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 HKCinemagic 2

Statistics :
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Interview with Andrew Lau and Alan Mak -Infernal Affairs
Personal Experiences as Filmmakers 1/1 - Page 1
Author(s) : Amy Lee
Gina Marchetti
Date : 3/11/2004
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Andrew Lau Wai Keung
Mark Lui Chung Tak
Alan Mak Siu Fai
Wong Jing
Manfred Wong Man Jun
Movies :
As Tears Go By
City On Fire
Mean Street Story
Rave Fever
A War Named Desire
Companies :
Golden Harvest
Shaw Brothers
Wong Jing's Workshop
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Page 2 : INFERNAL AFFAIRS part 1

Infernal Affairs was a big success not only in Asia but also all over the world. A great production value, a top notch cast and crew, and two Hongkong directors dedicated to give their best have permitted this miracle. Directors Andrew Lau and Alan Mak talk about the movie and its sequels that have reboosted the whole Hong Kong film industry and box office.
HKCinemagic.com: Alan, could you talk about the flashbacks in X-Mas Rave Fever?

Alan Mak: It's a simple story. From the beginning, the producer at Golden Harvest wanted me to make a movie about a Rave party in Hong Kong in the 1990s. I had not been to one, so I did some research on the topic for about three months. The producer said you cannot talk about drugs, sex, or any of the most interesting parts of the Rave parties. So, I decided that I wanted to do a movie that had a distinctive narrative structure about a man who goes to a Rave party, gets drunk, picks up a girl, forgets about her, and then tries to find out who the girl is. In the end, the girl is a man. It's just a simple story organized in three parts--based on a structural premise that had not been used in Hong Kong film before this. It's a small movie, but I really like it.


HKCinemagic.com: Could you talk about the music in X-mas Rave Fever? Why did you choose Mark Lui and the OnLine band to write the score?

Alan Mak: It is part of the contract. Because I needed Mark Lui as one of the actors and there wasn't enough money for him, we also contracted him to do the music.


HKCinemagic.com: Andrew, you've worked as a director, producer, and cinematographer. Which job do you prefer?

Andrew Lau, photo by Gina Marchetti for HKCinemagic.comAndrew Lau: I've worked as a cinematographer on so many films CITY ON FIRE, AS TEARS GO BY, Young And Dangerous and so many others. Of course, I like directing, so I can be in control of the cinematography, the acting, etc. In Hong Kong , normally the actors have a lot of control, but I need to fully control everything. When I was a cameraman, I was very upset sometimes because I could not control everything. Even when you shoot a shot you don't like, the director can say it's okay, and it will end up in the film. So that's why I want to be the director.


HKCinemagic.com: When you directed the first installment of Young And Dangerous, did you envision it would become a series?

Andrew Lau: No, of course not. When I did the first one, I thought of it as self-contained. After the box-office returns came in, we began to think of a series. At first, I didn't want to shoot this movie. I didn't want to make a movie involving the triads. One day, I was given a hot comic book and told to shoot the movie. I didn't like it, and I didn't want to do it. It had a lot of violence. After one or two weeks work, I began to turn it into another kind of movie. That's why I like the title Young And Dangerous. This movie gave me the opportunity to work with a group of up and coming actors who weren't expensive-- and make a movie for young people. I just took the background and some characters from the comic book, and Wong Jing allowed me to do something different. We shot it quickly, and, as we were finishing, I began to think of the second one, because we had so much material left. Then, we decided to do another one, but we still had to wait for the first one to be released. In fact, we had trouble getting the first one released because it had no stars and it seemed like just another triad movie. The distributors were old-fashioned and they didn't understand the youth culture in the film. The film is for young people they didn't understand the costumes, hair styles, etc. They didn't know how to judge the film. Later on, we had a two week period, but we didn't have a firm booking. We did, however, have the midnight screening slot, and word of mouth spread very quickly. Then, we were asked to shoot part two as fast as we could.


Young & Dangerous and City On Fire


HKCinemagic.com: Alan, let me ask you about a film you did in Thailand, A War Named Desire. What was it like working in Thailand ?

Alan Mak: I like shooting movies in Thailand very much because the government is so cooperative there. The police help you to close the roads for shooting. The industry people are well trained, too, since they have supported a lot of Hollywood films, particularly war movies.

Andrew Lau: Shooting in Thailand is easy. The costs in Thailand are reasonable, and the people are very open.


HKCinemagic.com: Andrew, could you tell us about your relationship with Wong Jing and Manfred Wong?

Andrew Lau: I need more than two days to answer that question we have such a long history together. Wong Jing was really my master when I was an assistant cameraman. We met a long time ago in 1981 when I was just a young kid. I worked with him. Later, when he left Shaw Brothers and went on to shoot so many successful movies, I also continued my career as a cameraman. We wanted to work together, but we never were able to be matched up on a project. In 1992, I joined his company (Wong Jing's Workshop) as a director. I shot several films which were not too successful, but also not too bad.

In 1995, I shot THE TEMPLE STREET STORY (a.k.a. The Mean Street Story). At that time, Manfred Wong was a DJ on the radio, and he would review movies. He was a scriptwriter, but he had this late-night radio program as well to talk about movies. He said The Temple Street Story was a bad movie. Some people recorded Manfred's review and gave the tape to me. The promotion company told me this big mouth said your movie was no good. I thought, if I ever meet this guy... So, I mentioned this all to Wong Jing. Wong Jing and Manfred Wong know each other well because they are around the same age. Wong Jing said, Really? I said, Yes. So, Wong Jing picked up the phone, and he called Manfred and invited him to "yam cha" (drink tea). This was not what I wanted. I wanted Wong Jing to do something about Manfred. Wong Jing organized a meeting with Manfred and me. Wong Jing suggested that all three of us form a new company. So, we became friends because of Wong Jing.

At that time, we really started a fresh new life. The first movie for the new company was Young And Dangerous. So, at that time, we became good friends, and we began to make lots of movies together. Even today, we are still good friends.


Alan Mak's movies : X Mas Rave Fever & A War Named Desire
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Page 2 : INFERNAL AFFAIRS part 1

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