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Forgive us for being overwhelmed, weíve just met a(nother) deity.  Arguably the most versatile of Hong Kong entertainmentís legendary Four Heavenly Kings; for over 30 years, Aaron Kwok has dominated the world of music and dance, and along the way became an award-winning actor.

  Kwok chatted with us before receiving the Star Asia award from the New York Asian Film Festival.

Dig it!

 

NYAFF 2015

Aaron Kwok

 

The Lady Miz Diva:  Congratulations on receiving the Star Asia award.  Does it surprise you how many international or non-Asian fans you have?

Aaron Kwok:  Actually, I donít know, I just concentrate on trying to do a good movie.  Itís my job, itís my work.  Itís very important to me.  I like art, especially films.  I like acting, I love acting.  Iím deeply passionate about wanting to be a good actor. {Laughs}

I think I have a lot of fans who love my acting, so that is why I have to work very hard.  Working very hard doesnít only mean to work hard in the movie, working very hard means that I want to do different movies that have different characters.  I donít want to be stuck playing the same role, the same face, the same feeling in every movie.  I think different movies have different characters and different presentations.

What is difficult for me is I only have one face, so how to present a different character?  So, that is why when I work with my director when shooting a movie, and I have a different style of acting, I talk with my director about how to make it more complicated.

 

LMD:  Please describe your character in Port of Call? How did you see his motivation?  Why is he was so friendly to the young man in the story despite the terrible things he did?

AK:  I think the character, he is a traditional kind of good guy, a very, very good policeman.  But on the other hand, maybe he is a little bit selfish; the selfishness is he wants to clarify not only why someone killed a woman, but why, what made him kill the woman?  Itís not only the motivation, itís also why he became a murderer?  He wants to know his background; when he grew up, if something happened to make his mind change to make him kill the woman?  

So I think a good cop is that kind of person, my character is like that kind of person; he has the same questions when he investigates different types of people.  So, I think this is a very interesting character for me, and also the different aspects of the character, the outfit, the look was very important for this character because I play someone who is in his 50s.  Heís an older cop, so physically and mentally itís not like a young man.  So I had to use a lot of imagination about how to play him.

It was very important that we had a full script before we shot.  Sometimes in movies, they change the style or the script while theyíre shooting, and on this film, I did want that, because when you do it like that, you can spoil the flow of the original script.  If you change, I think itís very difficult to go back because some scenes were already done and if you change it, you can mess it up.

 

LMD:  In Port of Call, I would think having the set script would be very important as the timeline jumps back and forth throughout the movie.  When youíre playing a character we see in the present day, then we see him 10 or more years ago, do you keep in mind the differences in the years as you are inhabiting this person?

AK:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  You have to be very detailed about what youíre shooting, very focused.  No matter what part youíre shooting, whether it jumps to another scene or another 10 years, I have to be very clear about what I did before no matter where it jumps, because the emotions follow the story.  The whole story is through my eyes, seeing the whole thing.  I investigate so many different witnesses; different witnesses give me different information that makes me change my mind, so with every different step, I have to change a little bit of the details.  It develops and develops and develops.  It is the challenge of this character, but I love the challenge.

 

LMD:  Well another challenge of the Port of Call character is his look, and you mentioned playing this cop who is well into his 50s.  You also have another film coming out soon where you have a lot of makeupÖ

AK:  Ah, yes, the Monkey King {2}.  Yeah, this is hard.  It is the hardest in my life.  Iíve never done a movie like that, it was crazy.

 

LMD:  But did you enjoy it?  A lot of actors I speak with actually enjoy getting under a lot of makeup or having a lot of physical transformation because itís easier to create the character.

AK:  Of course, of course.  For me, itís very important because Iím a singer before, for quite a long time, even right now, Iím a singer.  So, if you are singer, your exposure is very strong.  Like if there is a video, you can go to the karaoke, or see the music video on TV showing and showing you.  You want to make your style memorable: When Iím a dancer, I create a very strong character to put in their {the audienceís} minds.  So I have to break their minds of that when Iím acting - Iím the character, Iím acting. So when youíre playing a role in a movie, you need to be very serious to not let that persona jump up. So I need to take more effort for different characters, to change my face, to change my hairstyle, to make myself more skinny, or to make my skin tone darker.  Because singing is very close to my real life; I am the real Aaron Kwok, itís very close to me, but in the film, Iím not.  I just put down my own Aaron Kwok character and go to the character in the film and put on that face.

 

LMD:  In 2009, I spoke with screenwriter Ivy Ho {And I Hate You So, Divergence} about the future of Cantonese film and she predicted the Canto film would not exist after 20 years.

AK:  {Laughs}

 

LMD:  As someone so synonymous with Hong Kong Entertainment, what do you think of the future of Hong Kong film?

AK:  In my case, I feel there will be more Hong Kong film.  In China, they are growing very fast, and most people in China, they want to see movies as their hobby.  Before it was only maybe once in a while, but now I feel most of the Chinese people like to watch movies when they go out with friends.  I think times have changed and I think lifestyles have changed, itís very important in China.

The Hong Kong market is so small.  The population is just over 7 million, but just only in Shanghai, itís like 30 million, and how big is China?  So, you can imagine that in Hong Kong, a successful box office brings in maybe 40 million, but in China, 40 million is one day.  So you cannot compare with the China market.

 

LMD:  Cold War is also featured at the Festival this year and it is very like the classic crime films of the Hong Kong heyday in its style and in Cantonese language.

AK:  I think the directors are very talented {Longman Leung and Sunny Luk}.  One {Leung} is a new up-and-coming director, and one {Luk} has been directing films for 20 years.  They are able to bring a new vision to the audience.  They know how to challenge the audience.  They know the mindset of the audience, that itís very quick.  When youíre speaking dialogue, you need to make it new, so that the audience remembers, and they made it very simple, but powerful.

 

LMD:  Youíve been in every aspect of entertainment and itís clear you know so much about creativity and vision and the industry, why have you never made a film of your own?

AK:  Yeah, maybe in the future.  I read a story two years ago, but I really want a very good script writer, because the story has to be suitable for my movie style.  But I found one right now, because I just finished a movie in Thailand called One Night Only, and I met a very talented, young script writer from Taiwan.  That movie is very romantic, and not only a normal story, he was very clever to create a new story.  I think in the future, more people will follow this story structure; it looks very simple structurally, but itís not that simple.  The movie will be released on the 4th of December. Before, they wanted to show it on the next Valentineís Day, because itís a love story.

But this Taiwanese script writer, and I think his mind is changed {his thinking is different}; I think he knows how to not only write romance, but they will also put in some action.  In a 1Ĺ hour movie, they will put in different action scenes at very important times, so when the audience goes to the cinema, it is not just only dialogue, theyíll see action, which makes the movie great.  So the experience of the film goes up and up, itís like a roller coaster.  But I will be a director maybe in the future; I still am learning, learning and learning.

 

LMD:  Since we are here to celebrate your career in film, is there one movie that you feel represents you best?

AK:  {After very long thought} Divergence.  That is the first movie that I won the Golden Horse.  I think it was just a very important thing, because for that movie, I absolutely needed to put down my own character, Aaron Kwok, at home.  The character in this movie was not my own self.

 

LMD:  Please give a message to our readers.

AK:  I will keep going.  I will try my best to be a good actor.  I will give my best in all my movies, so that my fans and my audience will like it.  I will never make them disappointed.  And if you love the character, then you love Aaron Kwok.

 

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

June 26th, 2015

 

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Photos  

Exclusive Photos

 by L.M.D.

Stills courtesy of Mei Ah Entertainment/ Edko Films/Tartan Films

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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