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Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
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Archive for the ‘Gillian Chung Yan-Tung’ Category

News Links: April Fool’s Day 2009

Happy April Fool’s Day!  Alas, there won’t be an April Fool’s Day joke from me today.  I was thinking of doing a fake story on EEG and Sexy Photos Gate.  Something like this …

EEG announces co-operation with Japanese porn studio.  First releases to be:

EEG-001: Former Teen Idol’s Scandalous AV Debut starring Gillian Chung

EEG-002: Sexy Accidental Public Exposure Tsimshatsui Edition starring Yumiko Cheng

… but you’re probably all tired of Sexy Photos Gate so I figured that I should devote my time and energy elsewhere.

Speaking of time and energy …

From the comments on News Links: March 27th, 2009

Sara Lee writes: You said that you didn’t have the time or inclination to chase down other sources for confirmation about the Gigi Leung story. I’m curious, what would you have done if you had the time and the inclination? Do you have connections of some sort?

First, I would have asked to speak to the fired flight attendant directly to ascertain the facts (date, names, flight number, etc.).  I would also ask for a copy of the photo.  Then, I would have put together a story then contacted Cathay Pacific and Gigi Leung’s management for a reaction.  After that, I would write a final version of the story and publish it.

MANI SPEAKS:

Xinhua ran an interview today with EEG’s Mani Fok Man-Hei. Known as the “Mother of Emperor”, she has managed the likes of Nic Tse, Joey Yung, Isabella Leong, Twins and Yumiko Cheng over the course of her 16 years with EEG. Excerpts from the interview:

On the inspiration for Twins:

“I have a twin sister. Our company signed Ah Gil first then we signed Ah Sa. I thought to myself: ‘why don’t we pair the two young girls together?’

In the beginning, we dressed them the same then we slowly began to dress them differently. The only thing that didn’t quite work was that their personalities were completely different. Ah Sa is a lively extrovert while Ah Gil in an introvert.”

On Gillian Chung:

“I treat my artistes like they were my own family. When they have problems, I treat them like my own. At the beginning, I told her that ‘he (Edison Chen) is not a person you should be involved with’. However, when a young person is in love, they don’t listen to anyone.”

“Ah Gil’s mistake was that she didn’t think of her bottom line. She should have remembered that she was a public figure. In the end, though, the person who made the biggest mistake was Edison Chen.”

On Gillian Chung’s comeback:

“In the past year, I’ve had Ah Gil study dancing, acting and gymnastics to prepare her for her comeback. The only thing we didn’t plan on was that Cecilia Cheung Pak-Chi would do her interview first. But, it doesn’t matter who was first and who was second.”

“Work is very hard for Ah Gil now because she’s been out for so long. She didn’t sleep much in the days before her comeback. I’ve been with her the whole time. It was very gratifying to see all the support she received at her events in the Mainland. Her attitude is to come back slowly. Besides, restoring her confidence she’s winning back her respect.”

On Isabella Leong:

“I’ve worked with more than 30 artistes and the only who’s walked away is Isabella Leong. Although she left, I feel that I’ve done right by her. When I was working as her manager, I feel that I did the job to the best of my ability.”

RETIRED ACTRESSES NEWS:

The latest edition of East Weekly suggests that retired actress Cherie Chung Chor-Hung is experiencing some financial difficulty and that a comeback to the entertainment circle is imminent.

Yammie Nam seen panhandling

Former TVB leading lady Yammie Nam Kit-Ying was spotted outside of a Shau Kei Wan Circle K convenience store on Monday morning. She was smoking and asking passersby for money. Nam, a popular actress for TVB in the 1980s and early-1990s, has a history of mental illness. 

SHINJUKU INCIDENT:

Derek Yee Tung-Sing: In the yakuza’s grip

Saving the world is still on Jackie Chan’s agenda

Not just any Hollywood role for Daniel Wu & Jackie Chan

Jackie Chan pitches his ‘different’ side in new movie

REPRINT: The Mirror’s (UK) review of SHINJUKU INCIDENT

IN PRODUCTION:

Hong Kong-Mainland producers announce “5510 Big Movie Plan”

Related Photo Gallery: Lee Lik-Chi, Li Bingbing, Zhou Xun among those who attended event

Photos from the IP MAN 2 press conference in Shanghai

A press conference was held yesterday in Shanghai formally announcing the production of IP MAN 2. Wilson Yip Wai-Shun returns as director while Sammo Hung Kam-Bo will, once again, handle the action. Donnie Yen, Xiong Dai-Lin, Fan Siu-Wong and Gordon Lam Ka-Tong will all reprise their characters. The sequel is set in late-1940s Hong Kong so the Bruce Lee character will not be appearing. 

John Woo’s Titanic runs aground

Production Stills: TREASURE HUNTER

Taiwanese stars Jay Chou and Lin Chi-Ling began work last week on their new film TREASURE HUNTER.  The time travel romantic/action/comedy is being directed by Chu Yen-Peng (KUNG FU DUNK) and co-stars Eric Tsang Chi-Wai.  Producers hope to have the film ready for the Christmas 2009 holiday movie season.

Confirmed: Chow Yun-fat plays Confucius

Related Photos: Chow Yun-Fat, Zhou Xun attend opening lens ceremony for their Confucius biopic at a Confucian temple in Beijing

Stranglehold Movie Apparently Won’t Star Chow Yun-Fat

‘Karate Kid’ redo retitled ‘Kung Fu Kid’

GENERAL NEWS:

Fans Pay Tribute to Leslie Cheung on Sixth Death Anniversary

Jackie Chan, Stephen Chow named Asia’s best selling actors & directors

Jackie Chan to sing in bird nest

Jet Li, Zhang Yimou Named “Chinese of World Influence”

Daniel Wu willing to sacrifice privacy for movies

Miriam Yeung: Miriam’s girl-next-door charm

Tang Wei: “Lust Caution” is history

ASHES OF TIME REDUX: Lovers and Fighters

HK pop star Kelvin Kwan released from police custody

Stefanie Sun’s new boyfriend exposed!

Rain confident of winning appeal 

SEXY PHOTOS GATE:

Eason Chan: Edison Chen missing Hong Kong badly

HKIFF: Edison Chen sex scandal sure to make Sniper a hit

Edison Chen ‘tests water’ with role as sex pervert

MOVIE REVIEWS:

Variety reviews Ann Hui’s latest NIGHT AND FOG (Simon Yam, Zhang Jingchu)

Variety review of Feng Xiaogang’s IF YOU ARE THE ONE (Ge You, Shu Qi)

California Chronicle reviews Oxide Pang’s BASIC LOVE

FEATURES:

Chow Yun-Fat Talks Dragonball Evolution

Chow Yun-Fat: DRAGONBALL’s Dirty Old Sifu

Jolin Tsai: Jolin talks about scandal and Mr Right

Super Band: ‘It’s really not about money’

PHOTO GALLERYS:

ASHES OF TIME REDUX event in Hong Kong

Director Alan Mak Siu-Fai marries

This past weekend, director Alan Mak Siu-Fai (INFERNAL AFFAIRS, LADY COP AND PAPA CROOK) married his longtime girlfriend Chung Wai-Tak. Reportedly, Mak met Chung, eleven years his junior, at an event five years ago. To celebrate the nuptials, a 20-table banquet was held at the Aberdeen Marina Club. Among the attendees were Andrew Lau Wai-Keung, Shawn Yue Man-Lok, Michelle Ye and Jade Kwan Sum-Yin. 

Wong Jing and his latest “Jing Girl” Natalie Yao Meng

Following in a line that includes Chingmy Yau Suk-Ching and Kelly Lin, Natalie Yao Meng is Wong Jing’s latest “Jing Girl”.  Wong spotted Yao in Mainland director Huang Jianzhong’s SILVER ORNAMENTS and imported her to Hong Kong where she can now be admired in such films as THE VAMPIRE WHO ADMIRES ME and BEAUTY AND THE 7 BEASTS.  Yao can next be seen alongside Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, my other cousin Tony, Eason Chan, Alex Fong Lik-Sun, Kate Tsui and Wong Jing himself in I CORRUPT COPS.  The film opens in Hong Kong on April 23rd.

Shu Qi, Aloys Chen and Sylvia Chang shoot ad for Cartier

Related: Shu Qi, Syliva Chan promote Cartier

Cecilia Cheung shoots ad for a bedding company in Guangzhou

Michelle Reis Poses for Marie Claire

Tang Wei poses for Chinese edition of Vogue

Ada Choi Siu-Fan and hubby attend event promoting Moiselle

Promotional stills from the upcoming Mainland film WHEAT (Fan Bingbing, Wang Xueqi)

Jane Zhang debuts in Japan

A-Mei Chang performs in Taipei

News Links: March 27th, 2009

FROM THE NOTEBOOK:

Before we get to today’s links, I want to clear a few items off of the little notebook I keep to remind me of things that I want to mention on this blog.

Item #1: About this article: Stephen Chow target of criticisms once again

Robert Morse as Bert CooperIn the words of MAN MEN’s Bert Cooper, “who cares?”  So Stephen Chow can be a bastard in the workplace … who cares?  Isn’t this par for the course for some successful people?  The notion that some successful people are high strung and very demanding shouldn’t be a shocking revelation.  It’s not like Stephen Chow puts out this image that he’s a great, easy-going guy who’s kind and benevolent to his workers. If he did that and then this talk came out then it’s a different story but this is just “well, he can be hard to work for”.

Moreover, it’s not like he goes out of his way to destroy the careers of those who have crossed him.  My memory may be faulty but didn’t he let Cecilia Cheung out of her contract early so she could make millions while the fire was hot after her debut in KING OF COMEDY?  If he was the vindictive type, Eva Huang Shengyi would have had her career crushed.  She wouldn’t be getting more face time in the new RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (a reported 45 seconds) than ol’ EDC in THE DARK KNIGHT?

Besides, it’s impossible for anyone to be 100% nice, 100% of the time.  I’m sure that somewhere out there, someone has something bad to say about even the most pious of men like Pope Benedict or the Dalai Lama.  This reminds me of an e-mail that I got a few years back when I ran my old site.  I think it was around 2003 or 2004.  Someone claiming to be a Cathay Pacific flight attendant e-mailed me to complain about Gigi Leung Wing-Kei.

Gigi Leung Wing-KeiApparently, she and one of her co-workers were working a flight on which Gigi Leung was a passenger.   Her co-worker was a Gigi Leung fan so she asked Leung for an autograph and a picture.   Gigi Leung happily posed for a photo then gave her address to the flight attendant because she wanted a copy of the photo.   About a month later, Cathay fired the flight attendant because, allegedly, Gigi Leung complained to the airline that she was bothered during the flight and offered the photo as evidence.   The e-mailer thought that this was a stone cold move by Gigi Leung so she wanted me to run the story on my site and expose Gigi Leung’s hard-hearted nature.   As I didn’t have the time or the inclination to chase down other sources for confirmation, I didn’t publish the story.

Manny Kok, my manager here at the Kozo Entertainment Group, is screaming at me right now.  He’s yelling: “DISCLAIMER! DISCLAIMER! YOU HAVE TO PUT IN A STRONG DISCLAIMER!” So, let me be perfectly clear, the above story is unsubstantiated hearsay.   I only told it to illustrate my point that every celebrity, every person of note probably has a negative story about them floating around somewhere.  I am, in no fashion, trying to impugn the character of Gigi Leung Wing-Kei.  She is, after all, a member of the Leung clan — a clan to which I myself belong.

You know, I wish the story was different. I wish I could have said: “This one time, I got an e-mail from a Cathay Pacific flight attendant and she said she was a fan of my site. She said she and one of her co-workers wanted to get together and take some colourful photos that I can store on my hard drive.”

Item #2: Edison Chen: Paragon of Filial Piety

Earlier this week, 52 year-old Chen Chak-Man (陳澤民)– the father of disgraced HK celebrity Edison Chen — filed for bankruptcy.  The economic downturn has left him with a rumoured HK$1 billion in debt.  Chen, however, insists that it is only HK$20 million.

What does this have to do with the entertainment circle?  Well, Ming Pao reported that Edison Chen has been helping his father out financially even though his income was greatly reduced due to Sexy Photos Gate.  Also, this quote from Chen the Elder appeared on Apple Action News.com: “If my son is able, he will be looking after my expenses in the future.”

Now, a cynical person would say that this is just another attempt to rehabilitate Edison Chen’s public image but … OK, I’m a cynical person, I think this belongs in the same file as the “Edison is now a Christian who prays every day” stories that were floating around last year.

More EDC foolishness:  A report surfaced on Tuesday night alleging that, upon hearing news of his father’s bankruptcy, Edison Chen committed suicide by flinging himself off a building in Beijing. Obviously, the report was false.

Still more Edison Chen news, SNIPER had its gala premiere in Hong Kong this week without EDC in attendance.  Also, the film is apparently going to be banned in Mainland China.

Item #3: Gillian Chung in W.

Oliver Stone was in Hong Kong this week for the Hong Kong International Film Festival.  During an event for his latest film W., he talked about how he financed it mostly through Hong Kong sources.  He also praised Gillian Chung as a “capable actress” but lamented that her scene (a belly dancing scene for Saddam Hussein) had to go because of time.

The regular DVD edition of W. does not have deleted scenes but the Blu-Ray DVD version contains six deleted scenes.  Fans of Ah Gil may want to check that out if they want to see her “Hollywood breakthrough”.  Previously on this blog, I shared some thoughts on the film.

Item #4: About this article: Joey Yung has no love for Edison Chen; only resentments

Thanks to my battle with the Big C, there’s an 18-month long gap in my entertainment circle database.  As a result, I missed Joey Yung’s ascension to the “Queen of Pop” title.  Is it my imagination or is Joey Yung feeling her oats?  She seems more assertive and opinionated these days.  I don’t recall her being this outspoken in the past.

On to the links:

TOP STORIES:

Variety reviews SHINJUKU INCIDENT

Q&A: Tsui Hark

IN PRODUCTION:

Sequels in the works for PAINTED SKIN and IP MAN

Raintree, Wayne Wang prepare Singapore historical thriller

Juliette Binoche plans film with Chinese director

Door opens for Tibet film from Dai Wei

GENERAL NEWS:

Faye Wong makes return with S$4million advertisement

China takes on Hollywood in box office battle

HAF lauds Charlie Yeung for financial acumen

Tony Blair and Jet Li sign cooperation plan on climate

Taipei Times Pop Stop: Zhang Ziyi, more

False pregnancy? Andy Lau cancels wedding

Sonija Kwok Sin-Lei: She saves maid’s life but ends up bitten

“China’s Oprah” signs for Hollywood representation

MC HotDog: No hard feelings between Jolin & me

MOVIE REVIEWS:

Variety review of DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION

Malaysia Star review of Oxide Pang’s LOVE TRIANGLE

FEATURES:

Leon Lai, Zhang Ziyi’s ‘Paper Handcuff Fame’

- RELATED: Zhang Ziyi and Leon Lai promote FOREVER ENTHRALLED in South Korea

Q&A with Lu Chuan the director of NANKING! NANKING!

Eileen Chang: A great 20th century writer, as depicted in movies spanning 60 years

PHOTO GALLERYS:

‘Ashes of Time Redux’ Premieres in Beijing

Hong Kong International Film Festival kicks off

Kelly Chen at the Hong Kong premiere of MONSTERS AND ALIENS

Gigi Leung celebrates her birthday by promoting her new album (Fans from HK, China and Korea gathered at an event where Leung celebrated her birthday and promoted her new album.  Asked what her birthday wish was, Leung replied: “Good health and strong record sales.”)

Irene Wan Bik-Ha at a promotional event for a spa

Lin Chi-Ling promotes Armani in Shanghai

Tang Wei promotes Armani in Changsha

* * * * *

Rest in peace, Dan Seals.  It’d been more than twenty years since I heard “Bop” but, upon the news of Dan Seals’ passing yesterday, I heard the song on the radio twice.  It immediately made me flashback to the ol’ school gym and boppin’ like mad to the song with Tracy Vogel.  For a moment, it was a night like it used to be, when our hearts were young and our souls were free.

Image credits: AMC (Bert Cooper), Sina.com (Gigi Leung)

News Links: March 20th, 2009

GILLIAN CHUNG WATCH:

- Gillian Chung Yan-Tung continued her comeback this week with promotional events in Taiwan and Beijing.

- A report in today’s edition of Guangzhou Daily claimed that a Mainland car company has canceled a promotional event in Chengdu which was supposed to feature an appearance by Chung.   According to the article, reaction to Chung’s “Be Tough” ad campaign has not been favourable so she is no longer wanted as a pitchperson.  However, a spokesperson for the car company told Guangzhou Daily that the event was canceled because their new car line is not ready to be introduced.

- Reports also surfaced this week that Ah Gil is being offered a role in a Mainland television series based on the Jackie Chan movie THE MYTH.

- Finally, let the derisive jokes begin, there were reports that EEG is preparing a Hong Kong movie version of SEX AND THE CITY starring EEG properties Joey Yung Tso-Yi, Yumiko Cheng Hei-Yi, Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin and … {drum roll} … Gillian Chung Yan-Tung.  As my SEX AND THE CITY viewing was limited to only the opening credits, I don’t know enough about it to make jokes but — based on discussion board reaction to this news — I know enough about the HK entertainment circle to know that this project may do more harm than good to Gillian Chung’s career.

IN PRODUCTION:

Peter Chan Ho-Sun: Star-Studded ‘Dark October’

GENERAL NEWS:

Taipei Times Pop Stop: Edison Chen, Taiwanese entertainment circle news

Rain ordered to pay concert promoter US$8m in damages

Yao Ming, Zhang Ziyi top Forbes Chinese celebs list: Channel News Asia articleCRIENGLISH.com article #1CRIENGLISH.com article #2

Nine hottest Chinese women, courtesy of Complex magazine

“Red River” Takes Transnational Love Story to Screen

Mainland Actors to Be Allowed in in Taiwan TV Series

Zhang Yimou Launches Live Show on Tropical Island

MOVIE REVIEWS:

Variety reviews THE UNDERDOG KNIGHT (Liu Ye, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Ellen Chan)

DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION: Evolution is no solution, What happen, Chow?

FEATURES:

Joey Yung: ‘You’re not pretty enough’

Michelle Yeoh: Wall Street Journal Interview Excerpts

Zhang Yimou: Famous Chinese Film Director Says He’s an Artist, Not a Politician

PHOTO GALLERYS:

On the set with Yvonne Yung Hung: After giving birth to a child in 2007, Yvonne Yung Hung makes a comeback with a role in the Mainland television series 孫子大傳 (trans. THE GRAND LEGEND OF SUN TZU).  Although she believes that being a mother is still her primary job, Yung feels that the baby is old enough now for her to take some work outside of the home.  Zhang Fengyi (Cao Cao in RED CLIFF) stars in the series as Sun Tzu.

Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin: Sunny Charlene

Shu Qi the Spokes-Beauty

KOREAN ENTERTAINMENT NEWS:

Jang Ja Yung suicide: Korean actress Jang Ja Yun found dead in home, Letter claims late actress was forced to have sex, Calls Growing for Overhaul of Showbiz ‘Slave Contracts

Korean entertainment falls outside of the purview of this blog but if this kind of thing happens in the South Korean entertainment circle — often considered more “pure and innocent” than other Asian entertainment industries — then you have to wonder what kind of shenanigans go on in Hong Kong.

News Links: Ides of March 2009

Before we get to the links, some observations about the online response to “Gillian Week” as Gillian Chung Yan-Tung returned to the Gillian Chung at an event earlier this week for a clothing companyentertainment circle with an in-depth TVB interview, a press conference, a publicity event and a promotional trip to Taiwan all in the past week.

Based on monitoring the chatter on discussion boards, I would say that about 1/3 of the people are fully supportive of Gillian Chung, 1/3 still view her with scorn and derision and 1/3 are sympathetic but mostly indifferent.  This last group feels bad for Chung and her plight but I don’t think they would go out of their way to support her by buying her products or seeing her films.  I think the key for Ah Gil will be to see how much of this last group she can win over.  It’s too early to say right now if her comeback will be successful but I think it’s safe to say that she won’t be as profitable for EEG as she was prior to the fateful days of January 2008.

One thing is for sure, EEG and EEG-friendly media outlets are trying their hardest to sell the idea that Ah Gil is back and that the public is behind her.  Oriental Daily News ran some transparently biased reports this week suggesting that the crowd at Chung’s publicity event for a clothing store was fully supportive (other media outlets reported that some people were shouting insults) and that Chung had overwhelming support on the Internet even though it’s clear that she doesn’t.

As for the online reaction to her TVB interview, I would say that 30% of the people had a positive response to it while 70% viewed it negatively.  I believe the negative reaction stems from the credibility problems Chung and EEG have after the over-reaction to the EasyFinder photos in 2006, the initial “it’s fake! it’s fake!” response to the first Sexy Photos Gate images and the infamous “naive and stupid” press conference.

The main issue the detractors of the interview had was that it seemed like a staged piece of theatre in support of Gillian Chung’s comeback.  Some noted that while Cecilia Cheung’s interview felt like a free-flowing conversation held in a normal TV studio, parts of Chung’s interview felt like it was scripted by EEG media handlers.  From criticism that the interview was held at EEG boss Albert Yeung’s home (which included the usual snark about Yeung’s relationship with EEG starlets) to allegations that Chung threw Edison Chen under the bus because she saw that Cecilia Cheung received a positive response from doing it, many felt that Gillian Chung was still being fake and disingenuous.  It did not help that there was talk that Chung’s manager, Mani Fok, interfered during the interview by cutting in and limiting discussion of topics such as Chung’s rumoured relationship with Juno Mak Jun-Lung.  (Fok admitted later in the week that she was “acting like a lawyer” during the interview).

Many felt that Gillian Chung didn’t directly answer Stephen Chan’s questions as a hotly debated topic was Chung’s response to a question about her reaction to the EasyFinder scandal.  When Chan hinted that her reaction to the changing room photos may have been overplayed, Chung answered that her response was appropriate because she felt like she had been “raped” and that there was a big difference between consenting to have your picture taken and having your picture taken without your knowledge.  While some felt the answer was sufficient, most felt that Chung dodged the real question.  I think the majority view is best summed up by “Kiwi Pika”, a poster on a Chinese-language discussion board.  My translation of the post:

She didn’t answer the question about the changing room photos properly at all. Saying that it felt like “rape” is an insult to women who have been raped. Please, it’s so far from the same thing! We didn’t see anything! All we saw was a little bit of shoulder. All that crying was really over the top. I think the natural reaction would have been anger. Anyone in a similar situation would feel angry but I don’t think they would feel victimized. The pictures didn’t show anything! She or, more likely, her management decided to take the opportunity to make money from it by milking it for all the sympathy she could get. I find it hard to feel sorry for her because all of this is just karma for making a mountain out of a molehill.

I’ll be back later this week with my thoughts on this whole brouhaha.  Until then, enjoy these links:

SEXY PHOTOS GATE:

The Observer on Sexy Photos Gate

Gillian Chung’s secret romance

Gillian Chung’s press conference: Gillian Chung makes high profile comeback, Gillian the toughie

Gillian Chung goes to Taiwan for promotional event

Gillian Chung admits Juno as boyfriend

Edison Chen gets death threat: Stamps with ’sinister’ meaning QING MING DEADLINEEdison laughs off death threats, Edison Chen receives death threatening letter, Bullet death threat aimed at ChenLetter threatens harm to Chinese-Canadian star involved in racy photos scandal, Edison gets threats

Edison Chen vows: “I’ll come to Singapore again”

Nic Tse pledges undying love for Cecilia Cheung

Cecilia Cheung expecting her second child

Joey Yung expresses full support for Gillian Chung

Summary: A Seemingly Endless Scandal

IN PRODUCTION:

Jackie Chan starts shooting historical epic

Villagers disrupt ‘Mulan’ shoot

Chow Yun-fat to star in Dadi Century’s Confucius biopic

John Woo to make “Titanic of the East”: CRIENGLISH.com article, AFP article

John Woo eyes film on Hard-Boiled game

GENERAL NEWS:

“Dragonball” Premieres in Tokyo

Will Rain be able to save his Hollywood career?

Jackie Chan cheated of HK$3 million over car deal

Kelvin Kwan, Jill Vidal: Pop pair face more time behind bars

Taipei Times Pop Stop: Edison Chen, more

Hollywood-Asia marriage matures

Zhang Yimou: Insider story of the Beijing Olympic

San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival: 10 Glorious Days of Asian American Film

Hong Kong’s Celestial strikes Canadian licensing deal

FEATURES:

Chow Yun-Fat: Chow on this!

Heroic pairs in Dragonball: Evolution

F4’s Vanness Wu: Anything for Ang Lee

Jaycee Chan smitten by Bollywood

Rainie Yang: I’m a tomboy around guys

Edmond Chen: Hollywood can be a pain

Chen Kaige: Capturing the best and worst of times

Chen Kaige wants to make Cultural Revolution film

FILM REVIEWS:

Variety reviews DESIRES OF THE HEART (Ge You, Vivian Wu, Fan Bingbing)

CRIENGLISH.COM FILM PREVIEWS:

Ann Hui’s NIGHT AND FOG (Simon Yam, Zhang Jingchu)

THE SHINJUKU INCIDENT (Jackie Chan, Daniel Wu)

PHOTO GALLERYS:

Gillian Chung’s “Be Tough” ad campaign

Vicki Zhao Wei in Elle Magazine China edition

On The Axis Of Global Film Financing

A scouting report on the Hong Kong entertainment circle content in the new Oliver Stone film W. for those of you who are interested but not interested enough to fight through the crowd going to HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3 then sit through an 131 minute biopic about George W. Bush.

W.
Official Site: http://www.wthefilm.com/
Director: Oliver Stone
Cast: Josh Brolin (George W. Bush), Elizabeth Banks (Laura Bush), James Cromwell (George H. W. Bush), Richard Dreyfuss (Dick Cheney), Thandie Newton (Condoleezza Rice), Jeffrey Wright (Colin Powell), Teresa Cheung Siu-Wai (Reporter/”Miss China”), Maria Chen Chai-Ping (Military Aide)

Synopsis (from the official site): Whether you love him or hate him, there is no question that George W. Bush is one of the most controversial public figures in recent memory. In an unprecedented undertaking, acclaimed director Oliver Stone is bringing the life of our 43rd President to the big screen as only he can. W. takes viewers through Bush’s eventful life — his struggles and triumphs, how he found both his wife and his faith, and of course the critical days leading up to Bush’s decision to invade Iraq.

Movie Poster for W.PRE-CONCEIVED NOTIONS: When I first heard about this film late last year, my inclination was to skip it.  I follow the news and, like Sarah Palin, I read all the papers so I’ve had my fill of George W. Bush and the American political scene with its 32-month long presidential election process.  But then, I read on Kenixfan’s blog, A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed, that Gillian Chung Yan-Tung had a small role in the film as an exotic dancer.  Now, I definitely had to see the movie.

After a little research, I learned that Gillian Chung wasn’t going to be the only HK personality in the movie.  Teresa Cheung (aka Teresa Chiang Siu-Wai, the former Mrs. Kenny Bee) has a small role as a reporter while Elena Kong Mei-Yi (江美儀) and Maria Chen (陳霽平 aka Maria Chan Chai-Ping) also, according to Chinese media reports, have bit parts.  Chung likely owed her part to the fact that Albert Yeung Sau-Sing’s Emperor Multimedia Group is one of the financial backers of W. and is credited with being one of its executive producers.  Likewise, Teresa Cheung, Kong and Chen probably have parts through their involvement with Global Entertainment Group — another of the film’s financial backers.

Armed with this information, bookmakers in the Republic of Sanneyistan set the over/under for “number of lines that Gillian Chung has in the movie” at 0.5.  I’m betting 50 Sanneyistan dollars on the under.  If a real bookmaker had that line, I have a feeling I’d make a killing on that bet.  What would I do with the winnings?  I’d head directly for Casey’s Sandwich and Ice Cream Emporium where I’d buy more of their delicious, but seasonal, pumpkin ice cream.  It’s really, really good but, alas, really, really expensive.  Honestly, I think it’d be cheaper to develop a crack cocaine habit.

1215107912.jpg

AFTER THE MOVIE: No more beating around the bush.  Let’s get directly to the only thing most of you care about: Gillian Chung’s role in the movie.  Just one problem, Gillian Chung’s part did not make the final theatrical cut so fans of Ah Gil will have to wait to see if she makes the extras on the DVD.  However, she did film scenes as an exotic dancer for the film.  In the first week of July, Chung did fly to Shreveport, Louisiana to shoot her part.  If you want photographic evidence, Twins fan Twins Evolution posted clippings from a July edition of a HK magazine showing Chung in her costume (left, click on picture for larger image).  He also posted a “stalkin’ the stars” photo essay of Chung and her EEG handler spending two hours at a Shreveport Wal-Mart.  Related photos:

The back of Gillian Chung’s costume

Gillian Chung in Shreveport with her handlers

Gillian Chung texting while in a Shreveport Wal-Mart

Gillian Chung shopping at Wal-Mart

Chung has yet to speak publicly about being left out of W. but Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Chung’s Twins bandmate turned media surrogate, downplayed the omission.  At a promotional event for Moov on October 15th, Choi responded to questions about Chung and W. by saying: “It doesn’t really matter because the most important thing is the valuable experience she got just from working on the movie.” ¹

As for the other HK personalities who had parts in the movie:

- Teresa Cheung (who doubled as an executive producer of the film): Has a couple of lines in an appearance as a reporter at a White House press conference towards the end of the movie.  Wanting to take her question but not knowing her name, Bush refers to Cheung’s character as “Miss China”.

- Maria Chen (aka Chan Chai-Ping, a contestant in the Miss HK 1995 Paegant won by Winnie Yeung Yuen-Yee): Appears as a military aide in a scene near the end of the film.  She has no lines as she stands behind Bush while he visits injured soldiers at a veterans’ hospital.

- Elena Kong Mei-Yi: Filmed a scene as an “Asian reporter” but, like Gillian Chung, did not make the theatrical cut.

ABOUT THE MOVIE: W. is an Oliver Stone film so, technically speaking, it’s very well made.  Even though the subject matter doesn’t lend itself to flashy filmmaking, there are, nonetheless, some very cool-looking shots and transitions.  The acting is first-rate but uneven.  Josh Brolin captures not only George W. Bush’s mannerisms but the force of his personality as well.  Buried under a wig and makeup, Thandie Newton is unrecognizable as she takes on a thankless role as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  On the other hand, James Cromwell and Scott Glenn make no attempt to mimic the real George H. W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld respectively.  Glenn’s Rumsfeld is especially disconcerting.  It’s hard to connect Glenn, who stands over six feet tall, to the diminutive 5′ 6″/5′ 7″ Rumsfeld familiar to everyone through years of news coverage.

Backed by the work of investigative reporters like Bob Woodward, James Risen, Ron Susskind and Jane Mayer among others², W. does not offer revisionist history like Stone’s previous presidential films JFK and Nixon.  Instead, it offers a mostly straightforward depiction of George W. Bush’s rise from legacy kid fratboy to the 43rd President of the United States.

The only questionable part of the portrayal is the film’s contention that the primary motivation behind Bush’s political decisions (be it running for political office or the invasion of Iraq) was to get approval from a cold and aloof father.  More time has to pass and more insight has to be gained before an argument like that can be made.  It’s one thing to show information gleaned about closed door meetings from tell-all books, it’s quite another to show supposition about what’s in a man’s mind and heart.  Perspective from the passage of time and insights from biographies have to emerge for the argument to become credible.  Otherwise, it’s just speculation.  Still, the “daddy issues” aspects of W. aren’t as preposterous as conjecture found in other historical dramas.  Take, for example, Borte going to a Tangut outpost to rescue Temudjin from slavery in MONGOL or Cao Cao going to war in RED CLIFF because he has the hots for Xiao Qiao.

Lin Chi-Ling as Xiao Qiao in RED CLIFF

Whether you’re for W. or against W. will depend largely on your interest in American politics, if you find the subject fascinating then there’s enough in W. to keep you engaged.  If you’re thawed towards American politics, this movie isn’t going to unthaw you.  You’d probably be better off spending your money on expensive but delicious artisan ice cream made with in-season ingredients.

¹ Sina.com article “蔡卓妍丟行李險淚灑機場 力挺鍾欣桐好萊塢新戲” from October 17th 2008

² Simon Houpt, “Walking in Dubya’s shoes” from The Globe and Mail, October 20th 2008

Image credits: Ixtlan Corporation (W. movie poster), Lion Rock Productions (Lin Chi-Ling)

 
 
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