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Hey all, back at the New York Asian Film Festival with the folks behind a slice of pure sweetness called You Are the Apple of My Eye.  The Taiwanese romantic comedy has been an outstanding and well-deserved success all across Asia and writer/director Giddens Ko and star Michelle Chen sat down to talk about bringing it to New York City.

Dig it!

 

You Are the Apple of My Eye

Giddens Ko and Michelle Chen

 

 

The Lady Miz Diva:  I understand You Are the Apple of My Eye is only semi-autobiographical, is that true?

Michelle Chen: Itís pretty true.

Giddens Ko:  Almost true

 

LMD:  Giddens, did you have any hesitation putting so much of your personal life on the big screen?

GK:  Iím a show-off man!  My life is interesting.  I want everybody to know that.  I wanted the girlís {Shen Chia-Yi} husband to know how much I loved his wife.  I didnít kiss her husband, but I wanted to.  {At her wedding} Her husband said anyone who wanted to kiss his wife must kiss him first.  I didnít do that, but in that moment I started to imagine the story.

 

LMD:  Has the real Shen Chia-Yi seen the film?

GK:  I sent a DVD to her.

 

LMD:  Did you get a response?

GK:  Not yet.  Her husband wanted her to see the DVD for the first time with himÖ Shit!

 

LMD:  Did any of your actors have any hesitation about some of the outrageous and silly things they were called to do in the script, like your lead, Ko Chen-Tung walking around naked and the dog humping his leg, or the other student with the permanent erection?

MC:  He loved it!

GK:  I told the actor, Ko Chen-Tung, that I would protect him, but I didnít. {Laughs} Heís fine, heís fine.

MC:  He didnít worry about the nudity at all or the jerking off dance.  He was more worried about kissing me. {Laughs} Thatís because this was his first film.

 

LMD:  Giddens, what was it about Ko Chen-Tung that made you think he would be perfect to play you in the film?

GK:  First, heís tall.  Heís taller than me too much.  This is one thing I donít like about Ko.  Michelle said she thought Ko Chen-Tung would be a really good partner to work with.

MC:  I never said that! {Laughs} Actually, he went through several auditions and then it was down to him and another actor and Giddens asked me who did I feel I had more chemistry with, and I said, ďYeah, I think Ko is better.Ē

 

LMD:  Since Michelle was the first one cast, what was it about her that made you see her as the avatar for your lost love?

GK:  When I saw her, my heart beat very, very, very fast.  I fell in love with her.  So I thought even if I shoot a very bad movie, Iíll have a great summer with her.

MC:  {Laughs}

 

LMD:  So, this production was all about trying to get a date?  Michelle, what did you read in the character of Shen Chia-Yi that made you able to play her?

MC:  Thereís some similarities between me and Shen Chia-Yi; sheís a good student and I was kind of like a good student.  Not as studious how she was, but I just studied whenever there were exams coming up.  I think itís like a girlís dream to be chased by a lot of guys, especially having someone who really chases you so hard and truly cared about you for so many years.  Even though they never got into a relationship, but he still cares about the girl so much; studying with her every night, he wrote about their story and make it into a movie.

GK:  I didnít study.

MC:  Yeah!  He was the best student.  He didnít study and because of her, he studied hard and he actually got into a really decent university in Taiwan.  So, thatís something really special and I think itís like a girlís dream, and every girl has that dream in their heart, so itís not hard to play that.  Itís just like a dream come true.

 

LMD:  Thereís some interesting little in-jokes in the film that Iíd like to know about.  Did Jay Chou actually go to your high school?

GK:  No, no, no.  He gave me a song as a present.  He gave me a set of nunchucks like Bruce Lee.  I asked him if he would have time to join my movie, but he take me as a shit, but he gave me a song as a present and I appreciated it.

 

LMD:  You also have the Taiwanese blog queen, Wan Wan playing a girl who will grow up to become the Taiwanese blog queen, Wan Wan.  Are there any other jokes that people who enjoy Asian pop culture will get?

GK:  There was actually a Japanese manga author called Takehiko Inoue, his manga is called Slam Dunk, thatís in there, as well.

 

LMD:  Michelle, it seems like it was a very warm, energetic set.  Can you talk about Giddensí directing style?

MC:  Very simple. Childish.

GK:  Amazing!

MC:  Itís really great.  This is his first time filming a long feature movie, but I think heís got something so special thatís called trust.  He really trusts actors and actresses.  Like once he chooses them, he just gives his heart to them.  And heís very positive; he has this great energy that makes it fun to work at the set, not only for us, but the people at the set, the cinema people, the lighting guys.  Everyone was just having such a great time working on this and I think thatís always very important while you do a movie.

 

LMD:  What was it like for you to play Shen Chia-Yi as she aged from a teenage girl to a woman in her twenties or early thirties?

MC:  I didnít really think about that while I was doing the film.  We were really lucky because we kind of did the scenes according to the time: We did the high school scenes first and then college and the wedding almost at the very end.  I donít knowÖ

GK:  Maybe she wants to say she is a genius.

MC:  Not that!  I guess I was just really into the story.  It kind of came naturally.

 

LMD:  Youíd read the book on which the movie is based?

MC:  I did.  It was actually the first book that I read out of all his books.  Back then, I wasnít even an actress; I hadnít gotten into acting.  I really liked the book back then.  I finished it in one night.

 

LMD:  How much freedom did you allow your actors to interpret their roles? 

GK:  I spent a lot of time to communicate with Ko, because heís me.  I told him a lot of my story and how I felt at that time.  But I didnít tell her {Michelle} because I didnít know the girl.  I just told her the story and then she added my favourite girl.  Sometimes when Iíd see her, I saw the girl, really.  So, she had a lot of space.

 

LMD:  For moviegoers who haven't read the book, did you feel a little guilty about the way you set up the beginning and then taking a different turn?

GK:  No, thatís true life.  Sometimes we cannot be with our favourite girl or boy together forever, but she can be in my heart forever.

MC:  I think thatís the beauty of the film, because they never actually come together, but he still likes her so much and makes her such an important person in his life.

 

LMD:  The music is such a huge part of the film and you both contributed to the soundtrack.  Michelle, can you talk about how ďChildishĒ came about?

MC:  I always wrote lyrics.  I wrote lyrics for a long time, but I hardly ever wrote melodies.  But I think because I really, really loved this movie, the melody just kind of came naturally.  Actually, I did two songs and I showed it to him one morning and I was really nervous, cos acting I have done for a long time, but singing is like something that I am more shy about.  I gave it to him and made him listen to it and after he heard Childish, he cried. {Laughs}

GK:   I was afraid Iíd have to pretend I loved the song, but I didnít want to.  The songís amazing.

 

LMD:  And what about ďThose YearsĒ becoming such a big hit?

GK:  I changed the melody of the song four times.  I told the composer that you have the change the melody cos Iím shy.  I didnít want to change the way the original producer wanted to do it, so I needed to make sure the song is perfect.

 

LMD:  What is next for both of you?

GK:  I never stop composing my novels.  So Iím writing my new books and I want to shape my second long movie maybe for next year in the summer.

 

LMD:  Is it going to be based on one of your books?

GK:  Yeah, itís a story about kung fu and a little action.

 

LMD:  And for you, Michelle?

GK:  Iím doing a movie in Hong Kong right now, but the rest of the year I will save all my time to do my first album.

 

LMD:  What would you like for people to take away from You Are the Apple of My Eye?

GK:  Tears.  And always remember to say sorry to your girl or boy if you make a mistake immediately, say sorry immediately.

MC:  Always remember to treat people with your true heart.  Donít fear when you feel thereís love.

 

LMD:  Would you please give a message to our readers about your impressions of New York?

GK:  There are so many beautiful women.  They are crowded in New York.

MC:  You Are the Apple of My Eye is in the Big Apple right now.  Please come and watch!

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

July 2nd, 2012 

 

 

 

 

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Photos

Exclusive photos by L.M.D.

Stills courtesy of Star Ritz Productions

 

 

 

 

 

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