How long the movie concept was knocking around your head?
Derek Yee : This is a very long story; if you want me to go into details, I can but it is long. Some of my friends told me a real life story and it influenced me to write the script for this movie. Off course, I made some changes. The story was basically based on a real life accident, a team of seven cops who spent an entire evening looking for someone, everywhere, and it was quite a scary experience for them. Eventually, early in the morning, they found this person (referring to the role of Daniel Wu). That's how it all started.
The Infernal Affairs success brought the Film Noir genre under spotlights again. Did this help you to bring the One Night In Mongkok project out?
Derek Yee : The success of Infernal Affairs didn't really help too much in my research for investors because I had to approach five different investors before this one says yes! In the HK movie market, investors tend to put emphasize on the cast before anything else, like the directors. Everything else will go after that. In fact for Infernal Affairs was produced by the fifth investor they went to see [Media Asia], so the previous four one were not interested in, not until they found Andy Lau and Tony Leung were in that. In HK, the cast is almost everything in the movie.
Andy Lau and Tony Leung in Infernal Affairs
HKCinemagic : In 1987, you've already directed such kind of film with People's Hero.
Has your approach to such film genre changed over the last 17 years?
Derek Yee : It is quite a tough question, because I am involved in it and might not be objective enough to review my own work. Maybe it is more appropriate to ask the others. It's a natural development for me, you know, and I may change my views and opinions without knowing myself. I'd rather be a scriptwriter rather than a director. I also took on the role on the producer but didn't really like it; it is more like a PR person. It has not a lot to do with the moviemaking process.
HKCinemagic : Your favorite task is scriptwriting then?
Derek Yee :
I really enjoy it. Many years ago, a scriptwriter could write about anything. B ut nowadays, because the economy isn't so good, when it comes to scriptwriting, one has to always bear in mind the cost and budget. There is some kind of limitation. With China opening up its market, it seems to be open, but in reality, you have to consider a lot of things. Like some things you don't want to mention in your movies [because of censorship or very sensitive issues]. You have to know where you draw the line. It put a lot of pressure and limitation on the scriptwriter.