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Interview Terence Yin: alive not dead artist
Typecast as a bad guy 1/1 - Page 2
Info
Author(s) : Arnaud Lanuque
Date : 28/12/2008
Type(s) : Interview
 
 Intext Links  
People :
Benny Chan Muk Sing
Jackie Chan
Clarence Ford
Leon Lai Ming
Andrew Lau Wai Keung
Jingle Ma Choh Sing
Wong Jing
Movies :
Bullets Of Love
Gen X Cops
Hot War
Martial Angels
New Police Story
Rave Fever
 
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HKCinemagic: Hot War and Gen X Cops gave you a lot of exposure but you got typecast as a bad guy subsequently. Do you regret the impact those films had on your career?
Terence Yin: No. What I realized as a working actor is that it’s not just up to you. The audience reception is a funny thing. It just happened Hot War was a large action vehicle which did pretty well at the box office. They made me look really crazy in that movie and that struck a chord with the audience.
 
HKCinemagic: Do you think it was just the audience? Wasn’t it the producers too who could not picture you in other parts after that?
Terence Yin: It’s both, yes. Hong Kong is very image driven and I completely neglected the paparazzi. My feeling was that I should not pay any attention about it because there is nothing that I do I feel ashamed. So why should I fear about my behavior? What happens was that there were more and more fabricated reports. They would take a picture of you out of context and create a story. Because I didn’t pay attention on that early on, I got stuck with that. It has partially a role in maintaining this kind of bad guy image.
 
HKCinemagic: Do you have an idea why you were chosen to be a bad guy in the first place?
Terence Yin: Probably because my features are a bit harsh. I don’t know… I got pretty good at it after a while. I didn’t have to think much anymore: “You want that? Ok, I can do it.”

Gen X Cops
HKCinemagic: Gen X Cops marketing was keen to emphasize the development of a 'generation X.' Did you feel that on the set too?
Terence Yin: Back then generation X was a catch phrase. Everybody was talking about generation X --a bunch of disinterested rebellious youth. I’m sure in terms of marketing, it was taken in consideration. And it just happened Gen X Cops was about young actors, young kids opposite actors from the older generation. So it fit into the script in a way. But more or less, I still think it’s a marketing thing.
 
HKCinemagic: Both films are action films trying to beat US at their own game. Which one succeeded the best for you?
Terence Yin: Probably Gen X Cops. Because Gen X Cops was more youthful, it was fresher. I still like Hot War, I think it was a good film; the action was good and the style, even if there was other flaws. Gen X Cop went over because of this youthful aspect.
 
HKCinemagic: Don’t you think the directors were the main reason of the difference between the two?
Terence Yin: I don’t know, I like both directors. Benny Chan, in many ways, is good at depicting male relationships, the bond between brothers, this kind of things. And he was able to put it this talent to good use in Gen X Cops. We could see the bond between the characters in Gen X Cops. Jingle Ma is more visual.
 
HKCinemagic: Rave Fever gave you a part which sums up well this typecast, emphasizing your good look but also a kind of creepiness for which you were starting to be known for. Were you concerned about the potential damage such  typecasting could do to your career?
Terence Yin: As a working actor, you have to take what you can get sometimes. Those were the films I was being offered at the time. I wasn’t self aware enough or had enough experience to turn down good opportunities. So I didn’t have any problem with it.

Rave Fever
HKCinemagic: Despite the typecasting problem, you make the best of your character, expressing very different and contradictory feelings, what references did you have in mind when working on this film?
Terence Yin: Of all my films, the character in Rave Fever was probably one of the most interesting. Because it has a lot of layers. It gives a lot of rooms for you to hints the audience on certain things. But Rave Fever is one of those films I wish I wasn’t that young when I did it. If I went ahead and would do a character like this now, it would be very different. I think I basically understood the character in Rave Fever and I was able to deliver what the character was needed. But I think I could have gone much deeper. Especially with the rave scenes and stuffs like that. I don’t think I understood it enough! I understood it to a degree but not enough. I wasn’t really able to get into that role 100%. But it’s still one of my favorite roles. I did a lot of supporting roles and many of them didn’t give me that much opportunity to work. Rave Fever was a really meaty role, complex. As an actor you relish on those opportunities.
 
HKCinemagic : Did you get the part following your involvement in Gen X Cops? Both films have many people in common.
Terence Yin: Back then there was a group of us doing those types of young films. Now, a new generation does them and we have moved on other things.
 
HKCinemagic: Bullet of Love was a small production from Andrew Lau in which you outshine Leon Lai. You really went for it and played the bad guy fully. My feeling when watching was that you were like “if I have to be bad guy again then let’s go for it!” Was it indeed the case?
Terence Yin: No. The way I do it is that, each time I’m being proposed a part, I try to bring something new to the table. If I was playing the bad guys the same way all the time, I would be pissed, the audience would be pissed and the director too. So for Bullets of Love, the director wanted someone completely insane. Nothing subtle about him: He takes drugs, he’s crazy and he’s a killer but way over the edge. I thought if he’s gonna be like that then I’m gonna play it huge. I’m gonna do it way over the top. I think it worked for Bullet of Love or for some supporting characters. But there must be a contrast and a balance between how the movie is carried on by the lead and in many ways the supporting players have to play it larger, to stimulate the main character.
 
HKCinemagic: As I said, I think you outshined Leon Lai in the film.
Terence Yin: I was given a space to do what I had to do. Play a character like that is just fun. He’s completely crazy so I didn’t have to consider any normal convention. I didn’t have to worry about how I looked or anything. I just wanted to keep the intensity and craziness.
 
HKCinemagic: What kind of production was it?
Terence Yin: It wasn’t a huge production but it was a medium production. Not necessarily from a budget point of view but they were able to shoot 25 days which is not small, especially now.
 
HKCinemagic: I don’t know if you remember much about Martial Angels
Terence Yin: (laughs) Actually, the funny thing is that a lot of people remember me for this film the most!

Martial Angels
HKCinemagic: Here you play a kind of sexually perverted Hannibal Lecter.
Terence Yin: What was really funny was that I was communicating with the director, Clarence Fok, who I think is actually a very talented director.We were talking about the character and how he wanted me to play it. And obviously Hannibal Lecter came out. So I showed up on the set the first day, for a scene in which I’m tied up and a girl slap me in the face and wake me up. Basically, I show up, after reading a vampire novel…
 
HKCinemagic: Is it a kind of preparation you do for all your parts?
Terence Yin: It depends on what is necessary. For that movie, I went ahead and did some homework. Studying that, I noticed sometimes people who are insane walk with a different rhythm. I showed up and was ready to play it understated, subtle but very creepy. Because I thought that’s what was appropriate. Hannibal Lecter is a creepy character but who never really raise his voice. I did one take, the directors was “no, bring it out.” So I did. This scene pretty much set up the rest of my performance in the film. There is a scene I was humming, pretending I was like conducting a classical orchestra. All the singing, all those little details were brought by me.
 
HKCinemagic: I guess you didn’t have a full script when you shot the film?
Terence Yin: No, we didn’t.
 

Kung Fu Mahjong 2 : a Wong Jing production
 
HKCinemagic: It was a medium size production?
Terence Yin: It’s a medium production yes, it’s a Wong Jing film. It’s an action piece so they had around 20 shooting days which is not small.
 
HKCinemagic: Did you have any reservation about the infamous ‘masturbation scene’?
Terence Yin: No. One of the things I have always thought is that if I take a role, I can’t have any reservation about anything the character does. So if this character masturbates on screen, is completely naked having wild sex, is gay, whatever… I have no reservation about it.
 
HKCinemagic: And what did you think of the finished product?
Terence Yin: It’s not a great film. I really enjoyed working on it and playing the character but I think, for what it is, it’s quite an entertaining piece and people still remember it. In that sense, it was very successful. It was very rush, there was very little time so I really really think Clarence Fok did an amazing job, the best he could. And it ended up being a relatively successful film.
 
HKCinemagic: You had worked on many Jackie Chan’s productions but never got the opportunity to work directly with the superstar himself until New Police Story. What was your feeling to get to work with him on such a legendary film series?
Terence Yin: Jackie Chan has been my boss for ten years so I see him as my boss mainly! But I noticed a couple of things about him. He’s supremely passionate about filmmaking. You can tell. He loves being on set, he loves teaching on set. He will even grab the camera and shoot himself for many of the shots. To still have this kind of fire and passion after so many years in the industry is quite impressive. On New Police Story as he was the lead, he was very involved in the direction too. And when you see Jackie performing his own stunts, his own action, you understand why his action resonates so well with the audience. Jackie has probably the best tempo, the best rhythm of anyone that does action. He really understands that. Having this so good timing makes him special.

New Police Story
 
HKCinemagic: My question may be a bit hard for you to answer but don’t you think given his age and his talent for directing and action choreographing, he should better stick to work behind the cameras now?
Terence Yin: I think it’s a personal choice. He has earned the right to do whatever he wants. Nobody can take that away from him. And in many ways, he’s a force of nature. He’s 50 something and still does his own stunts. Sylvester Stallone at 50 came to do Rocky Balboa, who is to say its wrong?
 
HKCinemagic: Did you feel more pressure working on such a hype production?
Terence Yin: For me, it was like working with friends. I just had fun with it. I didn’t find it terribly difficult to play my character. There was the five of us, the bad guys, and for me it felt a bit like Gen X Cops which mean I pretty much know what was expected.
 
HKCinemagic: What memory do you keep of the chase scene you shot?
Terence Yin: It was fairly easy for me. I didn’t do all my own stunts obviously. The bike sequence wasn’t really me. I just did the best I can.

New Police Story
HKCinemagic: Do you think your character reflects the real interest of the young generation (video game, thrill)?
Terence Yin: Video game culture is definitely huge. Many of my friends are very much into gaming and stuffs like that. You can look at it as escapism, this virtual reality people enjoy is more appealing in a way than the real reality. It’s a common bond some kids can relate to. In New Police Story, I think it was depicted quite well. The characters are not really realistic but for the sake of entertainment, in an action film, it makes sense.
 
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