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Interview Clement Cheng on Gallants
Animation sequences and Andy Lau 1/1 - Page 8
Author(s) : Thomas Podvin
Date : 1/6/2011
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Chen Kuan Tai
Gordon Lam Ka Tung
Andy Lau Tak Wah
Bruce Leung Siu Lung
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Page 7 : Bruce Leung and Chen Kuan Tai
Next >
Page 9 : Movies are entertainment

HKCM: Can you tell us about the animation scenes and why was it so important to include them? The style is very close to Chinese comic books.

Clement Cheng: I have always liked animation and manga. We actually shot something live but it was a fantasy because time, to me, is like a magician. For instance, a newspaper today is worth nothing. It just costs 5p, I don't know. But a newspaper from 100 years ago becomes something very valuable. So I think we wanted to make the illusion: if you can imagine what happened back then, the animation really helps people get into it. Everybody can interpret their own story - what happened 30 years ago. That's the reason [for the animation]. And I think it was also fun to do it. It looked a bit younger and also more “animé”, more stylish.

The animation scenes.

HKCM: I read that Andy Lau wanted to give you more money, on top of the initial budget, to get these animation scenes done.
Clement Cheng: Exactly. Mr. Lau read the script like two years ago. We had the rough cut of the movie; he came and watched it and said, “Wait a minute, is there an animation sequence in the movie?" He read it like two years ago, and he remembered it. I was so surprised, and I am so grateful, and I have the greatest respect for him because he really read it and he remembered it. The producer told him, “We don't have enough money to do that”. He asked how much it was. We told him and he said, “Okay, I'll pay for it”. What more can you ask for?
HKCM: When the film won the award, did you get a phone call from big brother Andy Lau?
Clement Cheng: Yes. I actually got a text message, everybody did. He's awesome.
HKCM: You met him during production?

Clement Cheng: Yes, three times.

HKCM: I know Gordon Lam was there representing Lau's company, Focus Films. Is Lau very hands-on?
Clement Cheng: No, he completely trusted us. He did not want to interfere. Gordon Lam was with us every day; we had to sort out everything together.

Andy Lau with Clement Cheng, Gordon Lam and Derek Kwok
(photo from Clement Cheng's Facebook gallery).

HKCM: Did the script change a lot from the time you finished the draft to when you were actually shooting? Did you have to re-write a lot on set?
Clement Cheng: Yes. Not a lot, just the dialogues. Mainly the way people were speaking, because we wanted to make it a lot more authentic. After we had written the dialogue for Bruce Leung and Chen Kuan Tai, we always asked them how they would say it if it was them. And they would give us ideas and we would change it and do the new one on set. It's a very organic, creative process.
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