The premiere of Zhang Yimou directed The Great Wall was held at Beijing on 6 December 2016. Film director Zhang Yimou, the cast Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Jing Tian, Eddie Peng, Andy Lau, Zhang Hanyu, Lu Han, Lin Gengxin and Wang JunKai attended the event.
Before the film being screened there was question of “white wash” as Zhang Yimou had stated that the character that Matt Damon was playing was not designed to be a Chinese, he was only one of the heroes and the rest of the heroes are Chinese. When Andy Lau was asked with regards to on Hollywood actors shooting a Chinese film but became the film’s biggest hero, being a Chinese actor, what is his view on that.
Wearing a samfoo with jeans, Andy said that there were great invention by the Chinese during Song dynasty, some foreigners did came to learn. The background when The Great Wall is set during the invention by bombs, foreigners came to steal and was discovered thus had some stories, of course the film developed into a collaboration between the foreigners and Chinese to defeat monsters, “Actually, it’s a collaborative effort, everybody is a hero.” Andy felt that the film had not been screened thus need not make any guesses, “Let’s talk after watching the film.”
He felt that the character that he’s playing is similar to him, “Like to think. We are the kind that who worry need to worry and need to be happy will be happy.”
Andy who is an evergreen in Chinese film having more than 100 films to his name, but he always depended on affinity for Hollywood films, even though this time he got to collaborate with several first line Hollywood actors in this Chinese-Hollywood collaboration film, his attitude remained unchanged: “Whether to go to Hollywood, most importantly is to see the story and character. If it’s a film about The Last Emperor, why would I reject? I feel that if it was a villain which can show off my acting, I can be a villain in Hollywood film too.”
Being an actor for so many years, Andy had collaborate with many film directors, but he never thought of becoming a director and actor at the same time, he said: “I thought of becoming a film director, but I will be under huge pressure. I like art film, if I direct an art film, will anyone watch?” He said that he would be having his concerts in 2017, let’s talk about being a film director in 2018.
In the film, Andy is an advisor and scientist. During the earlier promotion period of the film, Andy was ranked as the first among the Chinese actors, but during the press conference, his name was shifted to be behind female lead Jing Tian, this move angered Andy’s fans but Andy World Club kept quiet on this. When reporter asked him on this, he replied: “This is life.” When reporter further asked about the allegation that huge number of his screen time in the film had been cut away, Andy expressed that he had not heard of this allegation as he said: “What I see now is the amount that I’ve shot.”
When asked about collaborating with Zhang Yimou after 12 years, did he felt any difference. “All these years, his enthusiasm to films remained, but this time round he had a mission as he hoped to use this commercialized film to broadcast the Chinese culture to the world, there is intelligent people during the Chinese period and some many inventions.” Andy quipped that he anticipated a third collaboration with Zhang Yimou.