Hong Kong Cinema

Simon Loui Interview - April 2005

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Intro - Simon Loui (Simon Lui) will always be remembered as one of the most prolific performers of his generation. In 1999 alone he featured in twenty six films! The only thing that matches his remarkable output is his versatility. He has covered all aspects of film production from scriptwriting to acting, editing and directing. Famously linked to the Hong Kong horror movie scene, his career defining break came with the Troublesome Night series in 1997. Simon has always remained synonymous with this long-lasting horror franchise, he was most recently seen in Troublesome Night 19 in 1993!

Simon's productive career has meant that he has rubbed shoulders with many of the leading figures in the modern Hong Kong movie scene. He has been directed by the likes of Billy Chung, Marco Mak and Herman Yau in a number of horror and action movies. In his recent work Escape from Hong Kong Island (2004), Simon decided to take up the director's chair and cast several familiar faces in a likeable and stylish comedy affair. Hong Kong hardman, Jordan Chan, plays the character of Raymond Mak. Raymond is an insensitive loner who soon discovers the value of true friendship and family when his world falls apart in an Odyssey-like adventure across Hong Kong. The question is whether Raymond can cross Hong Kong harbour by 5pm, and whether he can escape the attentions of a bothersome police officer, Chapman To.

Simon Loui in Hong Kong - April 2005


As both writer and director for the movie Escape from Hong Kong Island , what was the inspiration behind the role of Raymond Mak ?

Raymond Mak is the representative of the Hong Kong people. He is very young, very driven and a cocky guy. He is facing the difficulty of crossing the Harbour. Everyday many people cross the harbour, it is very easy. (Raymond) faces the challenge to cross the harbour in nine hours to change his job. Before this day he treats everyone very poorly, he is bad to his parents, to his colleagues, to his friends and to his girlfriend. And then he changes after that day. It is a bad guy who turns into a good guy in a very black humour way!

Do you think there is any similarity between the character Raymond Mak and the real life Jordan Chan?

(Laugh) Jordan Chan is a very nice guy and I first worked with him a long time ago. I was an actor before like him and we are very good friends. It was easy to work with him as he is a very good actor. He can act any kind of role. If you don't know Jordan Chan you would think he is quite cocky, and proud. The exterior of Jordan Chan is extremely suitable for the character of Raymond Mak. So I decided to have Jordan Chan act as Raymond Mak.

 

What was the production like for Escape from Hong Kong Island ?

It was not a big budget production, but it was also not small budget. It was aimed at fifteen to forty year olds. There is a lot of entertainment in the movie and all the cast are comedians. People like Chapman To (Police Officer) and Cheung Tat-Ming (Raymond's brother) are famous for their comedy in Hong Kong. So I hope that when people watch the movie they will find it funny and also feel a strong message about how to be a good guy.

Was Jordan happy about having to jump into the harbour?

(Laughs) Jumping in the harbour is really quite dangerous. If you look at the harbour, it looks peaceful. But the waves are very strong if you are swimming.

How was it as your first job as director?

I was an actor, scriptwriter, producer and then director. Everything must have a first time. At first I was looking for another director but he was quite busy on other work. So I chose myself and it just came naturally.

To focus on your career, how did you first get into the film industry?

In 1987 I was DJ for radio and then after two years I was a musical composer and scriptwriter. In 1991 I shot my first movie with a famous Hong Kong comedian (Easy Money). Then in 1997 I wrote my first script called The Killer, directed by Billy Chung and Jordan Chan as lead actor. I do not remember how many scripts I wrote, but it was about 15 20. Then I started to produce and then I started to direct and it was natural.

You have worked with many directors in the past (recently; Billy Chung, Marco Mak, Herman Yau ) who has been your biggest influence?

The three of them have all been influential. Billy Chung has style, and Herman Yau is very ambitious. But I think my greatest influence has been from Ching Siu-tung (director - Chinese Ghost Story). He taught me the art of the European style and his vision is worldwide he is also a very funny guy!

Which of your movies, yet to be released in the UK , would you like to see distributed by the likes of Tai Seng in the UK?

I think The Killer. I like the script that I wrote and the audience liked it as well. It brought me a lot of information for other movies.

What do you think about the state current Hong Kong film industry in general?

Right now Hong Kong movies are facing a very big challenge. Twenty years ago if you wanted to watch a movie you had to go to the cinema. Now you can go to your computer or Cable TV and the box office must be affected. But I think if the quality of the movie is good then the Hong Kong audience will go to the cinema again. The Hong Kong Government must continue to give a hand for the budget like in Korea. I think things will go well in the future but at the moment things are hard. It is a long and winding road.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

I am writing a script talking about a serial killer, it is going to be called something like The Saviour. I will shoot this movie around June, the script is almost finished and it has taken about four months. I will also direct the movie.

Will you be working again soon with Jordan Chan?

Of course, Jordan Chan is one of the cast in The Saviour. I work very well with him and we are good friends.

If both you and Jordan were in Hong Kong and lost all of your bank cards, money and ID, which one of you would get over to Victoria Harbour quickest?

I would win!

And finally do you have a message for all readers of Vengeance magazine in the UK?

Have a good life!


Simon Loui's Escape from Hong Kong Island is now on general sale in the UK under the new Tai Seng UK label

Read HKC review of Hong Kong Island - click here


**** Get the next edition of Vengeance Mag for the entire exclusive interview with Simon Loui **** click here