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 HKCinemagic 2

Statistics :
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Interview with Darren Shahlavi, a versatile gweilo
Tai Chi 2 1/1 - Page 3
Author(s) : Arnaud Lanuque
Date : 27/10/2009
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Christy Cheung Wing Yin
Cheung Sing Yim
Ng See Yuen
Wong Wai Him
Jacky Wu Jing
Yuen Woo Ping
Movies :
Black Mask
Tai Chi II
Companies :
Seasonal Film Corporation
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Page 4 : Bloodmoon

HKCinemagic: How did you get the part of Smith in Tai Chi 2?
Darren Shahlavi: I sent my pictures to all the film companies in Hong Kong and Anthony Wong from Woo Ping films asked me to come in and meet Yuen Woo Ping, I threw some kicks and they hired me on the spot.
HKCinemagic: Did you see how Yuen Woo Ping and Cheung Yim Fai shared the direction of the film? What kind of instructions did you have from the directors about your acting performance?
Darren Shahlavi: No real direction as far as acting, I was directed by Yuen Woo Ping for all my scenes and director Cheung Sing Yim would stay in his hotel room cutting the movie on an old Steinbeck. They invited me to view dailies at the hotel. I remember Yuen Woo Ping asking me to make my facial expressions smaller and not screw up my eyes, I came from theatre acting so as you see in the film I was acting as if I was on a stage, and it was a very inappropriate performance for film.
HKCinemagic: What memory do you keep of your partners (Wu Jing, Billy Chow, Yu Hai, Ji Chun Hua and Taam Chiu) in the film, working on the martial arts scenes and outside of the set?
Darren Shahlavi: I had such a nice time shooting that film, everyone was so nice. Wu Jing was very quiet and fun too. It was his first lead role and mine too so we were both just so excited to be there. Billy Chow was very friendly he always invited me out to dinner or for cab rides in the city. Christy Cheung was lovely too. Big thanks to Yuen Woo Ping and producers Anthony Wong and Stephen Wong who were wonderful to me.
HKCinemagic: You had to do a lot of stuntwork in the final scene of the film. Weren’t you worried to suffer a serious injury on your biggest part of the time?
Darren Shahlavi: No, Yuen Woo Ping is very cautious of safety and seems to know just how much you can do and some, before every tricky shot whisper to me "take care eh!" "Take Care."
HKCinemagic: How long did it take you to shoot this final? What memory do you keep about working on this intense fight sequence?
Darren Shahlavi: I believe I had about 16 shooting days, it was exhausting but those days when you need a long soak in the bath are the most rewarding. It was a lot of fun, my most favourite moment was during the shoot in the ending with Wu Jing. When I’d be called to be in front of the camera I’d jump up and ask "only me or with Wu Jing too?" and Yuen Woo Ping would sing to me "Only You..." From the old song by the Platters, so there I am in front of the camera and we’re all singing "Only you..." It was a lot of fun, then I had to turn on the Nasty!
HKCinemagic: Tai Chi 2 was a real breakthrough for you but it didn’t lead to more parts in Hong Kong films. Can you tell us why?
Darren Shahlavi: Tai Chi II got me hired on Bloodmoon for Ng See Yuen’s company Seasonal films. Bloodmoon got me other work on American films. I knew I’d never get a role like Tai Chi 2 again in Hong Kong so it was time to move on.
HKCinemagic: I heard you were supposed to act in Daniel Lee’s Black Mask, what role were you supposed to play and why didn’t it happen?
Darren Shahlavi: I believe Yuen Woo Ping wanted me for the main bad guy who has the hair like me in Bloodmoon we had a tentative deal, then I was betrayed by my closest friend. (someone not mentioned in this interview). I won’t go into any details but to say that I was very hurt personally. It amazed me how someone can jeopardise a great opportunity for someone they know, mistakenly believing it will create a chance for themselves. I was only 22 years old at the time and believed this person had my back and we’d be great friends always he was like my big brother, but once I started to get work he just saw me as his competition and traded our friendship to be in a movie.
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