There's more to Sean Lau

Date Posted: 11 January 2012

Sean Lau Ching-Wan, is one of the few Hong Kong actors who successfully made the transition from television to the silver screen, and has never looked back since. With a multitude of Best Actor nominations and awards from Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, Golden Bauhinia Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards under his belt, Lau has successfully managed to prove the moviegoers and his fans that looks are not everything. This is because in the past, Lau struggled to be cast in television dramas as he was dark-skinned with no matinee idol looks. Although he made his film debut in 1986, his big break came in the form of TVB's stock market drama, "Greed Of Man" in 1992. Since then, Lau has been cast in an increasing number of roles such as a down-and-out musician in "C'est la vie, mon chéri" (1993) alongside Anita Yuen. After eight years, Lau has returned to Malaysia to make a show of his latest, "The Great Magician", and Cinema Online had the honour of finding out what makes this 47-year-old tick!

Cinema Online had an interview with Sean Lau recently at JW Mariott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Sean Lau was briefly in Malaysia to promote his latest movie, Derek Yee's "The Great Magician".

Q: How do you feel about how your character turned out in "The Great Magician" on a scale of 100%?
Lau: I would rate myself 60%. [Why?] Even though during filming I gave it my all, but when I watched the end product, I feel that I could've done better. I'd like to think that every actor feels the same, because that's how we keep pushing ourselves to improve.

Q: What do you think about your character as a whole then?
Lau: Well, my character, General Bully Lei, is a serious person, yet stupid at the same time. He sees his stupidity, however, as a front to fool others so that he can carry out his plans secretly, because he doesn't know who can be trusted and who can't. Unfortunately, the truth is, most of time he is just stupid.

Q: Why did you choose to take up a role in this movie?
Lau: Well, the director first approached me with a rough draft and the novel, and I really liked what I read. Further, he told me that Tony [Leung] is going to be in this movie, which sealed the deal for me. Tony and I have known each other for a long time, about eight years. We first worked with each other in a television drama, before working together again in films. Also, because it's Tony, filming this movie has been a cinch because we knew what works best for us.

Q: This is your first time in Malaysia after eight years. Do you like Malaysia? What do you like or do not like about it?
Lau: Well, I've actually been to Malaysia quite a few times in between although not for work purposes, because I have relatives living in Taiping. But yeah, I love Malaysia, especially their weather, because in Hong Kong it's quite cold, and before coming here, I was in Shanghai, and it was freezing my butt off there. So I was really relieved when I came to Malaysia because it's hot.

Q: You are a versatile actor. Do you prefer to play comedic or serious roles or good or bad roles?
Lau: I don't have any particular type of role that I like to play actually. Most of the time, what makes me chose to be in a particular film is the script and the fashion of the character I'm playing.

Q: If you could pick any role in "The Great Magician", which role would you want to play?
Lau: If I could play any role, then it would be Zhou Xun! I want to see how it feels to have guys fighting over me! Or girls, for that matter.

Q: But you are so good-looking! Didn't any girls fight over you when you were still single?
Lau: Sadly, no. I think it's because of my face. I look so serious all the time! Once, when I was memorising my lines for the movie, one of the crew members came up to me and asked me what was the matter. I said nothing, but he didn't believe me because I had this serious, dark expression on my face. So I had to explain that it was how I looked in general when I am memorising my lines.

Q: What is your favourite movie?
Lau: I don't have a favourite movie because I keep changing my favourites, so it's really hard to decide on an answer. But I like cartoons in general, such as "Kung Fu Panda". I've also done dubbing for Chinese versions of "Finding Nemo" and "Toy Story 3".

Q: Who is your favourite director?
Lau: I would say my answer is the same as the one for my favourite movie.

Q: Have you ever thought about directing then?
Lau: Yeah, I have, but some of the directors I know tell me that in order to direct, I have to have a clear message that I want to tell the world, or at least, my audiences. I thought hard about it, but I couldn't come up with a particular message, much less a story. Then you'd have to take care of many issues when you are a director, such as finding a good crew, paying them and so on. It doesn't help that the only things I think about most of the time are, where to eat and what to eat! [Laughs]

Q: Your character in "The Great Magician" wanted to learn magic to impress the woman he likes. Would you learn magic to impress your wife [Amy Kwok]?
Lau: Well, I've not thought of that, but now that you've asked, I think I would. But then she would have to wait a year, because learning magic is not that easy!

Q: If you have magical powers, what would you do with them?
Lau: I would use them to heal all the sickness in the world.

Q: What are your upcoming projects?
Lau: Currently, we are in talks for this movie, tentatively translated to "Missing Bullet" in English.

Q: What are your resolutions for 2012?
Lau: Well, I hope to be able to travel more and learn how to surf. I think that is the most important thing. Once, I went to Gold Cost in Australia, and I saw these huge, magnificent waves. I swam out to them, but I ended up being carried away by the waves because I was a really bad swimmer. So my resolution would be to improve my swimming, then go to Bali or Paris.

Q: Why Bali or Paris?
Lau: Well, I hear that the waves are smaller there! Or I can just find a bigger board. [Laughs]

Q: Thank you so much for your interview Lau!
Lau: You're welcome.

Writer: Elaine Ewe

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