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Statistics :
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Interview Roy Horan : gweilo actor and producer in HK
Exploring New Groups 1/1 - Page 7
Author(s) : Arnaud Lanuque
Date : 13/3/2006
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Bruce Le
Ng See Yuen
John Woo
Ronny Yu Yan Tai
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Page 6 : When Karate Kid meets Rambo
Our warmest thanks to Roy Horan for his kindness and humour.
Interview conducted in the Polytechnic University, Hong Kong by Arnaud Lanuque.

Thanks to Yves Gendron and Pieter Klein for screnshots.

HKCinemagic : But it was your last one as far as you were concerned. Why didn't you push further in production?
Roy Horan : In the early 80's , I had begun focusing on video production and distribution. Ng See Yuenand I had a video company together. Although it was a bit under-funded, I continued video production and international video distribution through the 80's. I also distributed films for Seasonal as well as other companies and began to see a market pattern. Ng and I had different points of view on the direction of the international market. In 1987, toward the tail-end of the big world-wide video push, I told him, “If we really want to go somewhere in the international market, to continue with good sales in the video market, cable and so forth, we need to spend more money. You've got to get your film budgets up into the $3, 4 and 5 million dollar bracket.” That's a bit scary for someone who has created success from low investment, high concept (or controversial) pictures. It's a big risk and he didn't want to take it. He probably had good reasons for this because, at that budget level, if you don't pull it off, your company will close down with just one, or two, flops. At the same time, if you do them well…you know…that's the attraction of the film business. I think he made a business decision which he felt comfortable with.
HKCinemagic : A last story you would like us to tell?
Roy Horan : The other thing I did, in relation to all of this…I think it was in September, 1983…was to write an article for Inside Kung Fu about how to fight your way into Kung Fu movies. The article was written for a dual purpose. One was to find international talent for HK films, the other was to create an interesting talent search concept, “Can you be the next Bruce Lee?” What I did in this article was to analyze action choreography, based on my experience, and deliver technical direction for actors and choreographers, all in a comedy style. At that time, I was told by the editor that the issue outsold all other issues in that publication's history….surprise, surprise! The article circulated for many, many years. What it did, I think, was to give the people involved in Hollywood action more respect for the way directors, choreographers and actors do things in Hong Kong . I could see the information and techniques were later being utilised in US independent action pics. Americans were developing a greater awareness of Hong Kong directors and choreographers. John Woo did a film with Van Damme and Van Damme also promoted Hong Kong talent because he feels confident with their action expertise. I think it's really good that Hong Kong talent got a clean shot at Hollywood . They're making some serious headway in L.A these days. Also, I think it's good some of them are coming back here and contemplating “What can we do with China ? What can we do in our local market?” In this respect, I'm pretty happy to be part of that movement.
HKCinemagic : You still keep an eye in the industry?
Roy Horan : We teach some video filmmaking here, at the University, and we've got film directors and so forth coming in and out of this department all the time. However, I don't keep very close contact. The people I worked with are leaders in the industry. I don't really know the people working under them today, like I used to. Ronny Yu, director of Fearless, is a friend of mine. In 1990, we worked together in L.A. on a film called The Death Touch. It got as far as pre-production, then the production company's bank pulled the plug. I still have the script on that picture, who knows? I've even lost contact with Ronny…different directions, I guess. My major focus here, in the University, is creativity…creative thinking research. Many believe that the competitive edge of the future is not information, but creativity, and innovation. So, I've made quite a radical change from filmmaking. I believe that creativity has a neuro-psychological base, a scientific base that ties in with very ancient Chinese and Indian studies on the mind. I've even got my own electroencephalography lab and am about to publish new theories in the field. For people who know me as a kung fu guy, it might be a bit surprising that I suddenly shifted into science and education. What few know is that I have a strong science background, as well as the arts. Making movies was a pretty good experience, 20, or so, years in the industry. It was a result of timing, luck, being in the right place at the right time, speaking the language, having an interest in Chinese culture, wanting to learn from them and not feeling that foolish itch which drives some people to dictate how things should be done. I think in this business, it's very important that people feel they can work with you.
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