Saturday, April 17, 2010


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After over 30 years in the business, Simon Yam Tat Wa has witnessed the growth of the Hong Kong Film Awards. Having walked on red, blue and purple carpets, he regretted that in 2003 he could not wear a medical mask along with his colleagues to salute Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing for the last time. This year he received the "double blossom plum" Best Actor nominations. He honestly said that he was the happiest about making movies that represented Hong Kong specialty and revealed that soon he will direct to repay film viewers.

The Hong Kong Film Awards has stepped into its 29th year. Wa Jai has been nominated numerous times and long ago he faced wins and losses with a balanced state of mind. Witnessing this era the numerous venue changes of the local film industry grand event, during which it even had "unprecedented" blue and purple carpets in place of the traditional rose red carpet, Wa Jai said, "The blue carpet year was to accommodate the advertising sponsor, but I feel no matter what tradition is better. Actually with less money the show can be done with less, it doesn't have to be under others' influence." His persistence is just like how over the years he has never accepted any label fashion sponsorship to dress him for the event. He said, "I feel wearing my own clothes is the most comfortable, since I have a model figure, haha!"

"Sea of Medical Mask" The Most Memorable

In 2003 he was working on TOMB RAIDER 2 in England, SARS suddenly attacked Hong Kong and Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing's sudden passing made that year's Hong Kong Film Award take place under a cloud of sorrow and a fog of tragedy. That year's "sea of medical mask" on the screen covered everyone's faces but not the pounding hearts. "Although I couldn't be there to face everything with everyone, that scene is still very memorable even now. Reportedly that year's attendance was the highest in years, showing that everyone actually were very united."

The red carpet was a good opportunity for female stars to shine. Among thunder stealing female stars, Wa Jai first recommended Diana Pang Tan. "She suddenly opened up a hole around her rear, who could compete with her? I am in awe of her designer." Co-star Sandra Ng Kwan Yu had a wardrobe malfunction and became Best Actress, Wa Jai joked, "This year when she will hold on tight to me then she will be just fine!"

On ECHOES Remembering Father Son Relationship

ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW (SHUI YUET SUN TAU)'s widespread popularity enabled him and Kwan Yu, the "couple", to be nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress. Wa Jai said that back then he and Alex Law Kai Yui talked less than three minutes, before he even had half of the pineapple bun that Law treated, he already agreed to appear at a "father and son rate". "The story is very touching, in addition it is a Hong Kong local color film, I should support it." Losing his father in his childhood he had an unexpected reward this time as he reminisced past father and son relationship while working on the film. He said, "Papa gave me an impression of being very mean. When I was little because I went swimming and didn't remember to come home and eat on time, I had to kneel while he hit him. However that also cultivated my habit of being on time from then on.....hitting my son in the film, I remembered my late father's lessons. Actually when I was little I was more mischievous than my 'two sons'."

Planning to Direct

Making NIGHT AND FOG (TIN SHUI WAI DIK YEH YU MO) exhausted him physically and emotionally. Although his character had to abuse those closest to him, had viewers' heart pounding and was not likable, Wa Jai had another view. "He is very lamentable, only his little man self pity was acting up." Both nominated films were his successful work, no wonder Brother Wa joked that "double Best Actor" would be the best. He even described this time as "fighting alone". "A high quality commercial film like BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS had many supporting characters who helped fellow Best Actor nominee Wang Xueqi to be even more outstanding. (Do you want to win?) I hope Lady Luck will continue to be on my side."

After over 30 years in film, Wa Jai honestly said that he is planning to go behind the scenes and hoped to direct his first film next year. Actually earlier when ECHOES was shooting on Wing Lee Street, he already recorded a documentary to try his hand. Although he has not planned how to release it yet, scoring, editing were all done to their fullest as he was able to temporarily enjoy the joy of directing.

Wang Xueqi's Award Competition Increases His Worth

Wang Xueqi's performance in the film BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS outshone all the superstars and earned a Best Actor nomination in return. About his competition's substance, his response was just like his acting -- solid and steady.

Having already won the Hong Kong Film Critic Society and Asian Film Award Best Actress with BODYGUARDS, Wang Xueqi remained very humble. He said, "The competition is very excellent. Although I haven't seen their movies, I have seen their previous work. Yam Tat Wa is very powerful, very hard working and very professional. ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW in Hong Kong is on fire, if Yam Tat Wa wins with this film it is very normal. (Yet Yam has had numerous nominations and never won?) I understand this emotion, I too was nominated three years for the Golden Rooster Award. I too has been disappointed. Awards are under the influence of many factors, but no matter who among us wins it is worth being happy about. Competition about actors will mutually raise the water and the ships."

Speaking of him winning all of Hong Kong audience's admiration, he said, "I haven't personally heard it. I only heard (Peter) Chan Ho Sun said that BODYGUARDS' reaction was great. I felt that I was very strange to the Hong Kong audience. BODYGUARDS was the result of team work. Actually we made a lot, but cut even more. Fan Bingbing had a very delicate scene but it was cut, which was very regrettable."

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