Director Benny Chan visited Malaysia to promote
"Call of Heroes", along with actors Eddie Peng and Sean Lau.
Director Benny Chan reunites with actors Sean Lau and Louis Koo in the new Hong Kong good-versus-evil action period film, "Call of Heroes".
Both of the actors have worked with Benny many times, with the most recent one being the 2013 crime thriller, "The White Storm".
This time around, the two actors are joined by Taiwanese heartthrob Eddie Peng and this also marks the first time that Peng have worked with the Hong Kong director.
With action choreographed by renowned martial artist and filmmaker Sammo Hung, the film is about a group of villagers standing up to an evil warlord in 1914.
Just recently, the director made a stop in Malaysia along with Eddie Peng and Sean Lau, to promote his movie.
Cinema Online: Where did you get the idea to make this film?
Benny Chan: I have been exposed to the world of martial arts since a long time ago, and from the spirit of martial arts and righteousness of it, I had created a couple of heroic characters. So actually the whole plot is very simple – good against evil, meaning the bad guys versus our heroes, and it is also about power and justice, like whether a person's sense of justice truly exists. There's a line in the film which says, "Justice is something you need to do for it to exist." I think that is the main theme of the film.
Why did you pick such a profound theme for your film?
I feel that a positive message needs to always be conveyed to the audience. Every time I shoot a film, I always hope that I can convey a good message to the audience, and I think that movies are the best platform to do so, it should send more positive messages rather than negative ones.
Benny Chan at press conference at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, KL.
I heard that one of the toughest challenges that you and the crew had faced was constant rain.
Yes, we shot for four and a half months and for the three months, it rained. But we have no choice, the shooting must go on, so we had to wait for the rain to stop every time.
Sammo Hung is the action choreographer for this movie, is he strict with all the action scenes?
Well, I never got scolded by him! [laughs] I don't think he is strict. It is really fun working with him, he is a great instructor and a great cook too. He would wake up early in the morning to prepare the menu for the day and to eat together with everyone, not just the cast, but also the production crew. He treats us like a big family!
You've never worked with Eddie Peng before, but why did you decide to cast him as the main character?
I've seen him act in other films before, and I think that he suited the character that I already had in mind. So after flying to Shanghai and meeting him, I was very sure that he can carry out the role. Of course, after spending time and talking to someone, you would know immediately whether he is meant for the role or not.
(L-R) Sean Lau, Eddie Peng, and Benny Chan.
The film seems to have many elements from the old 60s and 70s Wuxia films. Why is that so?
A lot of people said that this film seems to be a tribute to old Wuxia films. Well, maybe it is because right now, not many people would shoot this kind of film anymore. So if I can continue to shoot it and the audience would love it too, then I will, because if no one appreciates this kind of film, it would disappear.
For example, Sammo Hung is an expert for these type of movies, though there are other directors like him, only a few have his talent. So if we stop shooting this kind of film, in the future we never could anymore because we don't have the capabilities to do so.
So does this mean that you would continue to film more Wuxia themed films?
Depends if it is still very well-received by the audience. Because this type of movie is very seasonal and the era has now changed, so the today's younger generation many not necessarily like this kind of genre. There are times when the film would become a trend again, and a lot of Kung Fu films will be released in the market. So sometimes, it depends on the timing. But for me, if the audience enjoys it, I would continue to make it.
"Call of Heroes" is now showing in cinemas.
Cinema Online, 29 August 2016