(L-R) Aaron Aziz, producer Charlie Wong, Eliza Sam, Chris Tong and director
Wilson Chin at the press conference of "Special Female Force".
"Special Female Force" is director Wilson Chin's latest work, and it is the remake of a highly popular Hong Kong martial arts-action comedy titled "The Inspector Wears Skirts".
Produced by Jackie Chan, the original 1988 movie is known to be the female version of "Police Academy" and had spawned a sequel the following year.
Having a more or less similar concept, the remake features a line-up of fairly fresh main cast as well as some familiar local faces including Aaron Aziz, Chris Tong Bing Yu and Cathryn Lee Yuan Ling.
The movie follows a team of six female police recruits who are trained to become the new members of a special female force called "The Rafflesia", and exact revenge on the notorious triad leader who caused the disbandment of the original force 25 years ago.
Starring Eliza Sam, Joyce Cheng, Jeana Ho, Anita Chui and more, "Special Female Force" will be shown in Malaysia on 13 October 2016.
Cinema Online: The movie is a remake of a 1988 film, why did you decide to remake it?
Wilson: I really love the original film. It has action, comedy, friendship and everything! So I discussed with Charlie, "Why don't we make a film about pretty girls with action?" Because recently, there are a lot of action films in the market, but for a film with a team of women is very hard to find. That's why we decided to do the remake.
So what is the main difference between the film and the original?
Wilson: Of course it would be the shooting location as almost 70 percent of this film is shot in Malaysia while the original film was only shot in Hong Kong.
For the two actresses, how do you feel when you received the script? Because the original film is quite a legend, do you feel pressured by it?
Eliza: This is my first time starring in a film, but I have been in dramas before. Usually the roles that I play are those meek, weak and cute kinds of girls, the kind that you need to protect. So this is the first time which I played a character that needs to protect others, and is kind of stubborn too. So when I found out that I got this role, I was very excited because this is my first movie, and I also got a chance to try a different role.
Chris: When I first received the script, I was very excited and I was also prepared for it. The original film shows the girls going through transformation in terms of abilities and maturities, but my character is different because she is already a good fighter, she's cool, and almost perfect, so there's no room for character growth. But I feel like if I get the chance to shoot the film again, I can definitely do a lot better.
This is the first time Aaron worked with a Hong Kong production, how do you feel about it?
Eliza Sam and Chris Tong at the Majestic Hotel conference room.
Aaron: I guess destiny works in a very mysterious way, but it was a great and challenging experience, especially since I don't understand the language.
How do you communicate with them then?
Aaron: Basically I know what the director wants from me and I can understand from his gestures and certain sounds and intonation.
What is the difference between working in Hong Kong and in local movie productions?
Aaron: The film techniques are different like the stunt that they used [in Hong Kong], and the props are very realistic such as the guns because you can really see the shells coming out.
Now that you have made your Hong Kong film debut, and you probably would participate in more films in the future, would you consider taking Cantonese language lessons?
Aaron: I might. Because I've always been associated with Hong Kong, I was the Hong Kong tourism board ambassador, and I also work very closely with Hong Kong across the board.
Why did the director decide to pick Aaron to play this role?
Aaron will star in another Hong Kong film directed by Wilson Chin.
Wilson: Because the ladies told me that they want the most handsome guy in Malaysia to play the part! [laugh]
Charlie: We asked some of our colleagues here like who is the most famous guy in this territory, and all of them said Aaron Aziz.
Chris: Actually the producer and the director did watch some of Aaron's movies, like "KL Gangster".
Wilson: We are honoured to have such a big star joining us.
Since this is an action film, did anyone get injured during filming?
Charlie: The two of them did get injured because I remembered driving them to the hospital.
Eliza: Almost every girl got injured!
Aaron: Yeah, I pity the girls because they have to wear skimpy outfits, and they had to jump into rivers, and when they got out, you can see there're like worms sticking to their leg, and there're also barnacles, so they got cut and bleed. So I really respect all the actresses because they rarely complain.
To the director, the film seems to have been shot in quite a few locations in Malaysia and there're a few local actors in the movie as well. Is it because you are trying to tackle the market and box office collection?
Wilson: Well, it's because I've been here before for vacation and for concerts, so I know that Malaysia has a lot of beautiful scenery. Also, I think the country has a very strong support on the film industry. For example, in Hong Kong, it is hard for us to find an area where they let us use more than 20 guns to shoot a gunfight scene. Even the airport let us shoot the scene. So, I think that Malaysia is a great place to shoot film and is very supportive of the film industry.
For the cast, how is the experience working in this film as a whole?
Another group photo of the director, producer and cast.
Aaron: I'm very lucky to be able to enter the Hong Kong market with the help of Charlie and Wilson. I'm grateful to be given the chance to play in this small role.
Chris: This was a great opportunity for me to expand my career in Hong Kong. From this movie, I gained a lot of experience, for examples, I learn a bit of fighting from the action scenes. Even though shooting this film is quite challenging, it is worth it.
Eliza: I'm very excited to be a part of a Hong Kong and Malaysian film. It's my first entry into the film market, so it's a really exciting moment for me. And I'm also very thankful to Charlie and Wilson because most of the roles that I had before were always the weak, kind and nice role, the kind of girl that always get protected. But this time, someone actually took a chance on me to do a stronger role where I get to fight, be a part of a police force and use guns and knives, so it's really different from what I've always done.
What would you say is the most rewarding experience working in this film?
Chris: Friendship, I guess. [laugh]
Eliza: Yeah, I've been asked this a lot since I came here, like filming a movie with so many girls, were there any troubles or cat fights? But luckily for us, it was the opposite. Maybe because the movie is about a bunch girls who don't know each other that come to the same place and had to work together to achieve something. So because we are all people that didn't know each other, we came to learn something by working together, and that's how we become closer because we kind of put all of our guards down, and just wanted everybody to be well, so I think that's one of my biggest rewards.
Aaron: This is also one of the ways where Malaysian market can grow. I've done production in Malaysia and English, and now Chinese. To me, this movie is like an art, even though I don't understand the language, we're still able to connect, it's because of the art. And we also wish that this movie will be able to bridge connections between Malaysia and Hong Kong. Hopefully, there will be more collaboration like this in the future, so that Malaysia will be more known in the outside market.
This is a must-ask question, what is the box office expectation for Malaysia?
The director and producer explain.
Charlie: Actually I never liked using this kind of expectation to put more pressure on the cast. Since this film has quite a lot of Malaysian elements, I'm quite confident in it, especially since we have Aaron here to help us out and the government here is very helpful too. I'm not going to mention the exact amount but I hope that we can at least hit 7 figures.
Wilson: So if the reception and box office collection is good, we will consider shooting a sequel.
Cinema Online, 11 October 2016