Friday, July 31, 2009
The film POKER KING yesterday shot in Macau Star World Hotel and Casino. Actors included Louis Koo Tin Lok, Lau Ching Wan, Jo Kuk Cho Lam. The hotel loaned a new casino area for the shoot. Goo Jai two nights ago began the shoot early in the morning. He pointed out that lately he has been constantly working overnight. Sometimes he would work over ten hours a day. Yesterday he was coughing a little. Goo Jai said that he had a sore throat because he constantly flew around and did not have time to rest. He said that although working all night was tough, it was better than working outside. In the film he played a poker expert. Would he imitate God Of Gamblers' look? He expressed in the past God of Gamblers would slick his hair back and wear a long coat, but now he would wear a hat and a medical mask.
Lau Ching Wan did not enjoy gambling. Even when he was not in a scene he would not try his luck. Earlier his wife came to visit the set and he took her around to sight see. Kuk Cho Lam and Ching Wan in the film had an awkward relationship, for now they still do not have any intimate scene. She joked perhaps under the table she would ask the director to add a little.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
[2009.07.31] SEVEN LITTLE FORTUNES 50TH ANNIVERSARY: FEW CAN RELATE, BEIJING OPERA FUTURE LOOKED MEEK
Speaking of how to spread the potential of Beijing Opera from Master Yu Jim Yuen, Jackie Chan helplessly says, "Beijing Opera used to be popular because at the time people didn't have much entertainment. Now with so many choices, who would watch Beijing Opera? Beijing Opera could
sing 'How are you' for full fifteen minutes. Walking from backstage to the stage could take half a hour. Who today has the patience to watch you?"
Times Changed, Stifle National Treasure
Jackie Chan is not pouring cold water on Beijing Opera. When Beijing Opera fell to this cultural desert of Hong Kong, few could relate to it. Once assisted with the Hong Kong Beijing Opera Club Bau Yau Dip points out, Beijing Opera's development in Hong Kong faces two difficulties. "Beijing Opera, when performed poor, loses its flavor. When you listen you listen to that flavor. On stage a melody can take half a day. One note can be sung for three minutes. Outsiders who don't
understand would scratch their head open!"
In today's fast food culture, the vision of Beijing Opera development seems too extravagant. Jackie Chan says, "Honestly, few truly has the vision. Times changed, no one in Hong Kong watches Beijing Opera. In the Mainland only people in their 40s or 50s would. Younger
generation wouldn't be interested in learning Beijing Opera, it's too tough! After they complete their study they have no future either. I feel Beijing Opera has to change, it can't be this way for several decades."
Jackie Chan recalls a personal experience and cites that for Beijing Opera to develop it has to change. He says, "Beijing Opera background is helpful to action films but depends on the situation. Ten years ago when I made SHANGHAI NOON, I invited a Shanghai wushu team to
make the movie in the U.S. They played Indians in below zero temperature and were very professional, but their gestures and concerns were still the stage type. No Indian would look at people like the veteran operas with the eyes wide open! Thus I say you can't take the Beijing Opera ways and force them into film in the same manner."
Cultivate Talent, Bloom And Blossom
Jackie Chan even cites himself as an example as he proudly says, "Like me, after completing my apprenticeship I went to study boxing, Hapkido, Taekwondo, karate, Wing Chun; speaking of which, I am somewhat lucky that back the school wasn't an authentic drama school so I got to
learn Northern style, Southern style, even English. These basics were very helpful in my future development. If you ask me do I want to open a school, I dare to say that everyone who has followed Yu Jim Yuen would, but over the years, Jackie Chan stuntman association and Sammo Hung stuntman association both have cultivated talent. Take a look at today's film industry, we trained many of its people!" (39)
courtesy of takungpao.com
The Media Asia invested, Milky Way Image produced, Soi Cheang Po Shui directed and Johnnie To Kei Fung produced film ACCDIENT (YI OI) is selected for competition at this year's Venice Film Festival. Louis Koo Tin Lok and Richie Jen (Yam Yin Chai) star. To Kei Fung praises both actors' performance as outstanding. Goo Jai is currently working on a movie in Macau and is very happy to receive the news. He points out that this film took a long time to make so the selection was worth the effort. He would like to be able to attend the film festival. As for To Kei Fung's praise for his and Siu Chai's performance, Goo Jai says, "Really? I am confident but will have to see the jury taste." Siu Chai points out that this film to him is a challenge as he uses an interpretation that he has never tried before. He says that he was very involved in the shoot but it was very tough. Cheang Po Shui expressed joy over the selection and thanked boss Peter Lam Kin Ngok. He never attended a large scale film festival so he was very glad to have a chance. Because the film took almost a year of hard work, he was very pleased with the selection.
For photo please click
here. Courtesy of takungpao.com
Lau Ching Wan, Louis Koo Tin Lok and Daniel Wu (Ng Yin Cho) in OVERHEARD (SIT TING FUNG WON) not only had an acting duel on screen but also risked their lives in chase scenes. Each suffered during the shoot.
To coordinate with a truck chase injury scene, Goo Jai suffered the pain of "bending". The memory was still fresh on his mind. "In this scene after Ching Wan, Daniel and I accidentally overheard a financial market scandal, due to greed I invested all of my life saving and even borrowed money, got swept into the financial market storm and even became the target of a hit. Finally even my family suffered. Because my right arm and leg were broken, I had to act with both limps bent. The feeling of being 'bent' was hard to take. I was aching a little. I thought it would be no different than a fight scene, actually sometimes when you are acting in a bed it is not necessarily a good thing."
Lau Ching Wan not only had romantic scenes with Zhang Jingchu but also gunplay scenes. Not only the prop gun burnt his hand, Au Kam Tong also buried him alive. Because of this scene he had to "eat dirt". Later Ching Wan said, "In the film I became involved because of two buddies Goo Jai and Daniel, so the biggest lesson this time is 'making friends with the wrong people'."
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
[2009.07.29] SEVEN LITTLE FORTUNES 50TH ANNIVERSARY: DRAGON IN SHALLOW WATER CHANGES NAME TO TRY ITS LUCK, DOWN IN THE DUMPS
Jackie Chan was originally named Chan Kong Sun, family name Fong Si Lung. Reportedly he was the descendant of the famous Tang Dynasty official Fang Xuanling. During the Seven Little Fortunes era, Master Yu Jim Yuen named him Yuen Lau. When eldest brother Sammo Hung Kam Bo's apprenticeship ended and gave up the name of Yuen Lung, Jackie Chan took the name to make something of it.
Years In The Business, Once Play Dead
Jackie Chan said, "When I made movies I used the name Yuen Long. I saw Hung Kam Bo didn't use it so I used it. At the time I was still young. (Corey) Yuen Kwai was assistant director under Tsui Siu Ming. Yuen Biao developed better than me. I too made POLICE WOMAN (NUI GAING CHAT) and EAGLE SHADOW FIST (DING TIN LAP DEI), but I wasn't the lead."
Back then Jackie Chan played small roles at Shaw's. Soon Bruce Lee passed away and martial art film box office was severely impacted and reduced production. His career ran into its first obstacle.
Jackie Chan recalls, "I was in the film industry for several years, from corpse, minor stuntman to lead then back to stuntman, and action director. I became less and less interested in film, so I returned to Australia to rest a little. One day, I received director Lo Wei's call to tell him to come back and make NEW FIST OF FURY (SUN JING MO MOON). Because of this film I changed my name."
After returning to Hong Kong, Lo Wei felt Yuen Lung did not sound like a good stage name and asked what kind of name Jackie Chan wanted. The brain trust after long consideration still could not come to an agreement, as they lingered on several names.
Jackie Chan says, "Siu Lung was dead so the name was unlucky, Dai Lung didn't sound good at all. I liked Zhao Zilong, but they said Zilong represented very small and turned it down. I also liked Yunlong, they said it would be hard to find. Later someone told me to use the name Sing Lung, I thought I would more likely become a bug than a dragon. At first I didn't dare to use this name but I didn't have a choice."
Snake In Eagle's Shadow, From Bug To Dragon
After changing his name, Jackie Chan almost "got his wish" and became a bug. Like being jinxed he did not have any luck at all. Jackie Chan says, "After changing to this name, I wasn't busy at all. No one saw my movies, the box office was poor. I was very disillusioned. I said I would give myself two years. If I really couldn't make it then I would return to Australia. A friend gave me ten Australian dollars to wish me success. Coincidentally, after two years, someone offered me SNAKE IN EAGLE'S SHADOW (SEH YING DIU SAU), even Lau Ka Leung praised my performance. For this film I was the lead, assistant director and stunt double of many. I was paid for the double work too and luck started to come. Since then I have used this name for thirty years, only now I realize this name sounded pretty good." (38)
courtesy of singtao.com
On screen wearing headphones for surveillance are Lau Ching Wan, Louis Koo Tin Lok and Daniel Wu (Ng Yin Ch); off screen, as wearing headphones for playbacks are two directors -- Alan Mak Siu Fai and Felix Chong Man Keung
Text: Ben, Interview: Gum Sing, Ringo & Ben, Photo: Alan
(J: JET, C: Chong Man Keung / M: Mak Siu Fai)
Right Is Right, Wrong Is Wrong
J: What does OVERHEARD (SIT TING FUNG WON) want to express the most?
C: At first we only want to shoot a story about several cops who get into a lot of trouble due to a moment of greed. Later we discover, we want to say the most that for something we think is right initially, as soon as many people have opinions about it, we gradually believe it is wrong. The opposite is the same. The frightening part is we are already used to it, self evaluation is the best example.
M: The film mainly talks about greed and crime. Everyone may notice, every few robberies take place. Instead commercial crimes, like fixing the market and reporting false earning, are more and more common. They involve astronomical numbers. Even when found guilty, the punishment would not be too severe. Yet before their crimes are discovered, these people are still successful people in the society. In the end what is a crime? Which crime should be considered severe?
J: How do you determine right and wrong? In today's world, is there absolute right and wrong?
C: Absolute right and wrong are ideals, they may not be practical and people can only try their best. For example you should not cross the road on a red light, but when you are in a hurry you cross anyway. On many occasions we know something is wrong, but if we do not affect others we would lower our standards and do it.
M: This type of standard would change with the times. Particularly in the past ten years or five years it has become stranger and stranger.
C: When we studied the story, if we are the three protagonists in the film, would we break the law too? I definitely would! After making OVERHEARD, I have an understanding of what is moral. All along, we would only use moral on others or as a tool of judgment. Now I understand, real moral is used on myself.
J: Why would you choose an insider trading case as the story background?
M: We created this story in 07, when the Hang Seng Index headed for 35,000 and everyone was speculating stock. At the time a certain Kowloon Tong kindergarten was distributing enrollment forms and reporters interviews parents. One of the parents wished that after their children got into that kindergarten they could become an investment banker when they grew up, it was very frightening. Incredibly, now some people already treated stock speculation as achievement.
C: We came up with the story at the Koo Tai Place downstairs coffee shop. People who went to work there should be all telecommunication and advertising company people. I seriously eavesdropped. They never talked about work or gossip. Every table actually was talking about stock and investment strategy! That moment was quite stimulating. Greed is forever. When you see how much others make everyday, you are somewhat tempted and start to invest. Gradually you forget about your real job and start to pursue without end.
People are Working, People Are Listening
J: In your research, which are the most popular eavesdropping devices now?
C: I did the research before the shoot. The top technology at the time after the shoot ended could all be purchased on Ap Liu Street. Online there are many sites about eavesdropping and video surveillance. Adultery catching is popular in Taiwan so (the technology) was the most advanced. They even state that it is the seventh generation of the model that caught Chu Mei-Fang, it's very outrageous!
I have a few research sources. Every time I talk with him we have to go to places with people, like the park. Right away he removes the mobile phone sim card and battery, then he starts talking. Actually the currently eavesdropping technology sometimes doesn't need a machine. All you need to aim the receiver from the building across the street to the glass window. Glass curtain wall is the best. When people speak inside the building, they caused turbulence in the air that when transmitted to the glass they can be heard.
M: Eavesdropping is too easy. The more everyday an item is the better. The most common are microphone hiding light switches and electrical sockets. We asked a current police officer. The devices that he uses are so high tech that no one would believe it if they are used in a movie. He says that a needle sized device that has to be stuck on the wall only requires a receiver to be able to what everyone says next door.
J: Among the three lead actors, Lau Ching Wan's abilities are publicly recognized. When he performs does he elevate others' performance?
C: Smart actors understand very much that actors need mutual assistance. They know hot to let other people act. Ching Wan and (Tony) Leung Chiu Wai are this type of actors. Every drop of Ching Wan's acting method starts from the character, which may be the dumbest way since it takes a lot more work. In the past he mostly played heroes who are always very brave. This time I want him to play a cowardly figure. By the last scene he still is daft.
M: We of course know he is a great actor, but we didn't expect him to be so great. He would analyze the character's background, and motivation in extreme details, which is quite amazing! He knows how to, without influencing us, discuss with us, slowly study and even be willing to change character motivation, to accommodate what we asked of the performance.
J: This time Koo Tin Lok had to gain weight and dye his hair white. Why such an image?
C: At the first press conference, he grew a face full of beard and asked whether we could use it, haha. He is an actor who services the story, very willing to change his look. Only that we never thought of a suitable image until that morning when work began when I was able to find a reference. When I showed him that photo, he was surprised because that was (Benny) Chan Muk Sing, haha! Benny is a homebody who would cook in the office. He is the most capable of representing the character.
M: Koo Tin Lok's impression of cool is too strong. His bronze tan, thick hair are hard to break through. Before the shoot we were worried. After seriously talking and working together, he is the complete opposite of how I imagined him. He may be the one with pleasantly surprised me the most.
J: Ng Yin Cho is the most righteous, in the film what kind of person is he?
C: He represents the new generation that mocks the poor instead of the whore. In their world, all value system can break down into money and numbers. They are absolutely connected to material, their moral value can be relaxed at any time. I am not tailoring the story for Daniel, but since his addition he has such an effect. His image is the most handsome and innocent, but the worst words would come from his mouth.
Directors' Third Party
J: This time you are working for third time as directors. When two directors work together, what is the most obvious advantage?
M: One director has too many problems to resolve. Every decision may affect the film's quality. With another person around, it is more comfortable. The best part is the ability to mutually stimulate. Sometimes through discussion we would get a better understanding into the entire matter.
C: This is the reason that Hong Kong film professionals cannot successfully break into Hollywood. Most local film professionals are used to relying on natural talent and are reluctant to discuss. They often forget that several smart brains can serve the one plus one equals three effect.
J: (Derek) Yee Tung Sing is the producer. Did he participate in the production process and the shoot? What did he help with the most?
C: Yee Tung Sing did the job that we wanted to do the least, like looking for bosses and actors. He understood the script very well. During post production he provided a lot of great suggestions so the film maintained its original dramatic flavor.
M: Due to the sensitive subject, ultimately a story about police breaking the law, we couldn't find investors. Yee Tung Sing was familiar with the Mainland inspection so I asked him to take a look at the script. He even took the initiative and suggested helping us with the financing search. Creatively, he provided a lot of ideas, but also respected our creative freedom a lot.
J: After hits like INFERNAL AFFAIRS (MO GAN DOH) and INITIAL D (TAU MAN JI D), you still have a hard time with investors. Do you feel common ground is hard to find?
C: The world is very fair. Success this time, no matter how talented you are, does not represent the same success this time. When I finish a script, I feel very satisfied. By the time the film performs, it is already too far off. This is film's most interesting part.
M: I am more or less upset, but it has more advantage than disadvantage. At least it gives us a chance for examination and give the script a second thought. Otherwise every time is (Andy) Lau Tak Wa and Leung Chiu Wai, then ask the boss for 50 million. How much fun would that be?
Like Mainland writer Yu Hua's novel BROTHERS, Jackie Chan who was bald when he was young was like the book's Baldy Lee. He peeked at woman's body, the result of course was the inevitable Yu Jim Yuen punishment. Young Jackie Chan like Baldy Lee peeked at woman not because of lust but actually because of curiosity.
Jackie Chan claimed innocence in this matter. If it coordinated with his autobiography I AM JACKIE CHAN's description, you would have a deeper understanding of the matter. Jackie Chan wrote, "You may think we are too naive, actually not knowing anything about men and women and sex. Even at that time, most 12 year old children had certain understanding of the male and female biological structure. Yet, we didn't go to school or have time to explore. In addition, who would resolve our curiosity? Thus most doubts about men and women we could only rely on ourselves to answer."
Examining Opposite Sex, Ends In Failure
Actual practice is the hard reason. Who does not learn from failures in the matter of men and women? Only Jackie Chan's mistake was beyond wrong. He says. "I already decided to get to the bottom of the matter between men and women. That day, (Corey) Yuen Kwai and I got a few buddy brothers and plotted. We didn't let Yuen Lung or other older brothers know because they would heartlessly scoff at our folly. 'Hey, hurry and turn around.' Yuen Kwai said as he pushed forward for a clearer look. I immediately pushed him from behind. At that time Yuen Kwai already saw the face of the girl who was bathing."
Who was this girl? The answer made Jackie Chan "dare not have any thought of female for a long time after the failure of this opposite sex understanding exploration adventure".
"'God! It's Si Mo.' Yuen Kwai trembled and whispered to us. Yet Si Mo already heard the voice. In order to scare us off, she began to scream. The next day, Yuen Kwai and I trained as usual, but not because our bruises have already healed. It was because yesterday we got a spanking and training while seated hurt even more."
Blasphemy, Endless Consequences
Women sometimes are indeed very holy, impurity against them was like blasphemy. The result was asking for trouble. Jackie Chan says, "I have tried to put the school's spirit tablets and statues on the ground and wiped them with wet cloth. It's much quicker than using a feather duster, but then for days I made mistakes in my performance: falling off the stage, hanging a pair of jeans on the banner, fake beard on fake beard that reached the ground, crushing my hand on the table. Fortunately, with the injured hand I didn't have to train."
While training could wait, fortune seldom repeats. Jackie Chan wrote in his autobiography, "After repeated mistakes, Master pushed me in front of the altar and gave me 20 lashes. That night I had a hard time finding a sleeping posture that did not touch the wound. I stared at the altar and asked, 'Now are we even?'" (37)
On the night of the 27th, a film that celebrate the 60th anniversary of the new China, RENMING RU TIAN, held its premiere at the Henan's People Hall. Director Sun Tie and other members of the production team attended the event.
The film was a Henan Film and Television Group production, a feature film that brought the July 29 2007 rescue. A coal mine was flooded as 69 miners were trapped below. Miner formed volunteer rescue teams after 72 hours saved all 69 miners.
Monday, July 27, 2009
[2009.07.27] SEVEN LITTLE FORTUNES 50TH ANNIVERSARY: EIGHT HUNDRED WORD COMPLETE VERSION CONTRACTS TIGHTLY BIND DISCIPLES
Numerous Rules, Advantage: School
Although when each member enrolled in the China Drama Academy, they without exception had to sign a contract with the school; but over the years losses are inevitable. Now only Yuen Bo and several other students have the actual contracts. Yuen Bo says, "When we were little we didn't know, when we grew up due to a variety of reasons many brothers didn't actually see the contract content. Then for Seven Little Fortunes' 50th anniversary when everyone brought out the related material, we realized actually the contract had so many rules."
In general the sheer number of the rules already made some impatient. Yet Yu Jim Yuen set particularly many rules, like:
* monthly tuition of HK$100, food $500, room and board $20, miscellaneous cost $10, $180 total. If the student is physically unfit for study, party A (school) agrees to the former party's resignation. In case of resignation in the middle or using it as an excuse to escape, party B (student's parents) must pay all cost to party A.
* Party B cannot object to any role assignment to students. Party B has no right to interfere in or charge Party A for any performance or group performance (including performance tour abroad) that students participate in.
* Party B agrees and permits Party A to discipline the child, physically and verbally.
* Party B cannot demand any compensation from Part A for accidental student death
* Party A has the right to return Party B's child to Party B and be clear of any responsibility in times of war or riot
From today's standard, this contract already clearly expresses andhints at strict training. The school has control and all enrolled are willing participants. Yuen Biao says, "No fault for death, no right to interfere. It seems very one sided, but at the time what did we know. We never even thought of threatening to sue Master. That was Master, where would we get enough guts to!"
Opera Troupe Apprenticeship, Nine Year Agreement
Has Master Yu taken advantage of disciples, or was he only following traditions? According to one of Beijing Opera's Four Great Divas, Cheng Yanqiu, in his article OUR LEARNING PROCESS, "When I was six, I was recommended to and joined Mr. Rong Diexian's school. I wrote a seven year note, which stipulated seven years. After that I also had to help Master for a year. That would be eight years. The starting year was not included. Actually the contract was for nine years; in these few years, the instructor was responsible for everything of the student. All performance revenue belonged to the instructor. This was the standard for disciples for the opera troupe at the time." (35)
Friday, July 24, 2009
According to the film's promotional director Mr. Lu, Lee Ka Yun's connection to BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS could be traced back to ten years ago when the film was under its first preparation. At the time, Chan Ho Sun approached Lee Ka Yun but the film due to a variety of reasons was unable to be made. This time, Lee Ka Yun remained producer Chan Ho Sun and director Chan Tak Sum's first choice. "This character affected beggar's life." Mr. Lu revealed, although Lee Ka Yun's role would not have a lot of screen time it would enhance the film. "The director and the producer are both very touched that she is able to make this ten year long appointment." Reportedly, Lee Ka Yun next week will head to Shanghai for the entire film's wrap.
The Donnie Yen Chi Tan, Wu Chen and Qi Yuwu starred martial art film 14 BLADES (GUM YI WAI) earlier wrapped up its shoot in Yinchuan. Yesterday, the team unveiled a set of Yen Chi Tan "bathing" stills. For this scene, Chi Tan prepared for two months. Everyday he skipped lunch and persisted with his training just so that he could achieve the "developed muscle" effect that the director asked for. Chi Tan joked, "I should make time to shoot a pictorial collection." Among his recent kung fu films, Yen Chi Tan said that 14 BLADES was the one with the most fights and the most difficult fights. Aside from Vicki Zhao Wei, he and other leads Wu Chen, Kate Tsui Tsz Shan, Qi Yuwu all had scenes together as they fought from Hengdian all the time to Yinchuan. This film's action director Kuk Hin Chiu is top action director Yuen Woo Ping's disciple. His action design styles are very tough and forced Yen Chi Tan to pay extra attention every time. Halfway through the shoot he aggravated his old leg injury. To keep from hindering the schedule, Yen Chi Tan worked despite the injury and completed his scenes.
On July 23, the Wong Jing directed comedy ON HIS MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (DAI NOI MUK TAM LING LING GAU) held its Beijing premiere. Stars Louis Koo Tin Lok and Barbie Hsu switched gender roles in their rendition of tango.