|Chee Keong Cheung: Thank you. It was real privilege and honour to work with such a diverse array of highly talented actors in both the UK and HK. Mike Leeder was the HK Producer along with Ean Tang and helped to assemble a great HK cast and crew for Bodyguard: A New Beginning. Mike’s certainly a very knowledgeable individual and very supportive of action and Asian cinema and he was a great contributor to the film. Without him, we certainly couldn’t have achieved what we did.
As mentioned earlier, I was in touch with Richard Ng from Underground and it was great to not only have him on board as an actor but also being able to get advice from him and filming in HK as he has such vast experience in HK and China. Richard put his son Carl forward, who I met with in HK in Starbucks. Mike put me in touch with other local talents, such as Vincent Sze who plays Leung, the Bodyguard. I remember having a very long meeting late at night with Vincent and we hit it off.
Other cast from HK included Shing Fui-On who I was very excited about working with having been very familiar with his work, in particular in John Woo’s The Killer. We had Vincent Lam Wai (Roaring Wheels) and James Ha (Crime Story) who play the gang bosses as well as Brandon Rhea who plays a drunken businessman and was seen in Fearless alongside Jet Li.
I met Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa with Mark Strange at the American Film Market (AFM). He’s a very talented actor and has such great screen presence and a large body of work. He’s a real great guy. Very gentle individual and very different to the bad guy roles he plays onscreen. We showed him some extracts from Underground and he really liked the tone and style of the film as well as what we achieved with limited resources and we kept talking and there was a window he was free. After the Bodyguard shoot he went on to take a key role in the Tekken film based on the computer game.
Stephanie Langton who plays Chloe, the girl Leung is sent to protect, is from the UK. Stephanie came to an open audition and she just stood out amongst everyone we saw and we had literally hundreds of people applying for that role. After her audition I just kind of knew she’d be right.
As well as acting, I should add Mark Strange was also very integral (as with Underground) in bringing together some great UK action talents in his role as producer including Nathan Lewis (who’s a three-time kickboxing world champion) who plays one of the hired help in the film.