Hong Kong Legend Yuen Woo Ping talks about working on The Matrix

After four decades choreographing and directing some of the best-known martial arts films in contemporary Hong Kong cinema, Yuen Woo Ping is making the first American film festival appearance of his career.

The legendary Hong Kong filmmaker, director of such genre classics as “Drunken Master” (1978) and “Iron Monkey” (1993) and action choreographer on international hits “The Matrix” (1999), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), “Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2″ (2003), and “Kung Fu Hustle” (2004), arrived this week in Austin, Texas to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award at the sixth annual Fantastic Fest.

Your films and your legacy have inspired a number of Western fans and filmmakers, some of whom you’ve collaborated with. What was your reaction to discovering that you’d influenced a new generation of filmmakers halfway around the world — some of whom, like Quentin Tarantino and the Wachowskis, you eventually collaborated with?

It’s a great thing, and it’s actually a mutual influence because I brought my movies to America and I’m also inspired by Western movies. It goes both ways. What I was most influenced by in working with the Wachowskis was their use of computer graphic technology. What they did in “The Matrix” matched my choreography perfectly to make the film work. From Tarantino, one thing I learned was how to make violence vicious. [Laughs] But I rarely use that.

-via Wall Street Journal