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 HKCinemagic 2

Statistics :
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Interview with Elvis Tsui
Interview Page 1
Author(s) : Mounir Zekhnini
Thomas Podvin
Van-Thuan LY
Date : 15/12/2008
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Lawrence Ah Mon
Fruit Chan Gor
Nicholas Chin
Ann Hui On Wah
Michael Mak Tong Kit
Elvis Tsui Kam Kong
Wong Yat Ping
Derek Yee Tung Sing
Movies :
All Men Are Brothers : Blood Of The Leopard
The Eternal Evil Of Asia
Long Arm Of The Law
Long Arm Of The Law II
Magazine Gap Road
Sex And Zen
To Be Number One
Viva Erotica
Lexic :
Category / Film Rating
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Special thanks to Nicholas Chin and Wong Yat Ping.

The interview was done via email. Elvis Tsui is currently based in Beijing.

Interview collated by Thomas Podvin.

Most famous in the West for some Category 3 films (Sex and Zen, The Eternal Evil of Asia), Elvis Tsui, once called the Pope of Category 3 by one of our editors, is also a great actor, who always been cast in supporting roles. Yet his glowing personality and acting have often radiated on the 120 films he worked on, and even on the worst Z category flicks he was involved in.
Now based in Beijing, Tsui appears mainly on Chinese mainland TV-series, and occasionally in HK films. For Nick Chin’s directorial debut, Magazine Gap Road, Tsui agreed to come back in the South of China and play a character far from any parts he ever played.

Magazine Gap Road

HKCinemagic: How did you get involved with Magazine Gap Road?
Elvis Tsui: The director chose me and asked my friend producer Wong Yat Ping to contact me and check my schedule.
HKCinemagic: Nicholas Chin is a new director but you are an experienced actor. Did he let you improvise or share ideas for your character?
Elvis Tsui: I strictly followed his instructions during shooting. I think this is the better way to collaborate with a new director. So for this film, I just follow the director’s ideas. Sometimes I’ll share some ideas for a role but not so often.
HKCinemagic: Magazine Gap Road focuses on the world of underdogs in Hong Kong. Was this part of the script of special interest for you?
Elvis Tsui: Yes, I’m interest about this story and also I like to cooperate with the producer, because he was the director for some of my movies before. Also, I’m interest to cooperate with some new director too.
HKCinemagic: After working in this kind of film, do you have interest to carry on this path and maybe collaborate with filmmakers such as Ann Hui, Fruit Chan or Lawrence Ah Mon?
Elvis Tsui: I’d like to carry on with the art-house movies but it depends on the script. I think the script is very important for an artist. I’m interested to cooperate with those directors you mentioned.
Elvis: All That I Am
HKCinemagic: Why did you choose “Elvis” as an English first name? Are you a fan of Elvis Presley?
Elvis Tsui: My family is catholic and when I was young my father gave me the name Elvis. When I grew up, I found out that Elvis Presley was a famous guy.
HKCinemagic: Can we say that Long Arm of the Law 2 (1987) really launched your career although you started acting in 1983?
Elvis Tsui: Long Arm of the Law 2 was my first movie. Before starting acting, I was a model for fashion shows. At that time, I had long hair and was wearing some stylish cloths. While shooting my first movie, the director needed me to cut my hair short. Gradually, I got used to it and I like short hair now.
I enjoy cooperating with good directors who are willing to made good movies.


Long Arm of the Law 3


HKCinemagic: Michael Mak and his brothers have worked a lot with you on the The Long Arm of the Law series and the Sex and Zen series and also To Be Number One. How do you feel about your collaboration with them?
Elvis Tsui: Both Michael Mak and his brothers are my mentors, they taught me a lot .They are so strict and earnest when making movies, I was able to learn much with them.
HKCinemagic: The Long Arm of the Law series has a strong political subtext. Were you and Michael Mak concerned about doing those films at the time? Did they ever bring trouble in your following career?
Elvis Tsui: During shooting those movies, we never thought about the political stuff. Our wish was how to offer a good story and make good films. I’ve been staying in China for over eight years, I already made a lot TV series and movies and I don’t think these films brought any consequences to me.
Category 3 films: Where Did They Go, Lord
HKCinemagic: You are a known face in the West for those who watch Category 3 movies. How did you get involved in such films? Was the shooting of a Category 3 film much different from the shooting of a Category 1 or 2 film? Who financed these films in the 1980s and 1990s?
Elvis Tsui: My participation to all those films was arranged by my management company at the time. As a professional actor, my duty was to follow the director’s instructions to complete the film. There is no difference between the shooting of a Category 3 or Category 1 or 2 films.
There were so many different companies involved in the market in the 1980-1990s, I’m not so sure which company financed these Category 3 films.
HKCinemagic: A cult classic among fans is The Eternal Evil of Asia, where you play “a person victim of black magic and who urinates on himself each time he is scared". In retrospect, do you have any memory to share of this kind of films you churned out in the 1990s?
Elvis Tsui: For those kinds of movies, it was already a long long time ago. I can’t remember too many details. Just as what I said, I’m a professional actor.
HKCinemagic: What would be your most cherished category 3 film?
Elvis Tsui: Viva Erotica.


Viva Erotica


HKCinemagic: Which category 3 film you did you dislike the most?
Elvis Tsui: None.
HKCinemagic: Derek Yee’s Viva Erotica was a mirror held to the soft porn industry and how soft porn films were done. How did you feel like acting your own persona in the film?
Elvis Tsui: I like the role in Viva Erotica, also I was happy to work with director Yee. Of course, I can do more mainstream movies.
HKCinemagic: You received a Best Actor nomination at the Hong Kong Film Awards for your role in All Men are Brothers: Blood of the Leopard. Did it change your view on the business and on your career?
Elvis Tsui: Besides Blood of the Leopard, Viva Erotica also received a Best Actor nomination at the Hong Kong Film Awards. I agree the nomination is an encouragement for every artist.
HKCinemagic: Were you unhappy to be labeled “category 3 actor” in the past?
Elvis Tsui: Same old question…Just as what I said, I’m a professional actor.


A Chinese Torture Chamber Story


HKCinemagic: Your work less but seem to choose better projects…
Elvis Tsui: I’ve moved to Beijing for many years. In these few years I’ve already made some TV-series and movies in China. I’m more careful in choosing projects these past years.
For the coming projects, I’m interest to find some potential artists and I am willing to try to be a director.
HKCinemagic: Among all the directors you worked for, whom do you admire most?
Elvis Tsui: So many…
HKCinemagic: Which Chinese of Hong Kong director would you like to work with one day?
Elvis Tsui: So many…
HKCinemagic: Do you wish to carry on painting one day?
Elvis Tsui: Of course.
HKCinemagic: Do you have anything to add for your fans in the West?
Elvis Tsui: Please support Hong Kong Movies.
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