September 2008, 2pm at Orchard Cineleisure KBox
One call may be all that connected Louis Koo and Barbie
Hsu’s characters in the movie; but the stars had
no such luck most of the time while filming.
At the press conference here in Singapore to promote
their latest film, “Connected”, the stars
revealed that except for the final scene, the actors
did not have any contact on the set of the film. In
fact, they pretty much relied entirely on the assured
direction of Benny Chan to guide them on how to portray
their respective characters.
Billed as the first Chinese remake of a Hollywood movie,
Connected is Hong Kong’s take on the movie “Cellular”
headlined by Hong Kong actors Louis Koo and Nick Cheung,
Taiwanese star Barbie Hsu (aka “Big S”)
and Chinese actor Liu Ye. The movie’s central
conceit is the single phone call between two strangers,
Louis Koo’s character, Bob, and Barbie Hsu’s
character, Grace, that may very well be the only lifeline
Grace has of surviving after she is kidnapped.
As the first to film her scenes, Barbie Hsu likened
her filming experience to that of an “examination”.
It was that challenging because director Chan would
capture several takes of a single scene, each take with
her acting out a different emotion. Lest you think it
was unprofessional, this was all so Chan could more
properly calibrate her performance to match that of
Louis Koo’s character on screen.
Sharing the same sentiments about his role, Louis Koo
said that it was not easy acting in many of his scenes
with just a phone, devoid of the interplay with a fellow
actor. “We had to reshoot some of my scenes after
we looked at them side by side with Barbie Hsu’s
so that the interplay of the conversations between the
two characters would be more real,” he said.
But both Louis Koo and Barbie Hsu were effusive in their
praise of director Benny Chan, who also flew into town
with the stars. In fact, one of the reasons Barbie Hsu
said yes to acting in this movie was the chance to work
with renowned director Chan, whose work she liked and
Working on the set of Connected was also an unpredictable
experience day after day. “I was not sure what
the director wanted for my scenes the next day,”
she explained. But she added that Benny Chan’s
firm direction on set was immensely invaluable in helping
her shape her performance.
Their second collaboration after last year’s Rob-B-Hood,
Louis Koo similarly credited Chan’s sure hand
at steering him confidently through both his dramatic
scenes as well as action scenes in Connected.
And indeed, the action scenes were no easy feat for
Louis Koo. This was nowhere more apparent than in the
film’s climax, where his character and Liu Ye’s
character were engaged in a fistfight on a platform
in a warehouse eight stories above ground. It was, he
added, one of the most frightening action scenes to
But why do a Hollywood remake, you may ask? For Benny
Chan, Connected represented an opportunity to do a personal
take on a story which he was intrigued by since watching
the movie “Cellular”. What attracted him
most was the human element within the story, that of
a person willing to risk his life to save that of a
Transporting the story from its original sun-soaked
location of California, Benny Chan said that Hong Kong
also presented some unique means of developing the human
element in the story. For one, he pointed out how social
relationships between people in Hong Kong are necessarily
quite dispersed because of the sheer number of people
in Hong Kong within a small land area.
In this context therefore, he hopes that Connected may
inspire people to lend a helping hand more readily to
those in need.
Still, one shouldn’t count on Louis Koo to be
the real-life persona of his character anytime soon.
The actor said that he is “no hero, and just an
ordinary person”. In fact, if you find yourself
in a similar situation as Barbie Hsu’s character
in the movie, you’d better hope that your random
dialling hits Benny Chan’s number. Because only
Benny Chan admits keeping his phone by his side.
For Louis and Barbie? Well, Louis said that he usually
either does not carry his phone with him or leaves it
off. And Barbie said she ignores anonymous calls that
she receives on her phone most of the time.
Again, that’s probably another example of how
the stars may be connected on-screen, but quite the
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opens on 1 October and is reviewed here
Report & Photos:
Gabriel Chong & Richard Lim Jr
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