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Through the Lens of Arthur Wong
Action! And accidents 1/1 - Page 10
Info
Author(s) : David Vivier
Thomas Podvin
Date : 12/1/2005
Type(s) : Interview
 
 Intext Links  
People :
Jackie Chan
Stanley Tong Gwai Lai
Movies :
Armour Of God
A Chinese Ghost Story 2
The Myth
 
< Previous
Page 9 : DP and producer
 
Next >
Page 11 : Bonus: MTV + Wong Kar-wai


HKCinemagic: You’ve been in many movies, have you ever witnessed any accidents in action sequences?
Arthur Wong: Oh, it always happens. I am still fighting for a good system for HK movies, because I don’t like the current way. I keep fighting for a good system to protect our crew. I’ve seen many times crew members getting hurt in accidents or in a chase stunt shot where the car crashes. Or just recently in Stanley Tong’s movie [Ed.: The Myth, 2005], one of the first assistants (director) broke all his toes and was sent to hospital. I felt very bad. I still can say at this moment that we all grew up from a slave system. In the old days, when a director wanted a big crane movement, we didn’t have cranes, so we wired up a cameraman who was holding a camera and lift him to achieve the desired movement.

On one occasion, I crashed on a wall. There was a second floor with windows on the set, and I had to fly holding a camera from opposite the windows down through the window. But the wire wasn’t set to go through the window, so I crashed on the adjacent wall. And I had to support the camera really well at the last minute when I saw I was going to crash. I hold the camera and turned my shoulder to the wall. Fortunately, I suffered no injury.

Another time, in A Chinese Ghost Story 2, I was hanging from a big crane set above a 100-feet deep cliff. I had to move away from the edge. But they wrongly calculated my weight [and centre of gravity] and when I was in the harness, with the camera and the batteries, I was too heavy. When I just took off, I was upside down, head down. Wow, it was very scary. And it was very hard to get me back once I was upside down. People had to come to the edge of the cliff and grab me.

So there is such a big difference with the system between here and elsewhere. When I worked for any of the overseas productions they would have a full insurance cover for all of us. If you ask why the HK movies don’t have insurance at all, most of the producers will say “because we don’t have a big budget. Our budget is too small to cover all the accidents.” But this is very, very wrong I think.


A Chinese Ghost Story 2
HKCinemagic: On some Jackie Chan movies, accidents are frequent. He always performs very dangerous stunts, like in Armour of God.
Arthur Wong: Yes, but these big actors, or big actresses, they always have insurance! (Laughers) Only the poor crew members don’t!

So I don’t mind that every year they elect me as the chairman [of the Hong Kong Society of Cinematographers]. I can say that I am the only one who dares to speak out to support our crew members. I also take the risk people would not hire me anymore.

 
HKCinemagic: But obviously it never happens.
Arthur Wong: (Collective laughers)
 
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Page 9 : DP and producer
Next :
Page 11 : Bonus: MTV + Wong Kar-wai

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