(From left) Directors Sunny Luk and Longman Leung are all smiles at the success of "Cold War".
Cinema Online puts the directors of the star-studded box office hit "Cold War", Longman Leung and Sunny Luk, on the hot seat regarding their open-ended ending in the movie, paving the way for a possible sequel. The duo remained tight-lipped about possible plot lines but we managed to get them to reveal some clues on what to expect for the next movie.
Cinema Online's interview with Longman Leung and Sunny Luk was conducted on 28 November at Chuai Heng Restaurant Kuala Lumpur.
Q: Congratulations on the success of "Cold War", Longman and Sunny. Now that your movie is a roaring success, the question playing on everyone's mind is 'will there be a sequel out soon'?
Sunny Luk: Thanks so much, Cinema Online. Everyone is looking forward to see the sequel soon. But we implore fans to give us some time to plan the script as we don't want to produce a film in a hurry. If we were to go into filming immediately after finishing the current one, the script usually would not be a good one.
Longman Leung: Yes, the quality of the script is an important factor to the film. We need to gauge the reaction of audiences too as a reference to how the next story will unfold. When "Cold War" was released, high officials in Hong Kong also viewed the film. It was gratifying to see them giving us positive feedback via Facebook. The best part for us is when fans talk about the movie. Whether they are criticising or praising it, they refer to the character names rather than pointing out actor Aaron Kwok or actor Tony Leung. It just proves that these actors have successfully taken on their respective roles, making them real in the eyes of fans.
Q: How long did it take for the script to be finished?
Luk: The idea was conceptualised four years ago. I remember at the time Obama Barack was campaigning for President. And now, he has been re-elected. So, it was definitely four years. We were not really concentrating on "Cold War" alone, of course. Along the way, we were also working on other productions. But when it came to penning it down in script form, it took us around nine months to finish it. The film itself took around half a year to shoot. It was finished around this time last year.
Leung: After that, we worked on post-production for roughly nine months to get "Cold War" ready for release.
Q: We understand that one of the movie's attractions is the cast. Have you always known who you wanted for each role?
Leung: When coming up with the script, we immediately knew that Tony Leung and Aaron Kwok were who we wanted for the roles of Waise M.B. Lee and Sean K.F. Lau. But what came next was with the help of our boss William Kong. When we finished the script, he asked us who we wanted. Of course, since this was our first movie, we decided to go all out and he managed to reach out to who we had in mind. We were so lucky that our boss had such confidence in our script. Once the word was out that these actors were on board, everyone else followed.
Q: It is an amazing feat that the both of you are able to convince such a star-studded cast to be in your movie considering this is your first attempt at directing. Would the sequel take the same direction as well, with a big cast of superstar actors?
Leung: Actually, the question of getting which actors depends on the characters. A well-known Hong Kong author called Lilian Lee (best known as the author of "Farewell My Concubine") said that when you write a character for an actor, they will respond to your sincerity. When we finished the script, we handed it to Tony Leung. His first question was "Is Waise M.B. Lee written for me?" and we immediately said "yes". He was really happy with it.
Q: So, it's a matter of sincerity?
Leung: I would say that it would be our responsibility to do a good job with the scripting first. I believe that it's not only the actors, but other departments as well, including the behind-the-scenes crew as well as our boss that played a big part in contributing to the success of the movie.
Q: Would you consider bringing in Malaysian actors for the sequel?
Luk: If the opportunity arises, why not? If you noticed, there is a case file named ND157 mentioned in the movie. The file actually implicates many parties which allow us to include more people in the sequel should there be a need. So, casting wise, there is indeed room for consideration.
First-time directors Leong and Luk toasting to "Cold War"'s success in Malaysia.
Q: Why the decision to have two directors instead of one? That's not the norm, is it?
Leung: For the simple reason that the job of the director is a taxing one. Even with the two of us working together, the job is still difficult. We often lament about how nice it would be if there was a third director to help out with the job.
Luk: Two brains are always better than one. Actually, if you look at the history of the Hong Kong film industry, many of our seniors such as Alan Mak and Felix Chong ("Lady Cop And Papa Crook") and the Pang Brothers ("The Eye") have already picked up duo-directing duties long before us.
Q: There are bound to be conflicts when two people work together. Have you been in any fights or arguments during the production of "Cold War"?
Longman: Not really. All disagreements have been ironed out before we went into shooting officially. When either of us had an idea, we would discuss it with the other person. If either one of us feels uncomfortable with it, we throw it out the window. The same thing was done for the shooting. If either one of us wasn't okay with the scene, we'd shoot it all over again.
Q: Where did you guys get the confidence to direct such a big movie as a debut?
Luk: Everything actually happened step-by-step. When we first wrote the script, we were fully aware of our status as the new kids on the block in the directing field. The script was written with a really small budget in mind. It was definitely not an explosive story with something blowing up every moment. Can you believe that initially not even one bullet was fired throughout the script?
Leung: That was because we were fully aware how expensive an action movie would take. One big stunt could take a few days when in the movie, it would probably be onscreen for a few seconds. But after our boss viewed the script, he told us that in order for it to be a commercial success it needed a lot of action stunts.
Luk: He helped us a lot with the production arrangements, doing things step-by-step. The details slowly snowballed into a bigger movie along the way.
Sean K.F. Lau (Aaron Kwok) and Waise M.B. Lee (Tony Leung Ka-fai) face off in "Cold War".
Q: So, the two of you will continue as collaborating directors?
Leung: We would, if our boss is still the same person [laughs].
Q: We hope you continue with the same boss then. Many would love to see what the two of you would churn up next together!
Leung: Thanks, Cinema Online!
Luk: Yes. Thanks for the confidence!
Cinema Online, 13 December 2012