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Dante Lam on his new film "To The Fore"

Writer: Erny Suzira


Dante Lam talks about the production behind "To the Fore" (Photo source: hk-magazine.com)

Hong Kong director Dante Lam who is one of the major figures of Hong Kong action cinema has come forth with his latest film; a youthful sports drama titled "To the Fore", starring a line-up of refreshing leading men like Eddie Peng, Choi Siwon, Shawn Duo and Wang Luo Dan.

Different from what his usual action-packed thriller genres offers, this time the award-winning director decided to focus more on the theme of dreams, friendship, romance, and hope, in his new sports film which is ready to hit the big screen in Malaysia and Singapore this 6 August 2015.

The film follows the friendship and romance of four friends in an intense youth-oriented drama where each of them dreams of emerging victorious in a cycling competition.

Recently, Cinema Online talked to director Dante Lam regarding his new cycling film and what kind of things happened behind-the-scenes of the intense film.


(L-R) Shawn Dou, Eddie Peng and Choi Siwon are the three main cast of "To The Fore"
(Photo source: dramafever.com)

To start off, what surprises does your new film "To the Fore" have?
I have to say that this film is certainly different from my previous films as it is a film more suitable for the younger generations – as in teenagers and young adults. Because previously I had always made films catered towards the middle-aged adults, and this time my film is more about youngsters chasing after their dreams, so it is more light-hearted and relaxed.

There is also some action elements in the film, in the form of bike racing competitions. The race itself is actually quite intense!

I heard that there have been a lot of injuries among the cast and crew during the shooting of this film, is that true?
Yes. Not much safety precautions can be made when filming a cycling movie. Plus the speed of the bikes are very fast. Every time we film, there will be around 200 bikes moving together at the same time. And since it is a racing competition, the distance between one another is quite near, so when one or two person falls, it will cause around 10 more cyclists to fall as well.

Even during training, the actors fell from their bikes a lot of times. You can say that this film has the most injuries among all of my previous films.

So was the insurance for this film quite hefty?
Well, we did pay for half of the insurance, but I wouldn't say that the amount is huge as we can't predict how many injuries will there be until it actually happens. But yes, we did buy the basic insurance for injuries.

When you saw that many people had gotten injured while making the movie, how do you feel? Did you ever think of quitting?
Actually, I have planned on shooting this film a few years ago. You can say that I had this idea since the year 2000, and it has been my dream to shoot a film with this theme.

Also, from the start I knew that shooting this film wouldn't be easy and I will surely face a lot of difficulties along the way. And even though I am an experienced director, facing this kind of accidents is quite a shock to me too. So I thought before, "Did I choose the wrong film?" It is really a moment of depression.

But in the end, I didn't give up and I managed to persevere until the very end.

What are your biggest difficulties with shooting this film?
I think the cast really helped me a lot throughout this film. They tried their best in facing the hardships and difficulties.

Even for normal athletes, when they enter a competition for a day it might take them around 5 hours and that is already tiring enough. But the shooting of this film took around 10 to 12 hours at least. So the cast had to give it their all in every single take of this film. It is not easy.

Another difficulty is the setting, because we chose a lot of difficult and complicated settings. There's this one scene where they have to do a middle-distance cycling on a mountain in Haibei Tibetan, and coincidentally there's a huge typhoon in Taiwan which affected our shooting. I almost gave up on shooting there because I didn't want my cast to suffer anymore injuries, but I didn't, and I found ways to solve the problem.

Did you regret choosing such difficult settings?
No. Even though there have been difficulties and problems along the way, but by the end of the day, the film united us and made us stronger.

There are really a lot of good and bad memories from this film, but we managed to stick to it until the end and we learned a lot along the way.

So, who is the fittest among the cast after shooting the film?
Of course it's Eddie Peng. Before, I worked with him in "Unbeatable" and he is the one who had faith in me the most. He believed in me and the film, and that's what this kind of film needs – trust. He is also the one who trained the most for the film. I have no doubt in his performance because I have seen it and I know that he can pull through.

I was a bit worried about the others, especially Shawn Dou because his physical structure and stamina doesn't meet the requirements needed, so he had to do a different kind of training different from the other main cast. However, it is also because he is busy with his singing activities which made his time a bit constraint. But in the end, he also managed to pull it through.

I also worried about Wong Luo Dan because she's a female. When I decided to choose a female cast I knew that this would be one of the difficulties on my list, because cycling requires a lot of stamina which would be a bit hard for her. But during training she gave me 100 percent determination and it is not easy for a girl to go through the hard training.

You admire Eddie Peng so much, is he going to be the main cast in your next film?
To tell you the truth I am very fond of him. He is youthful and very determined and dedicated in everything that he does, it is fun working with him. Hopefully, in the future I get to work with him again.

Will there be a sequel to "Unbeatable"?
Well, I do plan on making a sequel and plan to have Eddie Peng reprise his role, but it is not confirmed yet.

What's next for you?
I will be coming to Malaysia to shoot my next film. It is an action fipm about a police and thief which will star an actor from mainland China as well as Hong Kong actor Louis Koo. I came to Malaysia for six days to look at some suitable locations to shoot the film. I went to Ipoh and then Penang. About 60 percent of the film will be shot in Malaysia because I want to shoot in places with forests and caves.

Last question, what are your hopes for "To the Fore"?
Of course I hope that the film will be hit. It is my first time shooting such a youthful film filled with dreams and hopes. I hope everyone would watch this film and enjoy it, because this kind of film is now hard to find, so I hope that the audience would come and support my film.


Cinema Online, 05 August 2015

Related Movies:
To The Fore (Mandarin) (06 Aug 2015)

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