September 2008, 2pm at Orchard Cineleisure KBox
It takes a certain clout to be a studio’s first
choice to headline a big-budget action movie. More so
if the studio is no less than Warner China Film, the
Chinese-based arm of Warner Bros.
But that was what director Benny Chan was. He had liked
the Hollywood movie “Cellular” and so when
the studio contacted him about doing a possible remake
of it in Hong Kong, he immediately said yes.
Don’t think however that his version “Connected”
was simply a slavish copy of the original. Quite the
contrary, in fact, as Chan revealed that much thought
and hard work went into revamping the Hollywood version
into a Hong Kong movie.
For one, Chan, who co-wrote the screenplay, wanted to
make the characters more real and believable than the
“In the Hollywood version, the main character
is a slacker. But Louis Koo’s character, Bob,
is instead a typical Hong Kong guy- always busy,”
he explained. What would make such a guy put down everything
and help a total stranger in need was what he was interested
Even so, it took time for him to convince himself of
the plausibility of such a scenario. Why believe someone
else who asks for help, especially if you don’t
even know that person?
“The original had the character believing quite
immediately what the stranger on the other line said,“
Chan elaborated. “But to make it more genuine,
I created Louis Koo’s character in such a way
that he was initially sceptical of what the other person
said. So it was subsequent events that slowly convinced
his character that it was all true.”
There were other elements that he also added into his
version “Connected”. For one, the message
of helping others in need is something that he wanted
to emphasize. In line with this vein was also a stronger
human element in the story, which he did by injecting
the possibility of a romance between Louis Koo’s
character and Barbie Hsu’s character.
The director whose name is probably now synonymous with
Hong Kong action movies has much praise for his lead
actor, Louis Koo, whom he describes as “very hardworking”.
Because Louis and Barbie’s scenes were filmed
separately, there was a need to reshoot some of Louis’
scenes so that his expressions would be more appropriate
vis a vis Barbie Hsu’s.
In fact, Louis Koo was the director’s first choice
to play the role of Bob, a role he described as the
most difficult in the movie. The two had struck up a
good working relationship while on the set of their
previous collaboration Rob-B-Hood and Chan had promised
Koo that they would work together again.
Indeed, if Louis Koo has aspirations of becoming a Hong
Kong action star, he has hedged a most wise bet on director
Benny Chan. After all, Connected looks set to be another
sure-fire action hit and the newest addition to Chan’s
resume of successful big-budget action movies. It may
not be too far-fetched to say that Benny Chan probably
is the closest thing that Hong Kong has to Hollywood’s
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opens on 1 October and is reviewed here
Report & Photos:
Gabriel Chong & Richard Lim Jr
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