Ten years after he attended the Tokyo Worldwide Movie Competition for the screening of The Grandmaster, Tony Leung returned to the pageant on Thursday to conduct a masterclass.
The Hong Kong performing icon, wearing a black tailor-made go well with and fashion-forward Kolor sneakers, was met with heat applause at a packed home at Tokyo’s Hulic Corridor. Competition programmer Shozo Ichiyama started proceedings with Leung’s early years as an actor, particularly his work with Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien on the basic A Metropolis of Unhappiness, which Ichiyama thought of one among his private favorites. A Metropolis of Unhappiness was notable because it was set in Taipei, and Leung, on the time, had no expertise working outdoors of Hong Kong and couldn’t communicate Mandarin.
“It was the beginning of my profession, and I needed to problem myself,” Leung stated via an interpreter on why he took on the position, given his language limitations and lack of expertise. “On the time I wasn’t aware of the historical past of Taiwan, so I needed to study it. I learn plenty of books to organize,” he stated.
“I don’t communicate Taiwanese in order that’s why the director created that character [who couldn’t speak],” Leung added. He stated that Hou had an artist buddy who lived outdoors Taipei who had misplaced the power to talk as a result of an accident. “I discovered quite a bit from this artist by way of performing,” Leung revealed, and he paid specific consideration to the artist’s facial expressions, gestures and angle. “I needed to place myself in a really remoted atmosphere, I needed to know what the world was like for somebody who couldn’t communicate.”
These early experiences on A Metropolis of Unhappiness had been necessary for Leung as they formed the way in which he ready for roles, and he thanked Hou for giving him a few of the instruments he nonetheless makes use of. “With the performing, I attempted to place stress on myself and skim plenty of books. That is how I developed a love for literature. I made plenty of discoveries on learn how to depict the character. My understanding grew to become very deep,” he stated.
This era additionally taught Leung some worthwhile classes in naturalistic performing, one thing that he’s famend for at this time. “One other blessing [on this project] was that there have been plenty of novice actors engaged on it. I used to be actually shocked as they had been doing plenty of nice performing. I began to doubt my very own expertise,” he added. “I needed to know the way I might look extra pure and real looking in my performing. This movie had a big impact on my performing profession.”
Ichiyama requested Leung whether or not Hou’s path had a major bearing on his efficiency, particularly as he was a younger actor in overseas environment. Leung joked that Hou was so busy that he didn’t care all that a lot about his efficiency and left it to him to determine it out. “Possibly that was good, however it was additionally troublesome!”
The discuss moved on to Leung’s lengthy and fruitful skilled relationship with Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai. In all, the duo have labored collectively on seven movies over a interval spanning virtually thirty years, and the lineup contains classics of world cinema reminiscent of Chungking Categorical, Within the Temper for Love and 2046, the final of which was screened earlier than the masterclass.
Leung was requested how his relationship with Wong started and what made it so enduring and profitable. “Once I first met him, I used to be form of caught with my performing, I didn’t know what to do, and my performing wasn’t getting higher,” he stated.
Leung talked in regards to the first time working with Wong on 1990’s Days of Being Wild, a movie that can also be notable for being the primary time that the director labored with cinematographer Christopher Doyle. He recounted a narrative of working a scene with Maggie Cheung and the way she nailed her scene in just a few takes. “[Wong] was watching my performing, and he most likely knew instantly what wasn’t good about my performing. We had been taking 10 to twenty takes of my scenes. I used to be considering perhaps I’m not good at performing,” Leung stated. “[Wong] stated you’ve plenty of method, plenty of stuff that’s simply made up. He advised me to not use that, disassemble all that.”
The actor added that when he noticed the completed movie, he realized that Wong had a expertise to attract issues out of his performers and that’s what pushed Leung to repeatedly maintain working with him. After working with Wong on two to 3 movies, Leung stated he began to get a way of what the filmmaker was aiming for, and that the expertise proved to be what he known as his second stint of performing coaching.
“Once I was making A Metropolis of Unhappiness, I had one want — how I can look as pure because the amateurs? Working with Wong, I used to be in a position to make that want a actuality. Now I used to be in a position to present the form of performing I needed to indicate.”
Ichiyama requested Leung about Wong’s methodology of working with out scripts, which has change into an trade legend. Leung stated that Wong does have scripts, however joked that “he doesn’t present it to us!” “All of the actors are conscious of the story and what their character is,” Leung defined in larger element. “[Wong] would give clear path, however as to how the story unfolded and the place it went, we didn’t get path on that. That is the distinctive means he works.”
“[Wong] needs to create plenty of leeway on the set,” Leung added. “He does have a script, however he needs to think about how the actors, the digicam and different issues on set are within the second. He needed that leeway. When we have now an excessive amount of info, we do plenty of preparation, and he didn’t need that to occur.”
“Each time it was an journey once we shot a brand new movie!,” Leung joked.
Leung was then requested about his work on 2046, particularly, and the way his character of Chow developed from Within the Temper for Love. “ is a particular work for me. The character I performed in Within the Temper for Love is identical, however [Wong] needed me to display a special set of expertise in 2046. So Chow has a special way of life. I needed a mustache and Wong stated no means. However I actually wanted that mustache to painting a special character. At Cannes, after the premiere there, he came visiting to me and stated it was higher that you simply had the mustache.”
Joking apart, Leung defined why the mustache was so necessary. “As actors we’d like a set off, even when it’s a small factor to get into the character, at the least for me [and the mustache was part of that].”
Ichiyama then requested Leung about his most up-to-date work that has together with the Hollywood blockbuster, Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and whether or not this signaled a larger willingness on the actor’s half to work on worldwide productions.
“I’m all the time enthusiastic about working in plenty of totally different locations,” Leung stated, suggesting that he wish to work on a Japanese undertaking if the appropriate one got here alongside. “I need to work in Europe, and subsequent 12 months I’ll work on a undertaking in Germany,” he stated alluding to, however not naming, Ildikó Enyedi’s Silent Good friend that he’s connected to star in. “I’ve been prepping for 8 months [for this project], and studying plenty of books.”