Focus boss James Schamus is calling 'a tidal wave of interest' across Asia.
The Asian response has been largely positive. Lee's steamy espionage
thriller will be given a major Asian release later in the autumn. However,
controversy is already dogging the film - and not just because of the
explicit sex scenes that have earned it a NC-17 certificate in the US.
It emerged over the weekend that Ang Lee briefly considered staying away
from the Festival because of the festival's contentious decision to list
the film as a 'Taiwan, China' production in some of its publications. This
carries the clear inference that Taiwan is part of China.
'It was a thought in my mind but quickly I passed that over. I think that
it is more important to show the movie,' Lee said of the idea of by-passing
Venice. 'I leave it to the politicians and the festival.'
Lee has now confirmed that the film will not seen by Chinese audiences in
the full version that premiered in Venice. He will trim the sex scenes in
advance of the Chinese release.
Despite its subject matter (the film is set during the Japanese invasion of
China in the Second World War), there is also huge curiosity about Lee's
thriller in Japan, where it will be released by Wise Policy.
Ironically, back in the US, Lust, Caution (which has been given an NC-17
certification) will open in its first on only one cinema - at Lincoln
Plaza in New York - and then gradually build with exclusive engagements at
other major cities.
'It is the old-fashioned way, like this is the 1960s and it is Last Tango
In Paris,' Schamus said of the slow-burn strategy.
He conceded that the NC-17 award could hamper the film's award chances. 'We made the movie we absolutely wanted to make,' he said of Lust, Caution, which was made for $15m, around the same budget as Lee's Oscar winner, Brokeback
Mountain. 'We are being very modest in our expectations for the film, not
because of the NC-17, not because of the foreign language, but because
quite frankly Ang has made a film which is a challenge.'
Lust, Caution was the 10th film on which Lee and Schamus collaborated. Now,
Schamus is at work on a new screenplay that Lee may direct as his next
It is loosely based on a French play, A Little Game Without Consequences.
'It was originally set up as a movie that was going to be a big,
straightforward romantic comedy but Ang and I are moving it in a weird
direction. I can't even tell you where it will land.' Schamus' script
should be ready later in the autumn.
The plan is to shoot the film in New York. 'I'd like to make a movie where
Ang could sleep in his own bed at night,' Schamus said.