Tony Leung Chiu-wai, the Hong Kong star of “In the Mood for Love” and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” has joined the cast of “Silent Friend” by Oscar-nominated Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi (“On Body and Soul”).
Leung will be honored at the Venice Film Festival, where he will receive a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. He previously starred in three movies that have won the Venice Golden Lion: “A City of Sadness” (1989) by Hou Hsiao-hsien, “Cyclo” (1995) by Tran Anh Hung and “Lust, Caution” (2007) by Ang Lee.
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“Silent Friend” is being produced by German banner Pandora Film. It marks Enyedi’s follow up to “The Story of My Wife” which competed at Cannes, and “On Body and Soul,” the Berlinale Golden Bear-winning film that earned an Oscar nomination.
Currently in pre-production, “Silent Friend” is set in the botanical garden of Marburg, a medieval university town in Germany, and tells three stories connected to a tree over a period of more than 100 years. Penned by Enyedi, the film sheds light on the volatile nature of so-called reality, showing the radical shifts in human perception of plants, animals and humans.
Leung has joined the cast as the main actor in the third segment of the film, a renowned neuroscientist traveling from his hometown of Hong Kong to the Marburg Faculty.
“We have been following Tony Leung’s career for a long time and we are very happy that he committed to this project,” said Reinhart Brundig, producer at Pandora Film.
Enyedi said she wrote this role for Leung. “The whole storyline of his episode is defined by those personal sensibilities I could only guess behind the brilliant actor. I was absolutely humbled that from the first read of the script he became such a great partner in the thinking not just about his role but about the whole project,” Enyedi said.
Leung revealed that he has been an “avid fan of Ildiko Enyedi since watching all of her previous work.” The actor described Enyedi as an “incredibly talented individual” who is “intelligent, humble and so nice.”
The film is being co-produced by Hungarian veteran producer Monika Mécs at Inform M and M, with whom Enyedi made her two previous films, as well as French producer Nicolas Elghozi at Galatée Films and Meng Xie at Rediance.
“Silent Friend” will start shooting across multiple seasons starting in April 2024.
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