|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.