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… On this day, I see clearly, everything has come to life.

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with 聚言莊﹕The House Where Words Gather.

Archive for the ‘Stephy Tang Lai-Yan’ Category

Kozo Entertainment Group Presents: LOVE FOR HIRE

A little business to conduct before we get to the holiday festivities:  My 12-year “artistes” contract with the Kozo Entertainment Group obligates me to remind you that voting is underway for the “Top Hong Kong Films of the 1990s”.  Go here for details.

With Lunar New Year and Valentine’s Day falling on the same day, it’s the perfect time to release the Kozo Entertainment Group’s first feature film.  It’s a holiday release called LOVE FOR HIRE.  I got the idea for the movie after reading news articles about demographically-challenged Mainland males “renting” girlfriends to bring back home for Lunar New Year gatherings.  Being a fan of LAW & ORDER for close to twenty years, ripping a story from the headlines came naturally.  After running it up the flagpole to my superiors at the KEG, we got some funding from The Feinstein Company and the China Pajama-Producers Co-operative.  Consider this our “red packet”/valentine to you …

* * * * *

LOVE FOR HIRE:

A romantic comedy/drama about the lives and loves of people who work at an agency that provides fake girlfriends to guys who need someone on their arm for a social occasion.  The movie has two main plots:

Chrissie Chau

MAIN PLOT A:  Normal but shy guy hires a girl to practice social situations with (asking her out, going on dates, etc.) because he’s in love with a hot girl in his office.

Normal/shy Guy: Jaycee Chan (Fong Cho-Ming)
Girl For Hire: Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin
Hot Office Girl: Chrissie Chau Sau-Na

Due to his shyness, Jaycee has never dated a girl before so he wants to work out all the kinks of dating with Charlene before asking Chrissie out.  Naturally, over the course of a few practice dates, Jaycee falls in love with Charlene but, because she’s only doing this to make a few dollars for a plane ticket to see her boyfriend who’s studying in Australia, he doesn’t want to admit his love — even though it’s clear she loves him back.  He ends up going through with asking Chrissie out.

On his date with Chrissie, Jaycee realizes that he has to profess his love for Charlene so he races to the airport to stop her from getting on the plane to see her boyfriend for the Lunar New Year holiday. (Thus satisfying the romantic movie commandment of always having a scene where one of the main characters is racing somewhere to declare their love for someone.)

MAIN PLOT B:  Widower needs to hire a fake girlfriend because his parents are flying in from Canada to visit him and his cute kid for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Widower: Andy Lau Tak-Wah
Agency Owner: Michelle Reis

As Andy’s wife has been dead for four years, his parents have been on his back to get a new woman in his life and the life of their grandchild.  He wants to get them off of his back so he goes to the agency to hire a woman for a Lunar New Year “performance”.  He has a specific type of woman in mind so he asks to meet directly with the agency owner to pick out the right girl to play the part.

Andy and the agency owner end up meeting several times because they can’t agree on the right girl for the job.  During these meetings, Andy begins to admire Michelle for her work ethic and professionalism while Michelle begins to admire Andy for his dedication to his kid, his parents and, most touchingly, his late wife (ie. I’m still in love with her, I’m not ready to find another woman).

Since Michelle knows exactly what Andy is looking for, she decides to take the job herself and, during their “show” for Andy’s parents, Andy and Michelle end up falling in love.

Besides the two main plots, the film also has three mini-plots that fill out the movie:

MINI-PLOT A:  The Assistants

Agency Owner’s Assistant: Stephy Tang Lai-Yan
Tycoon’s Assistant: Ronald Cheng Chung-Gei
Obnoxious Tycoon: Jim Chim Sui-Man

Stephy has been working with Ronald because Ronald’s boss (Jim Chim) is an obnoxious jerk of a tycoon who has been hiring arm candy to get photographed with in the tabloids.  As the tycoon has been doing this for months, Stephy and Ronald have been talking to each other over the phone for a while.  Through casual bits of conversation between making arrangements for the tycoon, Ronald starts to wonder what it’d be like to date Stephy while Stephy begins to imagine what it would be like to have Ronald as a boyfriend.  Obviously, there’s mutual interest but, since they just have a professional phone relationship, neither has acted on it.  One day, they happen to be in the same Starbucks and when they hear each other order, they realize who the other is and it’s the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Donnie Yen

MINI-PLOT B: Husbands and Wives

Husband: Eric Kot Man-Fai
Wife: Miriam Yeung Chin-Wah
Businessman: Donnie Yen (looking to show his skillz in a non-action role)
Businessman’s wife: Lynn Xiong (because she’s Mrs. Ip Man)

A businessman (Donnie Yen) needs to hire a companion to sit in with him for business meetings.  He wants to avoid all-night negotiation sessions that are actually just excuses for the other business guys to do heavy drinking.  So, he hires a “wife” (Miriam Yeung) as an excuse to get business done quickly or to bail out of booze-soaked all-nighters.  Sometimes Miriam goes with Donnie to the meetings, sometimes she calls on the phone to interrupt, sometimes she shows up to interrupt.

Donnie has been working with Miriam for months and everything is strictly platonic.  However, Miriam’s husband (Eric Kot) is jealous that she’s spending all this time with Donnie.  Things come to a head when Donnie invites Miriam over to his flat for Lunar New Year dinner.  Eric is blind with jealousy and goes to the dinner with a chip on his shoulder.  When they arrive at Donnie’s place, both Miriam and Eric are surprised to find that Donnie has a wife and two young daughters.  When Donnie’s wife (Lynn Xiong), thanks Miriam for helping Donnie come home at night to be with his kids, Eric realizes the foolishness of his jealousy.

MINI-PLOT C: The Ex-Con

The Ex-Con: Nick Cheung Ka-Fai
The “Mainland” Girl: Vicki Zhao Wei

A guy (Nick Cheung) hires a “Mainland” girlfriend to bring home to his parents for Lunar New Year.  He’s been telling his parents that he’s been away “on business” in the Mainland for the past three years but, in actually, he’s been rotting in jail after being framed by a former friend for a crime he did not commit.

Vicki Zhao misses her own family back in China so she feels kind of sad to see this sham of a Lunar New Year gathering.  Nick Cheung feels the emptiness as well.  After the dinner, Vicki Zhao tells Nick Cheung to be straight with his parents, she points out that they may be more understanding than Nick Cheung thinks.  This story ends with Nick Cheung coming clean and truly reconciling with his family.

* * * * *

I think that’s enough plot for a 90 to 120 minute movie.  What do you think?  Even with stiff competition from 72 TENANTS OF PROSPERITY and ALL’S WELL THAT END’S WELL 2010,  this makes HK$10 million - no?

Now, as the late-Michael Jackson said repeatedly in THIS IS IT, I wrote this story out of “love” for the readers who have been reading my nonsense over the years.  As I said earlier, it was my “red packet”/valentine to the readers.  It’ll be upsetting if some knock off, possibly called LOVE FOR RENT, pops up in the Lunar New Year 2011 movie slate.  It’ll be especially upsetting if the knock off includes stories about a shy guy, a widower, a jealous husband, an obnoxious tycoon, assistants and an ex-con.  Not only will it upset me, it’ll upset the mighty KEG, the Feinstein Company and the China Pajama-Producers Co-operative.  Most people know better than to upset the CPC - especially in China. ;-)

To avoid all the nastiness, get in touch with me.  My demands may be as simple as a cameo role as one of the business guys at a Donnie Yen business meeting or the barista who hands Stephy Tang her latte at Starbucks.

All right … time for the traditional House Where Words Gather Lunar New Year greeting.  As you can tell from years past (Ox, Rat), my wishes for all of you are less grandiose than unimaginable wealth.  Sticking with that tradition, I’m going to channel Dan Rather and Al Pacino by wishing you:

Greeting for the Year of the Tiger

I’m hoping that the Year of the Tiger gives you courage to make improvements in your life.  May you find the courage to inch your way towards greater happiness be it finding the guts to ask that cute girl out, the courage to find a better job or the cojones to change an unhappy circumstance in your life.

And, as always, 身體健康!  Happy Year of the Tiger!

Production News: June 26th, 2009

News on a couple of major productions that were announced this week:

Lau Ching-Wan and Louis KooOn June 23rd, China Star held an opening lens ceremony for their new project POKER KING (撲克王). The film stars Lau Ching-Wan as a gambling mogul and Louis Koo Tin-Lok as a gambling master. Stephy Tang Lai-Yan will play Louis Koo’s love interest.  Also appearing in the movie are: Cherrie Ying Choi-Yi, Josie Ho Chiu-Yi, the lovely Jo Koo (Kuk Tso-Lam), Wong You-Nam and newcomer Jacky Heung — the son of China Star head Charles Heung Wah-Keung. The duo behind last year’s LA LINGERIE, Chan Hing-Kai and Janet Chun Siu-Jan, will be behind POKER KING.

During the press conference, Lau Ching-Wan revealed that he is not much of a gambler in real-life as his gambling is limited to playing mahjong with friends and relatives during Lunar New Year and the occassional purchase of a lottery ticket.

As for Louis Koo, reporters seemed to be more interested in rumours that he was about to buy a HK$150 million luxury flat in Repulse Bay than anything related to POKER KING.  Koo admitted that he has looked at property in the area but that since it is a family matter, he does not want to comment further on the issue.  Back on the subject of the film, Koo has been preparing for his role as a gambling master by practicing card tricks for hours on end. He has practiced so much, his fingers have started to feel numb.

Stephy Tang, who plays Louis Koo’s love interest in POKER KING, revealed that she has no “heavy romance” scenes with the Tanned One but she is nevertheless feeling very nervous because she has never worked opposite actors of the calibre of Lau Ching-Wan and Louis Koo.  While her character in the movie is a gambling addict, she finds gambling distasteful and would not want a boyfriend who likes to gamble.  Asked what else would take a guy out of the running to be her girlfriend, Tang replied: “I don’t want a boyfriend who is obssesed with video games because I’ve no interest in that.  I’d really hate it if my boyfriend made me play video games with him.  He’d have to make a compromise.”

Quick Notes and Thoughts:

  • Looks like it’ll be an amusing movie.  I’ll see anything with Jo Koo in it.
  • It does feel like a step up for Stephy Tang.
  • Jacky Heung … Boy, I don’t know … Then again, the bar will be set pretty low.
  • This will be Cherrie Ying’s second HK movie of 2009.  The first was the little seen KUNG FU CHEF with Vanness Wu and Sammo Hung.  This one will be higher profile.  After her run as a minor “It Girl” earlier this decade, she’s been working mostly in the Mainland.

Related Links:

Aaron Kwok and Shu QiOn June 24th, an opening lens ceremony was held at the Yuen Long district’s Clarence Film Studio for the Universe - Enlight Pictures co-production CITY UNDER SEIGE (全城戒備).  Directed by Benny Chan Muk-Sing (CONNECTED), the actioner stars Aaron Kwok Fu-Sing, Shu Qi, Collin Chou, Zhang Jingchu and Jacky Wu Jing.  With a budget in excess of HK$100 million, the movie will be heavy on special effects and spend more than one year in post-production.  Producers hope to have it ready in time for a National Day 2010 holiday release.  Billed as “China’s answer to X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE“, the film tells the story of circus performers played by Kwok and Chou who develop super-strength after accidentally inhaling a gas.  Shu Qi plays a reporter.

Although a descendant of Lee Chum-Foon, the hero in Gu Long’s Little Lee Flying Dagger book series, Aaron Kwok’s character is an unremarkable, low-lever circus clown/knife thrower. Admitting that while playing a “down in the dumps” character will be a challenge, Aaron Kwok anticipates that working in front of blue screens will ultimately be the bigger challenge.

Reporters spent most of their time with Shu Qi asking about her love life but when talk centered around the film, the leading lady revealed that she was going to request that she be allowed to do her lines in Mandarin because she felt her Cantonese was rusty.  Unfortunately, when it came time for shooting, she was asked to do her lines in Cantonese.  When the subject turned to how many action scenes Shu Qi has in the movie, co-star Kwok joked: “She has many ‘mind versus heart’ action scenes”.

CITY UNDER SEIGE is the first collaboration between Shu Qu and Aaron Kwok since STORM RIDERS in 1999. Asked for thoughts on the issue, Kwok replied: “I hope that the roots we laid down ten years ago will bear fruit for this project.”

Collin Chou plays a circus troupe leader in the film.  His character and Aaron Kwok’s character start off as “hing-dai” (兄弟) but end up as bitter rivals when the gas not only gives Chou’s character super-strength, it turns him into a villain.  Commenting on his participation in the film, Chou revealed that, so far, it is the most satisfying filmmaking experience of his 25-year career because director Benny Chan has given him a lot of creative space and allowed him much input into the development of his character.

As she plays a cop in the movie, Zhang Jingchu was ready to engage in heavy training for action scenes.  However, preparation time for the film was limited so she will be a “projectile weapons expert” and her action scenes will be done predominantly in front of a blue screen.

Shooting for most of CITY UNDER SEIGE should be completed this summer but, because of the long post-production process, shooting may continue until next April.

Quick Thought:

  • Sounds like it will be good but I fear that there’s also great potential for sucky, bloated mess — especially with the heavy reliance on special effects.

Related Links:

BECAUSE I’M NOT ON TWITTER:

Rest in Peace: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and, shockingly, Michael Jackson …

Accuse me of having the mindset of an old Italian woman if you must but these things really do come in threes …

Setting aside, for the moment, the legacy of the self-proclaimed King of Pop, an interesting study of new media versus old media is emerging.  TMZ.com, of all places, was the first to break the story yet no one in the traditional media is giving them props for the scoop.  Conversely, if the TMZ report had turned out to be false, I’m 100% sure that the traditional media would be lining up around the block to slag TMZ and dismiss it as a “blog” or a “celebrity entertainment website”.

To many, Michael Jackson is going to be remembered as “the King of Pop”.  Others will remember him as a “freak” or an “alleged pedophile”.  I think my mental epithet for him will be “tragic figure”.  The guy had all the talent in the world yet suffered through a messed up childhood and an even more messed up adulthood.  This is tragedy on a Shakespearean level.  It rivals that of Othello, Macbeth, King Lear and Hamlet.

Favourite Michael Jackson songs: “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”, “Rock With You”, “Smooth Criminal” and “The Way You Make Me Feel”.  To be honest, I don’t think the songs from THRILLER have aged that well.  It could be that I hang out with a bunch of creeps and degenerates but no one I know thinks, anymore, that “Beat It” is a cool song.  Whenever the subject of the song comes up in mixed company, someone inevitably cracks a masturbation joke.

Favourite Michael Jackson video (YouTube link):  It’s actually not one by Michael Jackson but a spoof video about Michael Jackson from the folks who used to do IN LIVING COLOR.   Before today, I hadn’t seen it in sixteen, seventeen years but the first line of the second chorus still cracks me up.

“Yeah but how does this affect ME?”: Feeling incredibly old today.  Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson were icons from my youth — especially Farrah and Micheal Jackson.  THRILLER was the first album I bought with “my own money” and I believe, at one point, I owned Farrah Fawcett’s famous poster.  (It was either the Farrah poster or the Loni Anderson poster.  Maybe I had both?)  Anyway, nothing makes you feel older than hearing news that an icon from your youth has passed.

Farrah Fawcett poster     Loni Anderson poster

Laugh at me now young ones but — hopefully not until many, many years later — you’ll be feeling aged when the Jackie Chans and Sammo Hungs of the world depart to join Bruce Lee, Shih Kien and Kwan Tak-Hing up in the sky for the greatest martial arts cast ever assembled.

Image credits: Sohu.com (Louis Koo, Lau Ching-Wan), Sina.com (Aaron Kwok, Shu Qi), Life Magazine (Farrah Fawcett)

 
 
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