One of the sculptures was a 80-meter bust of Empress Wu Zetian, a key element of the film that cost $12 million to design and decorate. During production, reporters were invited to enter the bust's interior, which included a 12 meter tall circular platform. Outside of the platform hung red and white drapes that were full of scriptures.
Hark Tsui decided to change the character of Shangguan Wan'er, feeling that a more fictitious character would provide more room for creativity: "There are some things that Wan-er couldn't do, like being a top-notch martial arts expert." In reality, Shangguan Wan'er (c. 664-July 21, 710) was a poet, writer and politician of the Tang Dynasty.