PACIFYING PETER’S A-LIST CAST
October 30, 2009
YOU can always count on Peter Chan to accomplish the rarest of feats – rounding up the biggest names in Hong Kong cinema for a single project.
But as the 46-year-old producer-director shared with FiRST, it’s not easy managing the different egos of A-listers.
The veteran film-maker, sporting his trademark shoulder-length hair, was in town last week to promote his year-end blockbuster Bodyguards And Assassins, which opens here on 18 Dec.
Costing of more than US$23 million ($32m), the action drama is set in 1905 Hong Kong and revolves around a group of bodyguards protecting Chinese revolutionary and political leader Sun Yat Sen.
Bodyguards And Assassins, produced by Peter and directed by Teddy Chan, features more than 10 top-league stars from China and Hong Kong, including Donnie Yen, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Leon Lai, Nicholas Tse and Fan Bingbing.
Former beauty queen Michelle Reis also makes a special guest appearance, after a six-year hiatus from the movie industry.
‘A-listers want to headline projects; they don’t like competition,’ said Peter, explaining the uphill task he faced initially when getting his cast together.
‘No matter how experienced they are, they still become nervous and insecure when acting opposite a fellow actor of the same stature. Everyone wants to be the best in the film.’
He was speaking from experience. His last directorial effort, The Warlords (2007), starred international gongfu star Jet Li, Cantopop’s Heavenly King Andy Lau and heart-throb Takeshi Kaneshiro.
‘Oh, I had great difficulty securing the three of them,’ said Peter with a grin.
‘Similarly, for Bodyguards, I had to convince my actors that it was going to be the biggest film of the year, and that the perfect role had been written for each of them.’
Then, it came down to spreading the message of teamwork.
‘I’d say, ‘Don’t be so small-hearted. Look at Ocean’s Eleven – George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon put aside their respective egos to be part of it.’
‘There is no reason why we can’t do it too.’
Peter revealed that while he enjoyed the process of overseeing Bodyguards And Assassins from birth to completion, he could ‘never have directed it’.
‘The films I direct are all about human weaknesses. They delve into the complicated world of growing up, coming to terms and having the courage to acknowledge one’s flaws,’ he said.
‘Bodyguards is not like that. The film glorifies humanity, the characters in it are selfless and benevolent.’
But he is certainly relishing his role as a producer.
‘Directing is more like a hobby. When producing, you have to constantly look at the bigger picture, to consider all aspects about the film, and not just what’s on camera.’
Here’s a piece of good news for fans dying to see Peter and his long-time girlfriend, 44-year-old actress-comedienne Sandra Ng, collaborate on a film again.
The couple last worked on Golden Chicken (2002)- he as the producer, she the lead actress.
‘It’s not firmed up yet, but I’m likely producing a film starring her and Jacky Cheung,’ said Peter, who has a three-year-old daughter with Sandra.
‘It’ll be sometime at the end of the year.’
Tan Kee Yun
CHARITY’S CHEESY, BUT…
She’s no reality TV junkie.
But Katrina Kaif revealed that the reason she is involved in so many TV shows in Indiais to help her mother’s charity.
The Bollywood actress says she donates every cent she makes through television appearances to mother Susan Turquotte’s charity, Mercy Home, in Madurai, India.
In fact, the actress paid for the Mercy Home’s ambulance after her first game-show appearance.
‘Normally one doesn’t like to speak on one’s charity work. It’s a bit cheesy. But… I’ve to admit that I’ve been lending my mum a helping hand with her orphanage,’ the actress is quoted in RS Bollywood Online.
YUEN WOO-PING’S NEW ACTION MOVIE
Martial arts choreographer Yuen Woo Ping returns as a director for the new Hong Kong action movie True Legend (aka Su Qi Er). Woo Ping, who was the fight choreographer for the Matrix trilogy and also Kill Bill, last directed Tai Chi Boxer in 1996.
In his latest movie, action star Chiu Man Cheuk plays the title character Su, a wealthy man in the Qing Dynasty who loses his fortune. He dedicates his life to martial arts and emerges as a hero known as Su Qi Er, or the King of Beggars.
The movie also stars Michelle Yeoh, Jay Chou, Zhou Xun, Andy On and the late David Carradine, and is scheduled for release in Singapore in February next year.
SAMMI’S 37 AND GETTING YOUNGER
Hong Kong superstar Sammi Cheng said she has no plans for marriage because she’s getting younger.
The 37-year-old recently bumped into a couple taking their wedding photos while she was out filming a music video. When asked by the Hong Kong media if she’s just as eager to walk down the aisle, she laughed: ‘Not at all.
‘In the past, I wondered when it would be my turn but I don’t think about it now. Why? Because I feel I’m back in my 20s now. I won’t think too much. And when I return to my teens next year, the more I won’t think about marriage.’
VIVIAN RETURNS TO HER ROOTS
Actress Vivian Hsu will soon start work on the new Taiwanese movie Seediq Bale, directed by Wei Te Sheng, who also directed last year’s Cape No7.
Vivian plays the lead role in the movie that portrays the Wushe Incident, a 1930 Seediq uprising led by Mona Rudao against the Japanese when Taiwan was colonised.
The Seediq are Taiwanese aboriginal people who, along with the Truku people, were previously classified as the Atayal tribe.
She said: ‘I won’t be speaking any Mandarin in the movie at all. Instead, I would have to speak Japanese and Seediq.’
The movie is due to film for half a year and will be completed in 2011. It is budgeted at $21million.