site is a little better than the one from the official site.

(02/03/02) A teaser trailer of The Touch! See Video section for the downloading links.

Now the latest of the film - Filming of The Touch in Penang started at the early morning of 2nd and finished about 11:45AM of 3rd, local time. Now the entire filming has officially completed.

No reporter was allowed to visit the set during the Penang shooting. Most of the reports from (poor) reporters are when and where Michelle went for dining. Michelle left Penang at 2nd. Local media joked that now they could get relaxed and stop waiting outside the hotel and chasing Michelle around under the tropical sun!

I myself was hoping we would learn something about the young Michelle actress, since it is a flashback. Well, no. While the teenage Michelle still remains mystery, what we learn is the boy who plays the young Eric (Ben Chaplin's character). Kwong Wah Yit Poh reported that a German boy named Horald P. Burchardt, who has lived in Malaysia for 8 years, was chosen to play young Ben Chaplin. (Minor spoiler warning. Highlight the following text if you'd like to read.) [ A scene was shot at Cathay Hotel is about young Eric, who's from a poor family, was stealing and got caught. ]

Actors Ken Tsang (co-star of Michelle in Supercop and Royal Warriors) and Winston Chao (co-star of Michelle in The Soong Sisters) are reportedly among the cast and appeared at the Penang shooting.

Photo from Sin Chew: Ken Tsang, second to right, and his wife (third to right) with The Touch crew in Penang.

(01/31/02) According to a Malaysian newspaper (Kwong Wah Yit Poh), Michelle is currently in Penang, Malaysia. The last two days of shooting for The Touch will take place on February 2nd and 3rd at Cathay Hotel (Kuo Tai Hotel).

The scene being shot at Cathay Hotel is a short flashback of 80's. Michelle herself will not appear in it. It is said the film director thought this place fit with the story very well when he saw a picture of the hotel. Someone was sent to check out the location and they decided to shoot the scene there. The hall which is being used for shooting has been repainted and some furniture was sent from Kuala Lumpur in order to better reflect the style of the time period.

This will be the last part of the shooting. The entire filming will then wrap up at February 3rd.

(01/30/02) At Hong Kong's 2001 Leaders of the Year Awards (for more details see News), reporters had a brief interview with Michelle. Michelle had been very busy recently with the post-production of The Touch. They have to finish the cutting before they could show it to the composer. Michelle told reporters she will have to spend the Chinese New Year in U.S., mainly to work with the composer and also to attend the American Film Market. When asked if the film exceeded its budget, Michelle admitted it's tight but she's making sure it's under control.

(01/23/02) A great report on The Touch shooting from SCMP (December 8, 2001).

(01/14/02) According to China Times (Taiwan), the last few days of shooting will take place in Malaysia later this month. A post from Yahoo! Michelle Club (by Mailoon) says a Malaysian Chinese press reported some shooting will be in Penang, Malaysia, possibly around Jan. 29 to Feb 5. At this point I'm not sure what will be shot in Malaysia. A wild guess is some scenes which involve street shooting or explosions and are not permitted to be shot in Qingdao or Beijing.

It is kind of confusing... as some Taiwanese news sources reported the entire filming of The Touch wrapped up in Beijing at 12th and a celebration banquet was held with more than 100 people attended.

Since the shooting started last September, The Touch team had gone through Tibet, Dunhuang, Qindao and Beijing. For over a month, the shooting had been going on in Beijing and Ba Yi Film Studios with as many as 230 crew members involved. Six film studios are used inside Beijing Film Studios. Five of them are used to represent certain locations of Dunhuang, including some caves with paintings and statues.

Another big hall is used as the circus performance hall. A circus show, based on a classical Chinese story - Monkey King battles the Third Prince Li, is performed by Michelle and Brandon Chang. Dressed in silver color, two of them fly through back and forth of a waterfall under strong stage lights.

Thomas Chung told reporters that Quentin Tarantino and Yuen Wo-Ping (the action director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Drangon and the director of Wing Chun and Tai Chi Master) went to visit their shooting.

Michelle is going to be at the 2002 American Film Market (AFM. February 20 - 27) for The Touch promotion.

(01/10/02) From United Daily News (Taiwan):

The filming of The Touch will be wrapped up in Beijing on 12th of January, a few days earlier than previously scheduled.

As the leading actress as well as a producer, Michelle is very excited to see her "first baby" (that's how she describes The Touch) to be born. Meanwhile she also hates to say good-bye to the crew members who have been working with her for the past half year.

Today they were shooting a scene when Michelle and Ben Chaplin fell into a secret cave under a big poplar tree. At the lunch break, reporters talked to Michelle who was covered by sand and dust from head to toe. In order to continue shooting in the afternoon, she had to keep the dirt on her face when having a simple lunch. When asked if she feels the filming is painful, Michelle said pleasantly: "It's nothing. This is the first film I produced. I only feel excited. I never had this kind of feeling of excitement during my past 19 movies." This is one of the smoothest shootings she went through, according to Michelle.

Talking about the hard work they went through - the high altitude illness in Tibet; the storms in Dunhuang which made her eyes, nose and ears full of sand; the freezing cold ocean wind in Qingdao, the wire works in Beijing studios, ... all Michelle said was "exciting!"

The Touch will be 95% in English.

Here are some photos taken by UDN News reporters. At first Michelle didn't want to have pictures taken because she was all covered by dirt, even her face. But she agreed to do so under reporters' requests.

Photos from Beijing Film Studios

(01/03/02) Taiwan media reported that Sherry Chang (a.k.a. A-Mei), a famous Taiwanese singer, has been invited to perform the title song for The Touch.

Has returned to Taiwan from Beijing, actress Margaret Wang, together with the director of Pandasia Entertainment, Ms. Huang Bao-Yun, talked to media about the film today. First time working with Michelle, Margaret Wang is very impressed by and admires Michelle's devotion to work. She said Michelle did many dangerous scenes by herself. Even when hurt during actions, Michelle would still say "Let's try again". She also said Michelle is a very kind and caring person. The toughest part for her during filming was the frigid climate. When it was really cold, Michelle took her own coat off and put on her. (From The Great Entertainment Daily: a photo of Margaret Wang)

As mentioned before, the production of The Touch will be completed in the middle of this month and the film is scheduled to be screened at the 55th Cannes Film Festival, which will take place from 15th to 26th of May.

(12/12/01) A video clip (1:33. ETtoday) from The Touch press conference. You can actually see parts of the trailers! Peter Pau said: "While acquiring an element of mystery and wonder, all actions in 'The Touch' still follow the law of gravity and can be done by people in our modern time. It's not supernatural or same as the style of 'Crouching Tiger'."

Here are downloadable versions of the clip:
        Realmedia (2.6Mb)     Avi/DviX (1.6Mb)
(thanks to BAM. A DivX Video Codec (700K) may be needed in order to view Avi/DviX clip properly)

Some screencaps:
Michelle at the press conference  Scans from trailers

(12/08/01) Vote for your favourite teenage Michelle! 16 finalists have been selected by Yahoo! and Mythical Films from Singapore, Hong Kong and China. Go here to watch the videos and cast your vote. If you're serious with the voting, I'd suggest you NOT to skip videos as sometimes videos and photos give different impression.

(12/07/01) A group of reporters were invited to visit a shooting set of The Touch at Beijing suburb yesterday. A glass building was built with antique imitation inside. A big fight between Michelle and Dane Cook (plays Richard Roxburgh's cousin, a villain) takes place here. They are supposed to fight from outside to inside, from ground to ceiling. Some shooting was delayed due to the snow in Beijing, which made them worry that the glass roof may not support the weight of the snow and fall. When they were shooting at the second floor Michelle said she didn't dare to look down because she's afraid of height (- not when she hears "action"!). The building took more than two months to build but will end up in pieces in their fight!

Photos from Beijing suburb

Some additional information mentioned in various reports of the press conference:
    - The Touch has been shooting inside "Beijing Film Studios" and "Ba Yi Film Studios" (Beijing). Filming is expected to wrap in mid-January.
    - The editing of the film has been already started in Los Angeles. The first trailer will come to media when the production is finished.
    - Film editor and composer will be from Hollywood.

(12/05/01) The Touch press conference was held at Kunlun Hotel in Beijing at the afternoon of Dec. 5th. More than two hundreds of reporters crowded in. As the producers, Michelle and Thomas Chung talked about the new film . Other attendants included Peter Pau, Ben Chaplin, Richard Roxburgh, Dane Cook, Margaret Wang and Brandon Chang. Two trailers of the film were shown to the press, which showed sequences such as a young lama playing at Heaven's Lake, Michelle sweep-kicking bad guys with knives, an adventure of Brandon Chang and Margaret Wang, an intense fight of Ben Chaplin and Richard Roxburgh, etc..

[Spoiler warning] The following parts may contain some spoilers. Highlight the text if you'd like to read.
[ Yan Fei (Michelle's character) and her brother Yue Tong are star performers of an international acrobatic team. Yan Fei does not believe very much the treasure legend passed from her ancestors in the family. One day, her ex-boyfriend Eric suddenly appears after a few years of separation. He brings Yan Fei an authenticating object mentioned in the legend. Her brother and his girlfriend make off with it to the Silk Road looking for the treasure. A careerist Karl goes after it. Yan Fei had to be off to the Silk Road and the mysterious plateau in order to uncover and protect the treasure that her ancestors had been protecting.

The name of the film "The Touch" comes from a special acrobatic technique which is handed down to Michelle from the older generations of the family. It is called "The Touch" and Michelle also uses it at a key point of obtaining the treasure.

A few days ago during the filming, Michelle got hit very hard by another person's wire on her face, close to her left eye. Michelle described it as "very painful, like crashing into a wall". Fortunately no skin was broken so there will be no scar. She returned to work with the injury covered by her hair.

"There is a well known Chinese phrase saying 'who suffers the bitterest can taste the sweetest'," said Michelle.

The cast and crew members, regardless their nationalities, all highly praise Michelle and consider her as a "big sister".   "I feel we all live in a big family during the shooting. As an actress, I am very happy. As a producer, I am moved by the effort from everyone." Michelle spoke in a not very fluent Mandarin, "I spoke English and Malay when I was young. I had been learning Cantonese in Hong Kong. I'm now working hard to learn Mandarin. I had lived in western countries and my life style is somewhat westernized. But it doesn't affect that I am a Chinese."

While being asked to compare the shooting experience of The Touch with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Michelle said Crouching Tiger shooting was more painful, plus certain things put her in a depressed mood. The Touch had different technical difficulties. There are many non-Chinese people in the team. When they were in Tibet they could not even find a McDonald. She felt very bad that she could not provide help.

In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Michelle played a traditional, restrained Chinese woman. Her appearance in The Touch will still be a capable lady, but this time she's also humorous and smiling a lot. She says it's easy to act the role. (Jane's note: doesn't it sound like Michelle herself?)

While being asked about her appearance in Bond 20, Michelle said she is invited to guest star in it. But since it will take a couple of weeks and Michelle's next project Hua Mulan will start early next year as well, she's still considering it.

Thomas Chung told press that the budget of the film is $20 million and the cost for sets inside studios only is up to 8 figures (Hong Kong dollars). They had shot at more than 30 places in Dunhuang caves.

Michelle and other main filmmakers of The Touch accepted interviews after the press conference.

Peter Pau expressed that he's very satisfied with such a big production. He was sleepless due to excitement. While being asked if The Touch is going to have the achievement as Crouching Tiger, Pau said he's not thinking about Oscars. Awards sometimes depend on opportunity. After The Touch he's going to direct Hua Mulan. It's an even bigger and more challenging film. So far the only actor fixed for it is Michelle.

Ben Chaplin said he had kissing scenes with other actresses (e.g. Nicole Kidman) before but this time with Michelle was the one he felt the luckiest. (!)

A day before the conference, producer Thomas Chung showed reporters some shooting sets built for the film inside the studios, including the treasure cell and the circus performance hall.

Photos from the press conference

(12/04/01)According to Screen International, shooting of The Touch has moved into studios in Beijing. "We are on course to wrap the picture on Jan 15 as scheduled. We did so much pre-production that we have been extremely organized and the shoot so far has been very good." Michelle said.

Also see News (Dec. 4) for Michelle's production company separating from Media Asia and now becoming Han Entertainment. The Touch is officially a co-production between Han Entertainment, Taiwan's Pandasia and China's Tianjin Film Studios.

(11/23/01) CCTV and Nanfang Daily (China) reported that The Touch is currently shooting at suburb of Beijing. The filming of the film has been going very smoothly and is expected to wrap up soon in Beijing. Reportedly a press conference will be held in Beijing on December 5th. About 260 reporters from Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, America and southeast Asia will attend. The film is aimed to be released globally next July.

Nanfang Daily had an exclusive interview with co-producer Thomas Chung.
Reporter: Why do you choose to shoot the film in Tibet and Dunhuang?
Chung: Because the story of "The Touch" happened in remote regions of China. Shooting in Tibet and Dunhuang made the film more special. To tell the truth, it was very risky to shoot in Tibet!
Reporter: I heard that the preparation and shooting of "The Touch" were very hard?
Chung: It is a 20 million big production. The pressure on me is very big. Started from the beginning of last year, we re-wrote six versions of the script. We spent three months to search the male lead before we fixed with Ben Chaplin. To choose the shooting locations, we went everywhere in China and the procedure itself cost about 1 million. The management is not easy even after the shooting started. We have more than 300 crew members coming from 12 countries.
Reporter: You had worked with Peter Pau many times. But it is the first time to have him as director. Is it because of the success of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"?
Chung: Of course not. I started to talk with him about directing "The Touch" before the production of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" was even finished. Right after Michelle Yeoh and I fixed the outline of the story of the film, we both thought Peter Pau would be a perfect candidate to direct it.
Reporter: How is the cooperation with Michelle Yeoh?
Chung: Very well. I only knew she was an action star before. But now I realized she also has potential to be a good scriptwriter.

(11/01/01) Two more photos are added at Photos from Tibet. One is from Liberty Times (Taiwan): On the traditional praying ceremony for good fortune before shooting. The Potala Palace, Lhasa, September 14. .

(10/28/01) Taiwanese media had a telephone interview with the co-producer Thomas Chung yesterday. Originally Michelle was also scheduled for an interview but she was too busy with the shooting.

Since the filming started in the mid September, The Touch has done the most difficult parts of the filming in Tibet and Dunhuang, and it is currently shooting in Qingdao. Mr. Chung said the cast and crew members come from 12 different countries. Six assistant directors speak different languages. But the team has been cooperating very well. The scenes they have shot are surprisingly beautiful and real. No computer effect. All of them are captured by Peter Pau's camera.

Currently in Qingdao the scenes being shot are the beginning part of the film, the exterior scenes of the acrobatic performances, also the scenes of Richard Roxburgh's initial appearance. By the end of November The Touch team will go to Beijing for its final part of the interior shooting. They are going to build the sets inside Beijing Film Studios and continue more actions and the acrobatic performances.

Had no prior experience in martial arts, Ben Chaplin has been working very hard. Once during a fight scene he was too nervous and accidentally injured Michelle and a few others. Fortunately no injury was serious.

Various Taiwan and Hong Kong news reported some details of the shooting in Tibet. During the two week period in Tibet, The Touch team went to Lhasa, Himalayas, and the Namucuo Lake (Namtso Lake, also known as "Lake in Heaven", which is 4,718 meters (15,475 feet) above sea-level and the highest saltwater lake in the world). The first day shooting took place at Dazhao Lamasery and the Potala Palace. They got local governors' supports and were allowed to shoot on the golden roofs of the buildings. One day they had 1,500 extras to appear in a market scene where Michelle and Ben Chaplin were supposed to kiss each other. The shooting attracted many tourists and locals and they had to use policemen to keep the orders. It was hard to get so many people in control and the kissing scene took 12 takes to complete. (Thomas Chung was very satisfied with the result and said: "We really got the right man!") Once they were shooting a large scene at the Putala Palace at six o'clock in the morning. When more than 2,000 extras were in position, Michelle was suddenly sick and rushed to the hospital by ambulance. She went back to work right after being released from the hospital. With the good arrangement and directing, Peter Pau managed to finish the scene with one take. The last day of the shooting took place in front of the Potala Palace. More than 2,500 extras were used, including some tourists who lived in nearby hotels. Some were imposed as lamas, and others were playing Tibetan instruments.

The most beautiful scene in Tibet was at Namucuo Lake. They started their trip at 1:00AM and drove 5 hours to catch the sunrise. While shooting at the Namucuo Lake, the frozen lake started to melt under the beautiful sunshine. The unfrozen lake was so beautiful and Peter Pau exclaimed: "Even Heaven is helping us!" Michelle said: "We have been preparing this project for 18 months. Today is a lucky day." To fit with the environment, they rent some rarely seen Tibetan horses for the shooting.

Photos from Tibet

(10/26/01) Qingdao News reported that on Oct. 25th, the filming of The Touch was taking place at the Yingbin Building (Guest House). No reporter was allowed to visit the set.

(10/24/01) The shooting of The Touch has been moved from Dunhuang to Qingdao (also translated as Tsingtao. Yes, it is the Tsingtao which is famous for its Tsingtao Beer to many westerners. It is also the city where Wang Dulu had lived for 12 years and wrote his Crouching Tiger novels. ). On the evening of 22nd, a Qingdao News reporter rushed to a restaurant where The Touch filmmakers were having a banquet. He saw Michelle, who was in blue casual clothes, entering the hall but didn't get a chance to do an interview.

Chinatimes (Taiwan) reported that the director of Pandasia Entertainment, Ms. Huang, visited the shooting set while they were in Dunhuang. She told reporters that many important and beautiful scenes for the film had been shot in Tibet and Dunhuang. The temperature in both places varies greatly between day and night and the shooting was difficult. Being the main actress as well as a producer, Michelle has been very busy and become even thinner (!). The cast and crew of The Touch come from different parts of the world and look like a small version of the united nations. Almost half of the crew had worked for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Also news from Hong Kong: Hong Kong actor/singer Gabriel Harrison (a.k.a. Hoi Jun Git) is among the cast. Sing Tao Daily reported that Gabriel Harrison was spotted on a movie premiere in Hong Kong Tuesday evening. He told reporters that he just returned from the shooting of The Touch in Mainland, and he will soon continue his shooting parts in Beijing and Qingdao.

(10/06/01) Filming of The Touch was moved from Lhasa to Dunhuang (Gansu province) at the end of September. During the past few days, the shooting has been going on in the desert near Dunhuang city, mainly at Mingsha Sand Dunes (Singing-sand Mountain) and Mogao Grottoes. More than two hundred crew members are involved. Filming in Dunhuang will last until Oct. 16. Then the shooting team will go to Qingdao (Tsingtao) for an approximately 40 day shooting before it moves on to Beijing. (from UDNnews and Tianjin Daily)

(10/04/01) Reuters/Variety: Thesp-standup comic Dane Cook, who recently wrapped a lead role in Betty Thomas' R3, will join Michelle Yeoh and Ben Chaplin in The Touch.

(09/30/01) According to Taiwan UDNnews, the supporting actress Margaret Wang Yu-Jie has headed to Dunhuang from Taiwan. She will participate in the filming of The Touch in Dunhuang, Qingdao, and Beijing until at least Christmas. I assume this also means the shooting in Tibet is wrapping up or has already wrapped up?

(09/20/01) Filming of The Touch officially started at The Potala Palace, Lhasa on September 14. Despite some symptoms of high altitude illness among team members, the team is in excellent spirit.

The filming team arrived at Lhasa at the morning of September 12. By noon many crew members had symptoms of high altitude illness . The team took three day rest before starting shooting in order to adjust to the high altitude environment. A traditional open shooting ceremony (praying for good fortune) was held on 14th. (Michelle was fine by that time and even took a chance to visit the Lhasa Museum.)

Photos:   Pray before shooting   Michelle and Brandon Chang   Ben Chaplin

Oriental Daily reported that once at a shooting set (at an altitude of 16,400 feet) Michelle suffered high altitude illness and needed emergency treatments. She soon recovered and took part in the filming. Three military doctors who are experienced in treating high altitude illness are with the shooting team.

Co-producer Thomas Chung told reporters that the shooting in Tibet is a very hard task. But everyone has been trying their best and no one had any complaints. It's an unforgettable experience for him, Chung said. They travel from place to place, sometimes overnight. Filming locations in Tibet include The Potala Palace and the Himalayas. Some are as high as 23,000 feet above sea-level.

(09/12/01) Michelle headed to Lhasa, Tibet on Tuesday with The Touch team. Shooting in Tibet involves mostly big scenes with large number of extras, including thousands of lamas. Not many actions for Michelle except a few horse riding scenes. The main concern in Tibet is the possible high altitude illness since the shooting will be at about 14,000 feet above sea-level. Michelle said oxygen tanks are carried with the team, just in case. Shooting will last for about three weeks in Tibet and the next shooting location will be Dunhuang.

(09/09/01) News from Hong Kong: Two western co-stars for The Touch, Ben Chaplin (male lead) and Richard Roxburgh (main villain), arrived Hong Kong on Sunday. Thomas Chung (co-producer) greeted them at the airport (click here for a photo). Thomas Chung told the media that on Tuesday he will head to Chengdu, from there the shooting team will go to Tibet. A good luck pray for the production was held last week.

Reportedly Long Sihung (who played Sir Te in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the father figure in another three Ang Lee's films) is among the cast.

(08/27/01) The Hollywood Reporter: Ben Chaplin has signed to star opposite Michelle Yeoh in The Touch, which is to begin principal photography in China and Tibet next month. Chaplin, whose films include The Thin Red Line and the upcoming Birthday Girl with Nicole Kidman, will star as Yeoh's love interest in the $20 million romantic adventure caper set against a traveling circus. The film marks Yeoh's debut as a producer and her first movie appearance since last year's runaway hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Touch, which will be in English, is scheduled for a summer 2002 release. The movie will be directed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Peter Pau (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who directed the Hong Kong production Temptation of Dance and the Korean production Misty.

      Miramax has acquired rights to the film for North America, the United Kingdom and Italy, while France's M6 has acquired French rights.

(08/24/01) The Hollywood Reporter: Miramax Films has picked up domestic and select international rights to the Hong Kong English-language action-thriller The Touch starring Michelle Yeoh, who also produces the film.

(08/08/01) Mythical Films and Yahoo! Hong Kong are conducting an internet search looking for a girl to play Michelle's character in her juvenile years. For more details please see What's New (Aug. 8).

(08/04/01) Tianjin Everyday News (Xin Bao) reports that China's Tianjin Film Studio is one of the co-production companies for The Touch. The shooting of the film is scheduled to start on Aug. 17 at Lhasa. The production is expected to be completed by February next year.

(07/31/01) News from Taiwan: Taiwanese actress Wang Yu-Jie has signed on The Touch to play girlfriend of Michelle's brother (Brandon Chang). Reportedly Michelle and Peter Pau had very good impressions of her and asked screenwriters to increase her parts in the film. She will go to China at end of August and participate in the shooting for three months. Wang Yu-Jie is 20 years old and has done a movie and a TV show as well as a number of commercials. One of Michelle's goals is to discover young talents in Chinese film industry.

(07/26/01) CCTV (China) reports that The Touch team will be off to Lhasa (Tibet) on Aug 11 and the shooting will start officially on Aug. 17. Interestingly, the first sequence to be shot will be the ending of the film. The filming locations include Lhasa, Dunhuang, Qingdao, and Beijing.

(07/24/01) More news/rumors: Michelle is in talks with Hugh Jackman (X-Men), David Duchovny (The X Files), and Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge, Star Wars II) for one of the trio to star as the male lead. (thanks to Ivan)

(07/22/01) Various HK news sources report that the male lead for the film is being considered among Hugh Jackman (X-Men), John Cusack, James Marsden (X-Men), and Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea). The main villain is reportedly to be Richard Roxburgh (Moulin Rouge). The brother role of Michelle's character will be played by the 19 year old Canadian Chinese Brandon Chang, who is said to be Michelle's disciple. Shooting is expected to start shortly. The budget of the film is about US $20 million.

(06/22/01) Pandasia Entertainment (Taiwan) became one of the main investors for the film. At the Pandasia press conference, Michelle and Thomas Chung confirmed that the shooting would start at late July.

(05/11/01) Media Asia's "The Touch - Unlock The Legend Party" was held today at Cannes. Michelle, Peter Pau, and Thomas Chung hosted more than 200 guests. Won't start the shooting until July, The Touch has already found its French distributor. The film is set to be shown at next year's Cannes Film Festival.

(04/03/01) Michelle, Peter Pau, Thomas Chung (director of Media Asia), Julien Carbon and Laurent Courtiaud (script writers), with a team of thirty people headed to China on Monday. They're going to spend 3 weeks in China to check out the filming locations, which include Chengdu, Shanghai, and the Silk Road. The actual filming is planned to start in July and will last about 5 months.

(03/31/01) Hong Kong news: Mythical Films and Media Asia held a press conference for The Touch today. Peter Pau was officially introduced as the director of the film (he signed the contract a half year ago) and he will be the director of cinematography as well. The team of photographers for The Touch will be the same as for CTHD. The budget has been increased from HK $95 million to HK $150 million. Two male leads are not fixed yet. The film will start shooting this summer in China.

(03/30/01) Peter Pau (chat, March 24):
    "After working with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon--it was the first time working with Michelle Yeoh, and she asked me to direct her next feature, called The Touch. I was thrilled by her ideas about the film, and I completely revised the story."
    "We are ready to go for pre-production now, and ready to shoot in July, in China again. We are able to go to more distant locations, like Tibet, Dunhuang, Shanghai, and Beijing. It's a contemporary story, a romantic action adventure film. It should make it to theaters in summer of 2002."

(03/16/01) SCMP: The (HK) $95 million movie tells the story of a travelling circus family and their adventures while touring China. The script is being written by Julien Carbon and Laurent Courtiaud, who also wrote Johnnie To's Running Out Of Time. "A romantic action adventure set in China - that's something new," says Peter Pau.

(03/06/01) According to E!Online, The Touch will be a comedy-action-adventure set in present-day Shanghai and the Himalayas and featuring a diverse cast. It will be a predominantly English-language film.

(01/26/01) Hong Kong news: The shooting of The Touch will start in the middle of this year. It is planned for it to be shot in Beijing and Dunhuang (Tun-Huang, on the Silk Road) and Michelle will go to check out the locations next month. Also, Michelle has invited the Chinese Shen Yang Acrobatic Team to take part in the film. She's going to do some training with the team in March and April.

The Hong Kong media describes the film as 'a female version of Indiana Jones'. According to reports from last year, the film is about Michelle and her brother (Daniel Wu) retrieving a family missing treasure.

The film is going to be released in summer 2002. (A year and half of waiting?!! Ohmigod...)

Official Site: The Touch
Japanese Official Site
UpcomingMovies: The Touch
( page created: 01/26/01,   last modified: 11/14/08)