I interviewed several movie stars but I was really impressed by the cool
attitude of Tony Leung. His kindness and modesty are really touching and I would have loved to spend more time to talk to him but he was very busy of course, he's really liked in France where In the mood for love was a hit. Here is the translation of our interview:
Q: I've heard you haven't read the 2046 script before agreeing.
A: Indeed but there wasn't any script! Wong Kar-Wai told us vaguely what he wanted to do before the project went further but nothing more, just the minimum. At the begining I should have been a postman in the futuristic part of the movie, part I've played a few scenes in. A couple of years after the shooting started, Wong changed his mind and decided I would be someone else. The first day of the second part of the shooting, Wong came to me and said he wanted me to play again the character I was in In the mood for love, but differently !
Q: What did he mean ?
A: He was thinking of a kind of Bukowski character, quite dark and trustful
because he's an experimented guy. Not really the Mr. Chow I was in In the mood for love !
Q: Do you get the idea of where you're going through to work with Wong
A: I don't even know why he wanted this change and how it went to his
mind but anyway, it's a great challenge for an actor. You know the character but you can't show it. The hardest is : you don't even know what the movie is about ! You've given the scene of the day to read just when you arrive on the set...
Q: Is Wong Kar-Wai very directive ?
A: I'm still very free and I can experiment different ways. Then Wong keeps what he wants in the editing room. That's how he works. There are many shoots because he loves shooting from different angles. For instance, in the kissing scene with Gong Li, we had to repeat it thirty times ! So she had to cry thirty times !! It's exhausting for actors because Wong wants more than what you're supposed to give.
Q: How do you approach the erotic scenes ?
A: I really trust Wong and I know he has good reasons to do them so it's very professional and it doesn't bother me at all. The most important thing is to communicate with your partner and I think the director has to be a mediator because there are limits not to cross, especially if he asks you to do it again and again : you feel more and more comfortable ! (laughs)
Q: Long time you haven't been in a comedy !
A: I'd like to play in one very quickly to balance. When you're doing a comedy you can easily be happy every day on the set. That was not so easy on 2046 because I think the story is very sad. Mr. Chow is not a happy man, he's very lonely and you become a bit like that esspecially if you're with the character for five years ! I'll make a comedy very soon in Korea. Jingle Ma will be the director.
Q: Are you still in touch with John Woo ?
A: When he goes back to Hong Kong, we sometimes have diner together but not that often because most of the time he's in America. John is successful over there and that's what he wanted. When we've done movies together, he often complained he didn't have enough money to realise such or such idea. Today he's not really in that situation anymore. I'm really happy for him because he's a very sweet guy.
Q: Could you make another movie together ?
A: It depends on the script. I'm not attracted by Hollywood and the choice of
characters for Asian comedians is very limited. My choice is much bigger in Asia.
Q: So you're not jealous of Jet Li or Chow Yun fat ?
A: The place where you're working is not the most important thing indeed. I choose to make a movie because of the script or because I know I'll be surrounded by talented and nice people. Asia is not too small for me, I've got enough space to make a good few movies ! The only reasons to go to Hollywood would be money or fame and I'm not interested in it.