|courtesy of mingpao.com|
Johnnie To Kei Fung, Sylvia Chang (Cheung Ngai Ga) and Chow Yun Fat after 25 years worked together again on their film OFFICE (WA LAI SEUNG BAN JOOK). To Sir changed from his usual style. He not only spent several hundred millions to create the elegant office but also directed a musical for the first time. Was a musical harder to make than a crime film? He said, "If you want to do something you have to learn, you do as much as you can. The difficulty is not with the action or the music." He said that this film was his most expensive yet. The production budget was mainly spent on art and the transparent office. Did he specifically ask Eason Chan Yik Shun for the musical? To Sir said, "He is one of them. I feel that he can play it." He felt that Eason and Tang Wei may not be a handsome couple, but they made a very special and fresh pairing.
Eason in the film played an office worker. He said, "He is a busy city person and opportunist." Eason said that as an actor, under this environment, with the set decoration and his costumes he naturally would be in character. Would the singer be hard for him? He said, "As a singer I often have my own ideas. In a movie I have to turn into that character to sing. It's not whatever you think it is, the entire matter would be more complicated. When you deliver your lines and suddenly you have to break into a song, your state of mind has to stay in character and not change to yourself. It's very hard." Eason also said that the production has been quite discouraging for him. As a singer he was very rarely criticized. During the shoot no one would criticize his singing or acting either, but he knew that To Sir had good intention and really wanted to bring him into the character's world and teach him how to deliver the lines. Eason said, "My discouragement comes from not being too familiar with the financial world, I have to spend a lot of time on delivering the lines and getting into the character. I still lack a lot and have room for improvement."
Did Eason face any pressure with Best Actress Tang Wei? He said that not only Tang Wei but with others people he felt like he became a child, because everyone's presence was very strong. He remembered in one scene he had to "boast" about stock speculation, everyone on hand knew the stock market too. When he talked about it without any knowledge he felt a little guilty. In another scene he had to hit Tang Wei. He said that they once discussed the order. Yet during the shoot he did not think much of it, in the end they had to do it several more times. Eason pointed out that after this film he felt like he went to a drama class. He said, "I am still lacking, I want to attend more. It's addictive." To Sir felt that Eason's performance in this film has already improved a lot from when he first started work and his previous films. Eason said that many years ago when he made HOOKED ON YOU (MUI DONG BIN WAN SI) he already looked forward to working with To Sir very much. However he would not ask To Sir how he did. He believed that encouragement and criticism would be natural. He even felt that To Sir loved his actors and never yelled at anyone. To Sir said that he did not choose the wrong actor for the role.
In the film aside from Fat Gor, every key actor had to sing. Did To Sir hear Fat Gor's singing before and thus prohibited him from singing? He joked, "I told Luo Dayou that Fat Gor wanted to sing, he said, 'Really?'" He joked that Fat Gor in the film was the god class chairman, so he was better of not singing. However that did not mean that he did not sing well. He said, "Now Fat Gor is really easy going, he has become 'God Fat'." Was Eason disappointed that he did not have a chance to jam with Fat Gor? He said, "I feel that we can jam privately." Speaking of working with Fat Gor again after 25 years, To Sir admitted that it was fate. Although several times before he wanted to work with him, they could not accommodate. He felt that sometimes when the timing was right it would happen. He said, "With this film in my film life it is well worth remembering." Did he want to work Fat Gor again? He said, "I of course want to, I am willing to wait another 25 years. Actually everyone has the same idea, but whether it will appear it will depend on timing and opportunity."