In 1997, you decided to become producer and financed Made in Hong Kong by Fruit Chan. Why?
There are many kinds of movies in Hong Kong. Some are commercial and others are more artistic. I became producer to try and create an equilirium between these two styles. I think Fruit Chan is an interesting director because he could offer a purely commercial attraction with artistic subjects and personalities. I became producer so that I could work with persons like him and to rock the world of Hong Kong Cinema a bit.
What memories do you have of your beginnings with Wong Kar Wai? It seems that he does not like too much the TV soap opera style and that he has particular ways with his actors… Yes, but the majority of his actors, those from the generation of Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung – they all came from the televisions ! Wong Kar Wai is a very intense character, very personable, and I believe in general he does not like and he would not want his actors to show their true looks and their true personality on screen. He would like them to follow his directions, and transport them into his own world. He is very demanding and he works us hard but the result is extraordinary. Were you disappointed with the commercial failure of the Days of Being Wild?
The film was well received by the critics, but not by the public. For me, it is precisely for this kind of unique films that I became producer. I believe that the public is unfortunately dissociated from the story. If you ask me whether I like film or not, I'll say : "Yes, I love it!" (Andy smiled), but if you ask my mom, for example, ( he lowered his head as a sign of reprobation), she would say: “ But what is the gist of the story in this movie?” (Andy laughed.) But I, I loved making this film, truly.
Let’s talk about Johnnie To with whom you have made several films and have just finished making Full Time Killer…
I knew Johnnie To since my TVB days when I first started. I remember the first movie that I made with him was the melodramatic A MOMENT OF ROMANCE III. He is a very talented director who can handle and mix commercial and artistic elements in his movies. THE LONGEST NIGHT is one such movie. When it was time to make FULL TIME KILLER, we asked ourselves, Johnnie To, Wai Ka Fai and myself, “Why are we making another film about killers? Is it worth it? For sure, there were a lot of differences in the story, a lot of action – the filming in several countries was rather tiring. What is the reason for making another film about a killer in Hong Kong Cinema? “ The answer is that my character is very interesting. Tok, being a movie fan, behaves like a showman when carrying out his contracts. We then filmed the shooting scenes like true shows set in the scene by this person and during the filming, to reinforce this impression, we put in the music to accentuate it. Everything therefore were conducted with a rhythm and according to the tempo of the music! (Andy laughed.)
You have also learnt Japanese for this role… Oh my God! (Andy laughed.) What a nightmare! I didn’t spoke a word of Japanese before this movie. I've spent two months in Japan to learn the foundation of the language. But it went well on screen. Do you remember any Japanese phrases? Yes. “Kinyobi eiga ni iko?” which means, “ Would you like to go to the cinema with me on Friday?” I would love to. (Andy laughed.) Thank you.