Hero
Original Title: 英雄
Directed by: Zhang Yimou
Written by: Li Feng, Wang Bin, Zhang Yimou
Cinematography: Christopher Doyle
Music by: Tan Dun
Country: China, Hong Kong
Genres: Action, Adventure, History
Duration: 99 min, 107 min (extended)
Release Dates: 19 Dec. 2002 (CHN), 7 Feb. 2003 (Berlin), 27 Aug. 2004 (USA)
Filming Dates: 11 August 2001 – 19 January 2002
Filming Locations: China (Hangzhou, Dun huang, Inner Mongolia)

Synopsis:
Zhang Yimou, the director of such Chinese epics as Red Sorghum, Raise the Red Lantern and Shanghai Triad, takes his first stab at a period martial arts film and succeeds wildly, making an intelligent, carefully crafted drama that pays tribute to the genre while taking it to another level. The story is set 2,000 years ago, during the time of the Warring States, when seven kindgoms were battling for dominance, and one leader–the king of Qin–was determined to end up victorious and unite all of China as one nation. The proud king is forced to live trapped alone in his palace as a remarkable trio of villains–Broken Sword, Flying Snow, and Sky–are out to kill him. But one day a simple country prefect shows up, announcing that he has killed all three assassins. Identifying himself as Nameless, the prefect tells in great detail how he got rid of the king’s sworn enemies. However, once Nameless is finished, the king has some interesting questions for him, pointing out holes in his tale. The cat-and-mouse story continues as Nameless and the king seek to find out the truth about the assassins and the future of China.

Casting

Jet Li
Nameless

Tony Leung
Broken Sword

Maggie Cheung
Flying Snow

Zhang Ziyi
Moon

Donnie Yen
Sky
Photos

Production stills

Captures

More pictures

Videos

Trailers

2:16 min   |   50 views
2:04 min   |   31 views
1:57 min   |   32 views
1:41 min   |   30 views
2:54 min   |   39 views
2:32 min   |   33 views
2:21 min   |   49 views
1:30 min   |   39 views
1:04 min   |   35 views

Movie clips

2:27 min   |   32 views
0:17 min   |   39 views
4:22 min   |   41 views
6:00 min   |   37 views
3:42 min   |   39 views
6:00 min   |   37 views
1:47 min   |   34 views
1:34 min   |   37 views
3:16 min   |   37 views
4:23 min   |   47 views

Bonus

♦ This movie was the most expensive Chinese movie at the time it was produced.
♦ Jackie Chan was offered the role of the King but turned it down.
♦ Jet Li agreed to a pay cut so he could be in the movie.
♦ Robin Shou was the original choice for the role of Sky but dropped out for unknown reasons. Jet Li then suggested to the director that Donnie Yen would make the perfect opponent for Jet’s own character.
♦ Miramax originally acquired the U.S. distribution rights in 2002 after the film’s huge success in Asia. However, the film did not receive its U.S. theatrical release until 2004. Before the release of the official U.S. version, the film gained a cult following in the States via “official” copies of the DVD from other countries.
♦ In ancient China, when someone claimed that he killed his enemies, he needed to present their heads (tou zi) as proof instead of their weapons. Zhang Yimou modified this, mindful of the audience’s stomachs, thus making the story less accurate.
♦ The Qin Empire preferred the color black, even for the horses. In order to be historically accurate, Zhang Yimou ordered all 300+ horses to be colored black (temporarily, of course) for the cavalry sequences.
♦ All of the soldiers in the Qin army sequence as well as the palace sequences were performed by actual Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers, except the stunt performers. It’s estimated that 18000 were used as extras in the film.
♦ Zhang Yimou did not like the initial batch of the red cloth used in the “red sequence”; none of the test samples came out right on camera. Therefore, a special shade of red dye was Fedex’ed from England, and costume designer Emi Wada ended up dying the cloth AND making all the costumes locally (with help, of course).
♦ The “red fight” between Moon and Flying-Snow was filmed in a forest in Mongolia. Zhang Yimou had to wait until the leaves turn yellow, and hired local nomads to gather even more yellow leaves in order to cover the ground completely. In fact, he was so fanatic about the leaves, that he had his crew separate the leaves into four different “classes” which were each put at increasingly farther lengths from the camera.
♦ It is the first foreign language film to open at #1 at the US box office.
♦ The lake scenes took almost three weeks to film because Zhang Yimou insisted that the lake’s surface had to be perfectly still and mirror-like during filming. Due to the natural currents, this occurred every day for only two hours starting at 10am. To adjust to this phenomenon, the filmmakers arose at 5am each day to begin five hours of preparation and set-up.
♦ Maggie Cheung required weeks of training. Even Ziyi Zhang, who earned rave reviews with her martial arts performance in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon needed intensive training to become adept with the twin blades she fights with during many of her scenes in Hero.
♦ Tony Leung Chiu Wai tore a ligament while filming the lake scenes. The filming was delayed for just one day and then resumed. —IMDb

Awards and Nominations
Ceremony Category Recipient Result
2003 Golden Globes Awards Best Foreign Film Nominated
2003 Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear Zhang Yimou Nominated
Alfred Bauer Award Zhang Yimou Won
2003 Golden Bauhinia Awards Best Picture Nominated
Best Director Zhang Yimou Nominated
Best Actress Maggie Cheung Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Zhang Ziyi Nominated
Best Cinematography Christopher Doyle Won
2003 Academy Awards Best Foreign Film Nominated
2003 Hong Kong Film Awards Best Picture Nominated
Best Director Zhang Yimou Nominated
Best Screenplay Zhang Yimou Nominated
Best Actress Maggie Cheung Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Zhang Ziyi Nominated
Best Cinematography Christopher Doyle Won
Best Editing Angie Lam Nominated
Best Art Direction Tingxiao Huo Won
Best Costumes/Makeup Emi Wada Won
Best Visual Effects Murray Pope Won
Best Action Choreography Siu-Ting Ching Won
Best Music Tan Dun Won
Best Original Song Wong Yiu Ming Nominated
Best Sound Jing Tao Won
2003 World Stunt Awards Best Action in Foreign Film Siu-Tung Ching Nominated
2003 Huabiao Film Awards Contribution Award Zhang Yimou Won
Golden Rooster Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Zhang Yimou Nominated
Best Art Direction Tingxiao Huo Won
Best Sound Jing Tao Nominated
2003 Brothers Manaki Film Festival Golden Camera 300 Christopher Doyle Won
Audience Award Christopher Doyle Won
2003 Ghent Film Festival Grand Prix Zhang Yimou Nominated
2003 Hundred Flowers Awards Best Film Won
2003 Camerimage Golden Frog Christopher Doyle Nominated
2003 Chinese Film Media Awards Most Popular Film Won
Most Popular Actress Maggie Cheung Won
2004 New York Film Critics Circle Best Cinematographer Christopher Doyle Won
2004 Phoenix Film Critics Society Best Foreign Film Nominated
2004 Chicago Film Critics Association Best Cinematography Christopher Doyle Won
2004 Robert Festival Best Non-American Film Zhang Yimou Nominated
2004 British Independent Film Awards Best Foreign Film Nominated
2004 Cinemarati Film Awards Best Picture Nominated
Best Foreign Film Won (2nd)
Best Director Zhang Yimou Won (3rd)
Best Supporting Actress Maggie Cheung Nominated
Best Cinematography Christopher Doyle Won
Best Film Editing Angie Lam Won (3rd)
Best Art Direction Tingxiao Huo Won
2004 Seattle Film Festival Best Actress Maggie Cheung Nominated
Audience Award Zhang Yimou Won
2004 Toronto Film Critics Association Best Foreign Film Won
2004 San Diego Film Critics Society Best Cinematography Christopher Doyle Won
2004 Seattle Film Critics Awards Best Cinematography Christopher Doyle Won
2005 National Society of Film Critics Best Director Zhang Yimou Won
Best Cinematography Christopher Doyle Won (2nd)
2005 Online Film Critics Society Best Foreign Film Won
Best Director Zhang Yimou Nominated
Best Cinematograohy Christopher Doyle Won
Best Editing Angie Lam Nominated
Best Original Score Tan Dun Nominated
2005 Las Vega Film Critics Society Best Foreign Film Won
2005 Motion Picture Sound Editors Best Sound Editing Jing Tao Nominated
2005 Golden Trailer Awards Best Action Ignition Creative Nominated