Andy talked about Cold War: I don’t dare to give up Hong Kong films

Hong Kong crime thriller Cold War will hit the cinemas during the National Day holidays, what’s surprising is not only the slogan of “there won’t be thieves when there are police”, there is also Andy Lau making an appearance to show support to this film directed by Hong Kong film industry’s newbie film directors. Using the reason of supporting newbie film directors is not surprising, but the two directors Liang Yue-ming and Sunny Luk are not the directors he’s nurturing, neither he’s one of the investors of Cold War but he’s still willing to stand out and sing praise of this film and directors. The reason behind is that he was invited by Edko Film Limited’s CEO William Kong to cameo in this film which moved Andy and show his love for Hong Kong films, he said: “From the boss to the directors and actors, these people are putting a lot of effort to continue the flavor of Hong Kong films, I’m willing to go and support this enthusiasm, I can never give up Hong Kong films, I don’t dare, I don’t wish to and not willing to.”

Cold War was directed by Liang Yue-ming and Sunny Luk who had worked hard for many years in Hong Kong film industry, film producer William Kong exclaimed that he was excited when he read the script and decided to invest to make it into a “large scale” crime thriller. With that in mind, he invited Andy to join the cast, however the filming period collide with Andy’s wife pregnancy thus resulting him only cameo in the film. Despite this, Andy’s support for Cold War did not reduce as he think that the story is larger and have more entertainment value when compared to Infernal Affairs.

“Firstly said, I’m not the main lead, my appearance now is to show support to these group of people’s enthusiasm, from William Kong to the two directors willing to contribute for Hong Kong films. Initially I wanted to play more part in this film, but no choice, due to family matters, I’ve no time for it, many apologies, hope everyone can understand, I only shoot for one day.”

“If I being the boss of Focus Film and read the script, I won’t dare to invest so much money, because I’m not strong in distributing, I can only do my best in a production, but the distribution is very much related. If it’s me, I’ll lower down the budget, it’s expensive nowadays.”

“I feel that Cold War is a interesting and high on entertainment level film, just like Infernal Affairs, they are of the same type. But Infernal Affairs is the differences of two person, now it concern many organizations, not just the police, it’s like a company, how to compare the different problems, thus this is a story of a larger scale.”

5 years ago, Liang Yue-ming and Sunny Luk decided to shoot a very good crime thriller, it was the 2008 president election in USA, they wonder what would be the sparks to include this political issue in a Hong Kong crime thriller…thus Cold War is born. Clearly, this is a local Hong Kong film. Producer William Kong said: “The theme in Cold War can go to the extreme, this is the advantage of Hong Kong films.” However nowadays there are more reliant on Mainland China market, with the appearance of Cold War, is there changes for Hong Kong films? With regards to this, Andy says: “I feel that every story, every person’s life is an affinity, if they had succeed 5 years ago, finished writing, maybe during that time many Hong Kong produced films are of the same genre, Johnnie To had filmed several films, but currently there’s none. Now when comes to stories related to police, nobody dares to invest. But theirs is a very localized Hong Kong story, we cannot (force) and hope people to like Hong Kong films, but the local investors hoped to maintain some Hong Kong flavor films. Therefore, maybe they could not find a boss 5 years ago, but now, the market has been doing well, if you don’t support them, maybe the newbies, (including) those who wrote localized Hong Kong films will get lesser, I feel that this is their fate, which is very good.”

“I cannot predict what will become of Hong Kong films, what you can see now is a group of people that is working hard to continue localized Hong Kong films. What I’m touched today is there is a boss willing to spend this sort of money, even I don’t dare, and two newbie directors working so hard, heard from the actors, never calculate where’s the money (of course I work just a few days), willing to adjust their asking fee for Hong Kong films, I feel that I’m willing to support this enthusiasm. In the end, whether Hong Kong films could return to its previous glory, I really don’t dare to say, but I’ll never give up on Hong Kong films, I don’t dare, don’t think about it and not willing, I’m unsure of others. Really cannot give up, no matter how big the market is, localized Hong Kong films must exist.”

On the day of interview, the reporter passed a book on director Chang Cheh to Andy, he sighed to the two newbie directors: “Actors of my generation, only me was cast in Chang Cheh’s film.” It was in the early 80s when a just entered showbiz Andy was cast in Shanghai 13. Now it’s already 30 years, Andy had transformed from a newcomer to a talent scout, from Fruit Chan’s Made in Hong Kong to Ning Hao’s Crazy Stone, from Infernal Affairs to Cold War, Andy’s words for newcomers are —

“To new directors, newcomers, I have only four words: Never give up, must be persistent, because the route is hard, we can only do our best. Now when I see that they have good script, looking for a boss to support, some lucky might find actors willing to lower their asking fees. Some couldn’t find one, some refuse to act as instructed, no matter what I say also cannot reach their requirement, if you meet such actors, you also cannot reach their requirement, the final product would be like films of the old days, it would not be good. Therefore, I feel that this is an affinity, you can start if you have the chance this year, if you don’t persist and give up, you will not know what the world will become. Today the script that they wrote, whether it will sell good, you still have the next one, just like Ning Hao, he also didn’t get his first film on his first day, he also persisted for many years to make an appearance.”

“I feel that the structure of Cold War’s script is very good, I’m not suspicious, but they are new directors, on executing, they need time to train, I feel that the training this time round is very strict, can let all to see, if they fail, I told the boss not to have people laugh at them. Thus when I see the script, they have portion to show their abilities.”

Andy’s own Focus Film produced several films with good results, The Gallant and A Simple Life won the Best Picture award in Hong Kong Film Awards, it made the brand of Focus Films produced good films. Talking about the quality of films and marketing, Andy said that if it’s not good, he also does not expect it to do well, even with a strong cast, the script and director cannot make it, it will not sell. With regards to Cold War, even he’s not the main lead, he will still recommend it, the reason is simple, a good film will sell, with this there will be a good cycle in market.

“In the past few years, not kidding you, I only dare to show what’s good, the bad will be discarded. It’s about whether it can pass myself. Every person is different, I always think, if one is not good, an not a sincere film, even it’s my own, I don’t wish it to do well, because it’s like cheating people. I think a good film will sell, bad films should not do well. If many people watch a poor film, people will be suspicious of the quality of our films.”

“Painted Skin:The Resurrection director Wu Ershan was discovered by Focus First Cut’s Daniel Yu, when he did the editing of The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman, I watched and gave my opinion. I feel that never mind the cast, most importantly is whether the script and director is good, because the director of The Butcher, the Chef, and the Swordsman can really control the atmosphere well. It’s the same as Cold War, if so many people help made their dream come true, will this dream be successful? This success will depend on how the final product is. I feel that, not saying how good is it, good directors’ films will sell, not really, actors need a good script, I can’t do well with a poor script. If all are new actors, nobody will not watch the film with high expectation, it could be a good thing. Take Ning Hao’s Crazy Stone for example, when people went into the cinema without much expectation. Therefore, there’s good and bad. I can only say, do your best, I see the abilities of Liang Yue-ming and Sunny Luk, I willing to tell everybody that Cold War is not a bad film.”

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