Lots of movie news this past week due to the start of FILMART + HK Film Festival and also award show season with the Asian Film Awards and Director's Guild Awards, so the focus this time will be on movie industry news. There is some TV industry news too, but not as much compared to the recent happenings in the film world.
Also, FILMART actually just started yesterday but I didn't want to wait until the end of the week to do this post, since there is so much info already, so if need be, I'll do a follow up later in the week to cover whatever may emerge from there, whether movies or television (I actually have a feeling the news we are waiting for on OCTB will be announced at FILMART – just a hunch, no inside info or anything….anyway, I'll post something up once I hear further).
Movie industry news
ASIAN FILM AWARDS & DIRECTORS GUILD AWARDS
- The big news coming out of the HK film world this week (aside from Leon's news but I'll get to that later) has to do with one of this generation's most prolific movie actors – Louis Koo. This year's Asian Film Awards and Director's Guild Awards were held within days of each other and Louis won Best Actor at both award ceremonies (for his role in the movie Paradox, the much touted second installment in the SPL franchise). As Louis himself said during his acceptance speech at the Asian Film Awards (which was held first), this is his first ever movie-related award so of course it means a lot to him. I'm glad to hear him say this because in my opinion, being able to win at the Asian Film Awards is more "prestigious" than winning in one of HK's awards shows because the artists are going up against other artists / movies from across Asia – to be able to defeat other talented actors outside of Hong Kong is quite an accomplishment! Congrats to Louis!!
- Personally, I've never been a fan of Louis' acting, whether back when he was at TVB or after entering the movie world and filming boatloads of movies (honestly, the word "prolific" is an understatement – at one point, Louis seemed to be in every single movie out there, lol). Don't ask me to explain why because I don't know – his acting just never appealed to me for some reason. With that said though, I do have a lot of respect for Louis as a person and that respect has grown over the years after learning about his charity work (which he rarely talks about) as well as seeing his contributions to the film industry and his efforts at improving the industry as a whole. [Sidenote: Louis was recently voted in as HKPAG (Hong Kong Performing Artists Guild) Chairman (taking over for previous Chairman Jackie Chan) and hearing his ideas on how he plans to support the industry was very encouraging!] I'm happy for Louis with both his wins and I'm sure this is a boost of confidence for him heading into the HK Film Awards next month – he's up against some tough competition though so even though he is the "hot favorite" to take him the award there too, the results are hard to predict so let's see what happens.
- At the Director's Guild Awards, the highlight of Louis' win is that people kept playfully teasing him about going up on stage and gracing the audience with his singing again. This was actually a reference to Louis attending the annual HK Film Workers' Spring Dinner event last week where he was pulled on stage during one of the performances and invited to sing a few lines from one of his songs with them. Louis actually obliged (and was very gracious about it) – the video of him singing was uploaded online and of course it took the internet by storm, since it's very rare nowadays for Louis to be willing to open his "golden mouth" to sing. So now, at every event, his colleagues as well as the reporters "tease" him about going on stage and singing for them – of course, Louis politely turns everyone down, but I love that he is so good-humored about it, even playing along with them in some instances and "pretending" to leave when the word "singing" is mentioned, lol. It's rare for us to see Louis' playful side (he always looks so cool and serious) so I can definitely see why everyone is taking the opportunity to "tease" him while it lasts. My respect for Louis actually went up a few notches this past week after seeing how he handled the whole "singing" thing….
- On the Best Actress front – Sylvia Chang took home the Best Actress award at the Asian Film Awards for her performance in Love Education, which she also directed. She wasn't able to repeat the win at the Directors Guild Award, however she did end up taking home the Best Director Award at that ceremony.
- The winner(s) of the Best Actress award at the Directors Guild Awards ceremony were Teresa Mo for Tomorrow is Another Day and Stephy Tang for The Empty Hands. Yes, you heard right – there were 2 winners for Best Actress because both actresses ended up in a tie and so the Guild decided to award both. There's actually a funny story to this, which Teresa Mo told during her acceptance speech. Teresa said that she threw away her husband Tony Au's voting form for these awards because he was away on a trip and she didn't feel it was right to vote on his behalf, even though she knew that he would've cast his vote for her in the Best Actress category anyway. It turns out that 'one vote' mattered in this case, since it meant the difference between her winning the award and having to share it.
- The Best Actress race at the HK Film Awards next month will be interesting, as all three actresses -- Sylvia Chang, Teresa Mo, and Stephy Tang – are in contention for the coveted award (rounding out the category are Zhou Xun for Our Time Will Come and Chrissie Chau for 29+1). The Directors Guild Awards is generally seen as a precursor to HKFA, as the winners there usually go in to win at the HKFA as well – true or not, I'm pretty sure they are not going to do another "shared win" thing at HKFA (can't remember the last time – if ever – that they had such a win at HKFA). Personally, I'm rooting for Teresa (since she's an awesome actress and also one of my favorites) – this will be her 7th time being nominated for HKFA Best Actress so it's about time she won, though in all honesty, doesn't really matter to me who wins since I haven't watched any of the nominated films this year so can't really complain. From various reports, I know that Stephy has done a great job this year and has already won multiple Best Actress awards already at other awards shows, so she is definitely the "hot favorite" going into HKFA, however I think both Teresa and Sylvia will give her a run for her money. I'm fine with whoever ends up winning in this category.
OTHER MOVIE-RELATED NEWS
- Speaking of Louis Koo – I'm sure Louis fans will be happy to know that there is finally more news on the movie version of his "classic" TVB series A Step into the Past. Rumors have been circulating for several years already that Louis plans to do a movie version of the series and invite back the original cast to participate. It was confirmed last year that Louis will indeed be producing the movie and starring in it, but beyond that, there weren't a whole lot of details available. Well, yesterday at FILMART, they unveiled the official poster for the movie and provided some more details as follows:
o The Chinese name of the movie will be the same as the series but the English name will now be called Back to the Past.
o Louis's own production company One Cool Film will be producing this, which I assume means that Louis will be given the Executive Producer title for the project (I didn't catch who the director will be though), however this will also be a co-production with Mainland company Huace Pictures.
o Filming is scheduled to begin at the end of the year.
o Confirmed "original" cast from the series are Louis, Raymond Lam, and Jessica Hsuan (this is actually not surprising, as it was already revealed earlier on that both Raymond and Jessica signed to Louis' management company, so it makes sense that they would re-unite for this film).
o The big question now is whether other "original" cast members will return as well. There was no mention of additional cast at FILMART (at least not yet), so no doubt there will be further announcements and possibly press conference forthcoming in the next few months. Current speculation though is that most likely the rest of the cast won't return, since majority of them have retired from the industry already or are have other filming obligations, plus the movie is a co-production with Mainland, which means that they have to save a few of the "top" roles for Mainland artists.
- My take – I was never a fan of ASITP the series so I'm indifferent toward the news of a movie version now being filmed, but I know a lot of people out there loved the series, so if those of you reading this are a fan of the series, I'm curious to hear your thoughts – please feel free to comment! The way I see it, one good thing about this production is that Louis is producing it himself and with how involved he had been in the series (supposedly he had even written parts of the original script) and how much he cared about it, at least you know he will put in the effort to make it good and not butcher it like others would (I'm sure people still remember the previous movie remakes of TVB series that were done by different companies and ended up being horrible / un-watchable).
- The other "big" movie industry news (though technically not really specifically movie-related but since the artist is a film actor now, figured putting it here was more appropriate) this week – this one is "hot off the press"….Heavenly King Leon Lai finally confirmed that he will become a dad soon. For those who were not aware (which is kind of impossible given how big this news has been, lol), media reports had surfaced last week that Leon and his assistant Wing (she works for his record label A-Music) were dating and that Wing was photographed with a bulging belly, which in the HK media world, meant that she is "most likely" pregnant. So of course, rumors started flying that Leon will be a dad soon, though he had yet to confirm anything. Leon had actually attended FILMART yesterday and refused to say anything when reporters asked him, but then a few hours later he posted a formal announcement on his Facebook page confirming the news that he and his girlfriend are indeed expecting (I'm sure all the media outlets – Chinese and English – will be re-posting his FB post so not going to bother posting it here). With Leon joining the ranks of fatherhood now, he is the last of the 4 Heavenly Kings to settle down and start a family (though whether he will marry Wing or not remains to be seen – there was no mention of marriage in the post, only that he will become a father soon). Congrats to Leon! Even though I'm not a fan of his, I'm still happy for him, as having a child is a huge milestone and deserves to be recognized.
TV Industry news
- The big news in terms of HKTV is that they have sold the rights to their series to i-cable arm Fantastic Television, who will be airing their series on their free-to-air channel starting on April 17th. I won't go into detail here, since I already wrote up a post on this a couple days ago and also stated my thoughts on this already. Those that are interested can read that post here.
- Fox Asia released a new extended trailer for their series Stain'd. The trailer is 2 minutes, 12 seconds long and all 3 A-list leads – Anthony Wong, Kara Hui, Tse Kwan Ho – are featured. This article from HK01 has a link to the trailer so you can watch it there, though I'm sure Fox Asia's webpage and also Youtube channel have it as well. I actually haven't had a chance to watch it yet so can't really comment right now, but once I do get around to watching it, I'll definitely post something up about it. Also, if I hear any news about when Fox Asia's series are scheduled to air, I'll make sure to post an update.
OTHER TV INDUSTRY NEWS
- This one I'm actually excited about!! If, like me, you're a fan of the TVB series Untraceable Evidence and have been "dying" for another Bowie Lam / Flora Chan collaboration (they did film Healing Hands together, but I wasn't a fan of that series / franchise so that doesn't really count, lol), rest assured that your (our) wish might be granted some time in the near future. Bowie and Flora attended an event the other day (no, nothing related to entertainment stuff – it was an environmental / beach cleaning event that was sponsored by one of their mutual friends, former actress Sharon Kwok) and so reporters seized the opportunity to ask them when they are going to fulfill fans' wishes for them to collaborate again. Bowie said that it's something he and Flora have talked about and that when they had their Untraceable Evidence cast reunion dinner a few weeks ago (I saw the pictures – ah, the memories!!!), he had already told Flora to save some room in her schedule for him. Flora's answer was more of a "we'll see" response because she is currently working on her PhD in Education and so her schooling comes first (aside from her family of course). She said that she had agreed to film that program about marriage for ViuTV because it fit her schedule for one, and two, they allowed her to produce the program and gave her free reign to do the program how she wanted, so she decided to add some educational elements to the show.
- Bowie opened his own production company recently and currently has a few scripts on hand that he is reading through (I wrote in my Entertainment Newsreel #4 about Bowie's plans to produce and star in his own series – you can read the details here) – he said that from day one of opening his production company, he was already planning to invite Flora for another collaboration. He said that there will definitely be another chance for them to collaborate again, but he can't confirm when that will be due to Flora's studies being her top priority right now. Both of them are for it though, so it's just a matter of time.
- As a fan of the Bowie/Flora pairing in UE, I'm one of those waiting for them to collaborate again. Now that Bowie has his own production company and the freedom to film whatever he wants, looks like we are closer than ever to seeing another collaboration between these two, the only thing is timing. Flora did say during their joint interview that she also wants to collaborate with Bowie again, however she still has another 3 years to go in terms of her studies (for her PhD) so it will really depend on whether she is able to carve out some time in between. I'm secretly praying that Flora will find the time in between her studies to take Bowie up on his offer. PLEASE PLEASE Flora, please don't make us wait 3 years for another collaboration!