John Woo’s Manhunt to Get World Premiere in Venice and North American Premiere in Toronto

(16 August, Hong Kong) Presented by Media Asia Film Production, China Film Media Asia Audio Video Distribution and Shenzhen Murmur Culture Communications, action thriller Manhunt is master filmmaker John Woo’s long-awaited return to the action genre, capturing the attention of film festivals around the globe since production wrapped late last year.

Following the Venice announcement last week that it will host the film’s world premiere on 8 September, the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival announced on 15 August that Manhunt will have its North American premiere at the festival. To celebrate this great news, Media Asia has released a brand-new poster and the first trailer of the film.

The film’s latest poster shows the film’s two heroes pointing their guns against a colorful and dynamic background. It not only previews the visceral action in the film but also signals the return of the action maestro. The first trailer shows that audiences can expect an intense thrill ride with spectacular visuals made by a world-class production team.

After receiving the great news from the two film festivals, Woo recorded a video message to greet his fans and to express his thanks for everyone’s support. He hopes that audiences will like his new approach to this classic story. He also expresses his thanks to the amazing Japanese production team for their hard work and their incredible ability to overcome the numerous obstacles they faced during the shoot.

The bond of heroes is a signature theme in Woo’s films, and the camaraderie between the two heroes of Manhunt - played by Zhang Hanyu and Masaharu Fukuyama – upholds that tradition. Upon hearing the two festival announcements, the two male stars couldn’t wait to express their excitement.

“I’m elated that the film has been selected for both the Venice and the Toronto Film Festivals,” Zhang says.“The Venice Film Festival is an esteemed event that is revered by filmmakers worldwide, so I’m excited and proud to share this amazing film to the global film community there.”

“Being able to participate in a film by director John Woo is something I’ve been looking forward to for the longest time,” Fukuyama adds, “I’m so pleased and honored to learn that the film has been selected by these two great film festivals. Like his fans around the world, I greatly look forward to watching the film on the big screen.”

The film’s two lead actresses also can’t wait to share the film with the world. “Starring in director John Woo’s Manhunt was a great honor to me and a dream come true,” South Korean actress Ha Ji-won says. “I’m so happy that the film has been invited to two of the world’s most famous film festivals, and I’m thrilled to join the great team once again in Venice.” Meanwhile, China’s Qi Wei says, “I’m so happy that my first film with director Woo has already received such great success around the world. This is a great opportunity for me to learn from filmmakers from around the world and take in some very special films.”

Manhunt brings together the most outstanding film talents from China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong for an action-packed extravaganza. Produced by Gordon Chan and Chan Hing-kai, the film stars Masaharu Fukuyama, Zhang Hanyu, Qi Wei, Ha Ji-won, Angeles Woo, Jun Kunimura, Naoto Takenaka, Yasuaki Kurata, Takumi Saitoh, Nanami Sakuraba, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Tao Okamoto, Kunihara Tokunaga, Kenichi Yajima, Kei Tanaka, Joe Nakamura and Hisashi Yoshizawa. It also features the renowned Yohei Tanada as art director, Takuro Ishizaka as director of cinematography and Taro Iwashiro as the composer of film’s original score. It is adapted from Juko Nishimura’s novel Kimi yo Fundo no Kawa wo Watare (“You Must Cross the River of Wrath”), published by Tokuma Shoten Publishing, and the Kadokawa Corporation production of the same name. The film was shot on location in Japan, including the city of Osaka, and it is tentatively set for release at the end of this year.

Manhunt follows the journey of upstanding lawyer Du Qiu (Zhang Hanyu), who is unwittingly drawn into a murder case when all the evidence at the scene points to him being the perpetrator. Knowing that he’s been framed, Du Qiu runs from the law to uncover the truth. The police launch a large-scale manhunt, but veteran detective Yamura (Masaharu Fukuyama) sees that this seemingly open-and-shut case is not that simple after all. During the intense pursuit, a bond begins to build between the fugitive and his pursuer, even though Yamura knows that he can’t fully trust Du Qiu. Is the real killer lurking elsewhere? Is there a hidden conspiracy behind the murder? 

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