|Gordon Chan: Yes. And I started working in the Dickson Group (D&B). I did a comedy for
John Sham. I wrote the script for Heart to Hearts (1988) starring George Lam and Dodo Cheng. But they didn’t manage to find a director who agreed to shoot it. Because it was a very middle class Woody-Allen type comedy, which never ever happened in HK before. Nobody did a comedy that way. And we gave the script to a couple of directors and they all refused to shoot it. They thought it was going to be a bomb. But George Lam insisted he wanted to star in it. So Stephen Shin, the manager [of D&B] then, decided maybe I could try to shoot it. It was my story and he said: “You would be the one to understand the story so well. And you’ve been on film sets for that many years, you should have the experience.” Which I didn’t think I had. But he gave me an opportunity: “Why don’t you shoot it?”
I actually didn’t accept it right away. I went to Yuen Woo Ping to ask for his advice, because I was writing for him too. It was him who pushed me to do it so I finally agreed. But nobody knew me, so they put Stephen Shin on the screen credits as the director and he was going to bear that pressure. They called me deputy director. Everybody thought it was going to be a flop --even after I finished it. Finally, it grossed HKD 26 millions at the box office [Ed.: Heart to Hearts grossed HKD 24,6 millions in 51 days between 25/08/88 and 14/10/88] and it cost only HKD 3 millions to make. It changed everything.
I didn’t even saw the premiere. I finished the film, cut it and told Stephen to do whatever he wanted to do with it. I thought I was through. I picked up my backpack and went to France, Belgium, Switzerland. Did a tour of Europe. I was in London when I first saw the box office grossing, my film came out in the same time as Ringo Lam’s School on Fire. Lam was considered as a top director then. So it was like everybody thought I was finished, that I should go back to writing [instead of directing]. [Ed.: School on Fire only grossed HKD 13.7 millions in 27 days between 20/08/88 - 15/09/88]
That’s how I moved from writing to directing. Basically I was thinking if they wanted me to direct, I’d direct, but I still wanted to keep on writing. So I never stopped writing. Not even after I shot my third film [Brief Encounter In Shinjuku]. I even helped out a couple of guys writing drafts. And I wrote for Corey Yuen and for Jet Li, for The Bodyguard from Beijing (1994). We were trying to find a way to bring Jet into the modern society. You know, the kung fu guy, what can he do here. Instead of pretending he was from Hong Kong let him do this character from China...