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 HKCinemagic 2

Statistics :
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Interview with top gweilo Mike Leeder
Mike Leeder, magazine writer 1/1 - Page 2
Author(s) : Arnaud Lanuque
Date : 1/3/2010
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Hwang Jang Lee
Gordon Liu Chia Hui
Bey Logan
Shum Wai
Zhang Jing Chu
Movies :
Pedicab Driver
Rush Hour 3
Seven Swords
Companies :
Shaw Brothers
< Previous
Page 1 : Mike Leeder, actor
Next >
Page 3 : Mike Leeder, casting director

HKCinemagic.com: So as acting didn't work that much, you moved to produce articles and bonus for DVDs, didn't you?
Mike Leeder: Yeah, articles for Impact and some other magazines in the UK and bonus.
HKCinemagic.com: Can you tell us a bit about your relations with HK Legend?
Mike Leeder: They were really the first company to give Hong Kong films the treatment they deserved, remastered versions, multiple audio tracks, commentaries, tons of bonus features, interviews etc. Brian White was the driving force behind the label, and he really had a grand vision and did so well in bringing all the elements together and the label went from niche to mainstream. Then the label got bought and Brian left and they just seemed to love their interest, so much stuff we did was never used… My Wife Is A Gangster for instance came out as a bare bones disc with just an audio commentary, but I'd shot a whole bunch of interviews in Korea with the director and cast and crew, and they never used them. The one that really kicked me, was the Hwang Jang Lee interview, we'd tracked him down in Korea thanks to Brian, Master Hwang's son Jason and the late great Linn Haynes. We shot one hell of an in-depth interview and it just disappeared into a vault and I've never even been given a copy for myself or master Hwang which is very disappointing. Now fingers crossed, with Cine-Asia joining forces with the current rights holders for the label and Brian White also involved again, I hope more of the titles that weren't released will come out, and a lot of the bonus features we put together will be used.

I did some commentaries for them, no solo ones as I find it hard to do a commentary without someone to bounce off…



HKCinemagic.com: Bey [Logan] seems to be the elite commentary person! ?
Mike Leeder: Because if you ask him “Bey, talk about this”, he can talk. He's got a very good way of talking. He got that talent; he can do a commentary about anything. And in my case, there are some films I like, some I don't... I do think that there are some films that he did commentaries for, that didn't deserve them….some films are very easy to talk about, some are very hard to discuss. A film like Pedicab Driver for instance, that's a film with so much that could be discussed, [such as] cast, crew, fighting styles, locations, back stories, everything… that's a commentary I'd love to hear.

One of the last commentaries me and Bey Logan did for Hong Kong Legends and Premier Asia was Crying Fist, and for some reason I wasn't even credited for that on the box…or sent a copy! I love that movie and I really think we did a great commentary, we were bouncing off each other and riffling on each other's comments. I'd met the director and spoken with some of the cast and really liked the movie, so we had a lot to discuss. That's a commentary where I think we kept going to the very last second and could have probably kept going… I just recorded commentaries with him for 71 Into the Fire and Jeon Woo-chi and they were fun to do.


Dragon Dynasty's DVD of The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

HKCinemagic.com: Did you get involved with Dragon Dynasty?
Mike Leeder: I did a lot of interviews for Dragon Dynasty. We shot a great interview with Zhang Jing Chu for Seven Swords while we were casting her for Rush Hour 3, really nice lady, great actress and great fun. I did Gordon Liu for the 36th Chamber series and a bunch of the other Shaws, the Born to Fight team, the City of Violence team, a lot of people but same thing happened, they started to lose focus, stop using the extra features or at times bring people in to discuss the movies for perhaps the wrong reasons. People who they felt might have a more mainstream appeal but perhaps didn't know the movies or the people they were discussing as well as they could. If it's an alternate commentary or interview fine, but not as the focus. I wish the RZA for instance had been able to do more commentaries or interviews, I just had the opportunity to work with him on Man With the Iron Fist, and he really knows his stuff regarding martial arts movies.

It's like when Celestial Pictures first released their DVDs of classic Shaw Brothers movies, they decided at the last minute they wanted to do special features and commentaries, they assembled an interesting mix of people to do them but they wouldn't let people see the movies before doing the commentaries, so they're somewhat all over the place.


Mike Leeder in A Little less Conversation

HKCinemagic.com: We mentioned people like Shum Wai before starting this interview. You never thought of interviewing such personalities from the industry?
Mike Leeder: Of course I did but sometimes it's hard to put an interview like that into the magazine, to do it justice it would have to be a big interview and spread over several issues, and I don't know if the readership would appreciate or the publisher, they might not feel he deserved the attention. That's why it's great seeing some of the interviews you guys do. With the website it allows you to publish full interviews with people, including some of the people who don't always get the attention they should. But as I'm sure you find, sometimes some people don't want to be interviewed, or that the films you want to talk to them about are not the ones they have any memories of.
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