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Interview Hung Yan Yan on Coweb
Hung Yan on his first directorial effort Page 1
Author(s) : Arnaud Lanuque
Date : 11/11/2008
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Eddie Cheung Siu Fai
Hung Yan Yan
Jiang Lu Xia
Kane Kosugi
Moon Lee Choi Fong
Sam Lee Chan Sam
Jet Li
Joe Ma Wai Ho
Mike Möller
Yukari Oshima
Tsui Hark
Michelle Yeoh
Movies :
The Blade
Simon Sez
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Feature written by Thomas Podvin with additional reporting by Arnaud Lanuque

Interview by Arnaud Lanuque, Hong Kong, Oct 23rd, 2008
Many thanks to Hung Yan Yan.

Coweb website: http://www.coweb.hk/
Source: wu-jing.org

Hung Yan Yan's (Xiong Xinxin or 熊欣欣) Coweb starring Jiang Lu Xia (Mao Er Bao Bei ou 蒋璐霞) is also known as Po Wang (破網).

In the small Hong Kong film industry local talents usually need to be flexible and multi-hyphenate artists. Take Hung Yang Yang for instance. Hung was actually a stuntman-turned-actor-turned-action choreographer. He used to be a stunt double for Jet Li, then became the baddy with a jaw-dropping swordplay technique in Tsui Hark’s The Blade and ended up choreographing action films in the West (Simon Sez). Now Hung has scrapped all his business cards for new ones that say film director.

Maybe Hung Yan Yan didn’t recycle his old name cards, but the film industry has somehow always been sustainable, making new with old. To turn from action choreographer to director Hung recycles an old film genre with a twist. For his directorial debut Coweb, Hung adopts the "Girls with Guns" film genre as a blueprint. To wit, a super trained female mercilessly kicks the baddies backside in tons of memorable action set-pieces.

introduction to coweb

The "Girls with Guns" genre has been AWOL from local screens for over a decade. Hung believes to revive it will spice up the box office and bring freshness to a local audience bored to be fed tedious comedies, dramas, Sino-Hong Kong co-productions and other tired actioners. True, the recent box office figures indicated that no Chinese film was among the top ten grossing movies in the last few weeks.

Freshness comes also with new blood. Hung’s second best idea to draw more people in theatres was to cast film newcomer, albeit kung fu expert, Jiang Lu Xia. Nationwide Shaolin Quan Wushu champion Jiang has already earned a deserved reputation with her performance in the reality-TV show "The Disciple" and with her Sina-hosted blog packed with demo clips showcasing her skills.

While making new with old and casting newcomers is barely ground-breaking, Hung plans to lure audience in theatres by going back to basics. Fight scenes are barely edited and reportedly shot in long takes. The female lead will perform all the action with no stunt double at all. In brief, we are back to the local old-school way of showing, or exhibiting, action.

Coweb promises to deliver a fair share of action - read female action – while the story is based rather hackneyed. The plot is thus: a mainland Chinese female kung fu teacher moves to Hong Kong after the death of her father and becomes a bodyguard. Her bosses are kidnapped and she’ll do whatever it takes to save them. But her fights are secretly filmed and broadcast on the web for illegal gambling.

In Coweb, Jiang kicks co-stars Sam Lee, Eddie Cheung, Kane Kosugi and Mike Möller in the pants. The film is co-produced by another multi-hyphenate filmmaker, veteran comedy and drama director-writer-producer Joe Ma.

Still in post-production, Coweb could be scheduled for a release late this year.

Stuntman-choreographer-director Hung came out of the editing room to talk to Arnaud Lanuque.

Hung Yan Yan, Sam Lee, Jiang Lu Xia and Eddie Cheung

interview hung yan yan (coweb director)

HKCinemagic : Tell us about the origin of the film?
Hung Yan Yan : I had this idea of an action movie with a girl a long time ago. I was lucky to meet the good producer [Joe Ma], one who gave me a complete control. I was able to choose the girl and I also trained her a bit before the shooting. I needed the help of a producer to be able to concentrate on the rest of the film.
HKCinemagic : With this film, you revive the Girls with Guns genre, a typical HK action film genre. But what new elements do you bring?
Hung Yan Yan : The action style of the film is a bit like before except that you’ve never seen a female do this before. Because in every single shot you’ll see we don’t use double, it’s always the girl! She will be the first one in the all world to do an action movie like this. You have never seen this before! Even the Michelle Yeoh of the old time can’t compete!

Kane Kosugi, Jiang Lu Xia and Hung Yan Yan
HKCinemagic : Even people like Moon Lee or Yukari Oshima?
Hung Yan Yan : No, no, I doubled Moon Lee before so I know (smile).
HKCinemagic : What can we expect from the film compared to the recent Chocolate?
Hung Yan Yan : More than that! In Chocolate, you still see a lot of double, in my movie; you won’t see any double at all. It will be in one shot, the hits, the falls… The fights are so real! We did a lot before with men but you don’t see this kind of style anymore in those last 10 years. So I picked this style and used Jiang Lu Xia instead. I saw Chocolate while we were still shooting and there is nothing to compare. It’s only because they are both action girls. In Chocolate you see a lot of double and it’s always only one kick. It won’t be like that in mine!

Sam Lee and Hung Yan Yan
HKCinemagic : Do you intend to bring back the real martial artists to the fore in action cinema?
Hung Yan Yan : Yeah, that’s my dream. That’s why I make this movie. I have a lot of proposition to do films in the US or Europe but I prefer to stay here to do this film. And I think the audience will like it!
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