Ang Lee filming comedy on 1969 Woodstock concert

Thu Oct 2, 2008 3:47am EDT
 
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By Ralph Jennings

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan-born film director Ang Lee, known for such box office hits as "Lust, Caution" and "Brokeback Mountain," is filming a comedy about Woodstock ahead of the landmark countercultural event's 40th anniversary, his spokesman said.

"Taking Woodstock" is based on a book by the man who granted the original permit for the 1969 event, which turned into a hippie-dominated music festival that drew half a million fans.

Oscar-winning Lee is shooting the film for Focus Features near the Woodstock location in upstate New York with an eye toward releasing it next year, spokesman David Lee said.

He declined to elaborate on the plot, the budget or the director's reasons for getting involved. "I'm not in a position to discuss details of the film," he said.

The film follows the book "Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life," by Elliot Tiber, who was instrumental in bringing the controversial concert of unprecedented scale to his region.

Lee found the movie theme when he happened to meet Tiber backstage before a televised book promotion in San Francisco, said Dan Bloom, a Taiwan-based writer who has interviewed sources close to the film.

"A lot of people are going to wonder how a guy born in Taiwan can do this," Bloom said. "Ang Lee doesn't choose his movies. His movies choose him."

Broadly speaking, Bloom said, "Taking Woodstock" is about sizing up one's own life and controlling one's own destiny.

Lee, 53, lives in the United States and has explored other symbols of Americana, such as cowboys in "Brokeback Mountain" and the comic book character Hulk in a movie of the same name.

Reuters/Nielsen

 
<p>Taiwan-born film director Ang Lee attends a Japan premiere event of their movie "Lust, Caution" in Tokyo January 24, 2008. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao</p>