The Not So Crooked Crooks
After graduating from a sports university, majoring in Sanda, Xia Yu entered illegal matches to make quick cash because of what Charlie Yeung, the girl he loves, said, “You’ve got money? Then you may like me.” But being a loyal friend with a simple mind, he was swindled by someone and killed the cheat in one strike.
Greatly moved by what he has been doing for her, Charlie Yeung, believing it was unintentional, a manslaughter rather than murder, harbours him. In the end, Charlie Yeung is implicated for shielding a criminal, and both turn fugitives.
Xia Yu says, “I’m mainly doing emotional scenes, so I don’t have much action. Perhaps because action would be done mostly by the four detectives. I’m a runaway convict, actually I was already captured at first. So, I have little much action. I might have some action later, but won’t be too much.
“Gao Qun Shu is a director who communicates his ideas very well. He understands the nature and conditions of each character, so, he can describe vividly what kind of feelings the actor should express. And he also has a very strong sense for visuals, he might shoot a scene from 13 different angles. You can imagine what the final cut is like. And he’s not one to do more takes than is necessary, as long as he gets what he wants, he’ll proceed to the next scene. You’ll find it very relaxing, for he is fully aware of what he is after.”
Charlie Yeung‘s long tresses were cropped for her previous film. And her short hair looked good to director Gao Qun Shu too, so she was asked to kept her hair short. As she is on the run in the desert, with the sand blowing at her, her hair will be more messy on the dusty set, lending a more credible appearance.
Charlie Yeung finds the director to be very intelligent, with very fertile imagination, and holds great respect for him. She and Xia Yu are playing a couple in the film, and they had emotional scenes from the first day on the set: they are feeling very sad, for they have been captured.
As both of them didn’t know each other well, Charlie Yeung stared at him intensely to nurture her feelings, “I told him when we first met, ‘Sorry, I am going to keep staring at you.’ This is my own way of forming a bond with him in the shortest possible time. For that day, I had to weep, weep for him.
“Xia Yu committed a crime because of me, and as his girlfriend, I want to help him, to stay by his side, no matter what happens to him. Initially, I don’t have much feelings for him. But once I’ve decided that he’s the one I love, I’d do anything for him. I like this character very much, this love is so sweet.”
“I have a scene involving escaping on the horse, and I have some action too, but I have not ridden a horse since Seven Swords. So, my homework was to watch Seven Swords again. At that time, I wasn’t familiar with fighting. So, I went all out to train, building up my confidence. I try to recall how I learned horse-riding in such a short time. I had many horse-riding scenes in Seven Swords. We have a very good martial arts choreographer here too, and the director, they can turn the various elements into something very realistic.”
The Lethal Bounty Hunters
Francis Ng is playing bounty hunter Mai Gao. Tired of killings, he intends to retire, and this is his last expedition. Director Gao Qun Shu says, “We are giving an account of the bounty hunter Mai Gao, one who is filled with melancholy and is travelling a great distance to carry out his mission, and his eventual fate.”
Francis Ng says, “I’m staying in Hong Kong, and I didn’t want take any assignment before the New Year, for I have my own programme. But I got a call from director Gao Qun Shu. He told me it was a Western film; a Hong Konger wouldn’t imagine it possible to be riding a horse on the Gobi Desert, dressed like a cowboy. Wonderful, so, here I am, relinquishing part of my holiday plan, and have to shoot for 60 days.
“In the past, I was always wondering why cowboys are dressed so smartly, boots, scarf, tie. Now I realise it was out of necessity. Sand would get in if you don’t wear boots, it’s inconvenient to walk, or ride. There’s a lot of dust when riding a horse, so you’d cover the face with the scarf. They have a certain gait because of the cowboy suit.
“I have lots of action here. Wu Jing said the film doesn’t require him to do too much action, only requiring him to act. I told him they don’t need my acting, only action.”
Yu Nan is Francis Ng’s assistant assassin Ah-Nuo. She is a mysophobe, a Virgo, and carries a guitar on her back. Beneath her innocent facade and beauty lies a venomous heart. She’s treats killings as a game, something of great fun, a minor matter not to be fussed over.
Yu Nan says that the director had talk to her a year ago, “They had been planning the film since last year. Back then, when the director discussed with me, this character was a guy. He didn’t show me the script, just told me the story and asked if I would be interested to work with him. So, we had an agreement. But later, he did The Message instead. Unexpectedly, a year later, three days before principal photography, I received a notification from him.
“It was very sudden. For I knew there wasn’t such a character. They told me that they changed one of the two assassins to a girl. So, I just came over without being prepared beforehand – for the role, or anything. It was out of trust, and also my wish to try something different.
“When I got the script, it was around 30 pages, her future development, her personality, I wasn’t sure. What the director gave us is a character prequel.
“I’m an actress who is inclined to do preparation works for anything I do. On the first two days, the director told me you were not in the right form, you weren’t ready. I wasn’t sure how to play a killer, her psyche. I felt that whatever I did wasn’t right. The director told me an assassin might have one special trait – concentration. No matter how you approach it, concentrate. It was a very good groundwork.”