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 HKCinemagic 2

Statistics :
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Interview Collin Chou
His career 1/1 - Page 1
Author(s) : Arnaud Lanuque
Date : 19/1/2003
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Collin Chou Siu Long
Stephen Chow Sing Chi
Sammo Hung Kam Bo
Bruce Lee
Ronny Yu Yan Tai
Wanda Yung Wai Tak
Movies :
Blade Of Fury
The Blade
Hail The Judge
Kung Fu Cult Master
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Page 2 : His work with the greatest ones

Collin Chou aka Ngai Sing (photo courtesy www.collinchou.com) Ngai Sing quickly became an essential part of Sammo Hung's stunt team. He was so talented that he was even accepted by Sammo Hung as his sole student. So far, he is Sammo's only student. It's an honour that highlights his merits.
Ngai Sing started in the shadow, by being a double for other actors and soon he appeared under lights. He was overall type-cast as a bad guy, but could sometimes be in the right side. He appeared in some of the most acclaimed movies ever made in HK, such as Blade of Fury, The Kung Fu Cult Master and The Blade. Action films being rare in HK at the moment, Ngai Sing's worked also for TV series.
He married model Wanda Yung. He changed his name for Collin Chou, as he wants to conquer the US film industry. In 2000, he was cast as the Oracle's bodyguard in Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions. In 2006, he made his comeback in HK in Ronny Yu's movie Fearless (with Jet Li) in wich he played Hua Yuan Jia's Father.
sa carriere
HKCineMagic.com : How did you start in the movie business?

Collin Chou : I come from a large family in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. I have 8 brothers and 4 sisters. I am number 8. Our father left us after the youngest was born, leaving our mother to raise us. Some of my brothers went to an orphanage so that they could get an education while others stayed with Mom and went to become apprentices.
I went to school for a couple of years before deciding to go to work at the age of 6 or 7 to support myself and lighten my mother's burden. I was an apprentice in many different fields including wood-carving and baking.
Working at different places, I learnt about movies and martial arts from my co-workers. I found 4 different martial arts teachers who taught me various styles. My interest in movies increased with time until I decided to go to Taipei City at the age of 12.

Upon arriving in Taipei I read in the newspapers that a movie company was hiring actors. I went to the audition and paid an exuberant amount of money to join the class. They were actually hiring extras, not actors, but I didn't know it at the time. I was very lucky because on my first job as an extra, they needed someone who could do a reaction to being "killed by a sword". At first they wanted a stuntman to do it, but I told them I could handle it and showed them my moves. They were all impressed with me and took my phone number. That was how I got started in the movie / TV industry - as a stuntman. In the beginning of my stuntman career I mainly doubled female roles because of my height and small frame.

As I got older, taller and my skills improved, I was given more challenging stunts. I learned about 'movie Kung Fu' which involves working with camera angles and merging different styles to make it look good for the shot. I suffered many injuries including numerous cuts and broken bones, but I still loved the work. When there weren't any stunt jobs, I would wait tables at restaurants and bars, or do other kind of odd jobs to survive. Sometimes there was so much work that I had to go from one set straight to another, sneaking in naps in between shoots.
When I was 18, I got my first leading man role in a movie about Tai Kwon Do. Sammo Hung was a producer of this movie and that was how I got to join Sammo's Team in Hong Kong after I completed my 2-year military service in Taiwan.


HKCM : You are Sammo Hung's only student, aren't you? Can you tell us about your relationship with him?

After finishing my first movie in Hong Kong under Sammo Hung's direction, Sammo announced to the press that I was his first student. Before that announcement, I considered myself just another member of his team. So you can say I was pretty surprised and very grateful that he regarded me so highly.
Until 1997, I was still Sammo's only student. I left Sammo's company in 1997 to try and branch out on my own.
Sammo is a very powerful and intelligent man. He knows a lot about the different aspects of the movie industry. Sammo is a great martial arts actor, a comedian and also a successful dramatic actor. Other than being a well-rounded actor, Sammo is also a great director. He knows where the camera should be placed in order to get maximum impact for the scene. He is also great at controlling the set. If the movie set is compared to that of the army, then Sammo is definitely a great General.
During the time I was with Sammo's team, I had a feeling that Sammo wanted to train me to be like him, versatile both in front and behind the camera. I once thought that I could be like him, but I realised that I am not smart enough to do all the things he can. So I have decided to concentrate on my acting.


Licence To Steal
Hail The Judge


HKCM : You come from Taiwan and worked mostly in the Hong Kong cinema. Did you feel any difference in the way people from Hong Kong were treating you? Was there any language barrier considering you speak mandarin and not the local dialect, Cantonese?

I was pretty lucky when I went to Hong Kong in 1989. I was recruited by Sammo Hung 2 years earlier in Taiwan when I was the lead in a movie, which he produced. After completion of my military service, I went to Hong Kong and became a part of Sammo Hung's Team. Sammo Hung was really influential in the Hong Kong movie industry at that period of time and my work was both in front and behind the camera. Up until the mid 90s, most Hong Kong movies were still dubbed so it didn't matter if the actors spoke Cantonese, Mandarin or even English. Action movies were a big draw at the box-office.

I was treated well because of Sammo Hung, but Cantonese was still the main dialect spoken so communication with cast, crew and reporters was quite limited. I was also very shy at the time and concentrated on doing my work instead of socialising. Although I didn't make many friends, I know others were impressed with the work I did. However, socialising was an important part of the movie business. You had to hang out with 'movie people' in order to get more work. 'Making up news' for the media was considered good PR for an actor too. I was good at neither!

Being in the business for this long I have realised that the 'language barrier' was the same worldwide. In Hong Kong you have to speak Cantonese, but in China, Taiwan and other Chinese speaking countries you have to speak Mandarin. In the US, you have to speak American English in order to get into the movie industry.


HKCM : Your name in Chinese is Chou Siu Lung, the same as Lee Siu Lung [Bruce Lee's Chinese name] . Was it an homage to Lee Siu Lung ?

Actually the Chinese character 'Sui' in my name does not mean 'Little'. In Cantonese it sounds similar but in Mandarin the pronunciation 'Zhao'. It was not in homage to Bruce Lee, although I do admire him. However, my friends do call me Sui Lung - 'Little Dragon'.


HKCM : Do you have some disappointments about the fact that you played mostly bad guys? Is it something you would like to change in the future of your career?

I am not disappointed with just playing bad guy roles. Being an actor I have to perform every role that I accept to the best of my capabilities. I have also learnt a lot from working with all those different martial arts actors and directors. Of course I would have liked to play different types of roles, but the trend in the Hong Kong movie industry is to cast actors in roles that they have played well previously.

I hope that I would be able to do different roles here in the US. As you know, there are still not that many roles written specifically for Asians. But there are more opportunities here in the US given to actors to try different roles. My aim is to do as many different and meaningful roles as I can to help me build a long lasting and well-rounded career.


HKCM : You are mostly known for your action parts but it also happened that you played not fighting part, in Hail The Judge with Stephen Chow for instance. Is it an aspect of your career you would like to develop?

Of course I would like to play different characters, but type casting is very typical in the Hong Kong movie industry. Action movies will always be important in the Hong Kong movie industry and there are not many actors who can do their own stunts.
I have tried to do other non-action roles, but those roles are hard to come by.


HKCM : What is the role you are the most proud of?
Up until now I still haven't found a role that I am completely satisfied with. But I am hoping that the release of The Matrix 2 and 3 will be the changing point of my acting career.
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