thechild’seye 3D horror
From the Pang brothers come another new horror offering – The Child’s Eye – in 3D no less.
NEVER work with animals or children,” warned American comedian W.C. Fields, but horror maestros twin brothers Danny and Oxide Pang from Hong Kong boldly tackled both in their latest horror offering The Child’s Eye.
Touted to be the first 3D Cantonese horror flick, the film sees six youngsters who are vacationing in Thailand being stranded in a shabby hotel. The group encounters a series of unexplainable events. They meet three weird children, discover a disembodied hand and are haunted by a female ghost.
When the guys in the group mysteriously disappear, the girls go looking for them and follow a puppy that can see ghosts, eventually leading them to the hotel’s underground passages.
“According to general perception, it’s easier for children and dogs to see a ghost. That got us thinking, ‘ why don’t we do another horror film about some children and a dog who can see spirits?’” said Danny when met at the Media Asia Group office in Hong Kong recently.
“We had enough time to teach the kids. In addition, the dog was trained beforehand. So it was not really difficult. You just need a lot of time and patience,” said the 44-year-old director. (Oxide was not present at the interview.)
Maybe the bigger challenge lies in making the film in 3D.
“Everything had to be done at a slower pace. We could only manage an average of 14 shots every day, compared to 30 shots when making normal movies,” said Danny.
Apart from serving up a 3D horror treat, just what tricks did they have up their sleeves, after scaring the wits out of us with those horrifying visions featured in The Eye (2002), The Eye 2 (2004) and Recycle (2006)? “This time we have something that resembles a hybrid of a human and a dog. Creating that was a new experience and we applied different techniques,” Danny revealed.
The idea of the hybrid creature came from a random image the siblings found on the Internet.
“The picture left such an impression on us and we decided to put it in this film.”
For their latest horror masterpiece, the brothers gathered a young cast that included Shawn Yue, Rainie Yang and Elanne Kong.
“ The Eye 10 is a comedy while this one is pure horror and it tells a sad story,” explained the director.
During the shoot, all eyes were on Yue and Yang, who were rumoured to be a couple when they starred in Taiwanese idol drama Tomorrow (also known as The Love Book) eight years ago.
“We didn’t even know they had collaborated before. We only found out about it when we started shooting. We think it’s old news and I don’t think anyone would be interested,” said Danny.
However, he was wrong. The interactions between the pair continued to provide fodder for gossip for the Chinese media, which painted the pair as being “awkward and unnatural” during the shoot.
Kong was quick to dispel the rumours when she was interviewed by the Malaysian press.
“No, Rainie loves me more than Shawn,” she quipped, leaping to her co-stars’ defence. “They were professional. The atmosphere at work was good. Sometimes you don’t have to believe what you read in the news,” she said.
The 23-year-old was not lying when she said she has become fast friends with Yang.
“I used to watch Rainie in her TV series and listened to her songs. When I met her, I felt like I’d known her for a long time. We became great friends. She would come to my hotel room to chat with me. We talked about anything, including our relationships and career. By the end of the shoot, we actually hugged each other and cried.
“We have been keeping in touch until today. Every time she comes to Hong Kong, I would visit her at her hotel, even if we only have 15 minutes to catch up,” she said.
The Child’s Eye was not Kong’s first role in a horror flick.
“Two years ago, I did Scared 2 Die, another horror production by the Pang brothers.
‘Everything had to be done at a slower pace,’ says Danny Pang about filming in 3D.
Unlike before, I am now more familiar with the filming process and know what expressions to put on to be scary,” said Kong, adding that she is a huge fan of the horror genre, her favourites being The Eye and Shutter.
Shooting the film in 3D came as a brand new experience for the actress.
“There was a lot more waiting in between, because with 3D, every angle and position has to be precise. I needed some time to adjust to that at first,” she said.
The filming took place in Bangkok, which is home to various tales of horror, as well as folk legends. As to whether the cast and crew had any supernatural encounters during the shooting, Kong said: “Luckily, the ghosts don’t ‘like’ me. My assistant went into a lift once and saw a long-haired girl behind her in the mirror.”
Meanwhile, Danny had never seen a ghost in his life. “I have heard people claiming that they saw spirits even when they were in Thailand for a day. We lived there for over a decade but have not encountered anything peculiar,” said Danny.
Speaking to Danny, it was hard not to think about The Eye, the film many consider to be the brothers’ best work – an opinion shared by the filmmaker himself.
“We spent 10 years working on the story. It’s the kind of story that’s hard to come by,” he said.
After The Eye, the pair kept the momentum going with The Eye 2 and The Eye 10, but Danny, who is the older of the twins, was contented to stop at three films.
“I don’t want to do another film on The Eye because it was already so good. The first one is always the best and it’s difficult to live up to the success but we try our best,” he said.
The Eye has not only propelled Malaysian actress Lee Sinje (now married to Oxide) to stardom, but has also opened the door to Hollywood for the Pang brothers, as they went on to direct Hollywood star Nicolas Cage in Bangkok Dangerous, the remake of their debut in 1999.
“I don’t feel anything (about going Hollywood). I just try to do the best for every film I make. As directors, the environment may be different – you might speak English in this film and Cantonese or Thai in the next – but the mentality would still be the same,” said the director. So what’s next for the duo? “I would love to do a love story and we are getting someone to write the script. But when it comes out, I’m sure you guys would say that it’s a horror movie. You wouldn’t believe that there would be no ghost in it,” he quipped, while adding that they are planning to come up with a 3D martial arts flick.
As for Kong, the pretty lass is busy shooting a TV series in Beijing for China Central Television (CCTV). On top of that, she is cutting a Mandarin album.
“I’m a greedy person. I want to do all three (films, TV and music) at the same time,” she said sheepishly.
“I enjoy performing on stage and seeing the audiences’ immediate response, whereas I get to experience different lives through acting,” said Kong, who has tackled some challenging roles in the past, including a leukaemia patient (in 2009’s Basic Love) and an autistic girl in Suo Ming Tong Hua (loosely translated as Fatal Fairytale), another upcoming Pang film.
Kong revealed that she would really want to star in a love story.
“I want to go back to basics. I’ve done thrillers and attempted dramatic roles. Now I really want to do a simple, romantic film. I want to experience a great love affair in a film,” said the actress.
The Xiamen (Fujian, China) native, who came to Hong Kong at the age of three, became a much sought-after new talent in the Chinese scene for her ability to converse fluently in Mandarin, Cantonese and even Hokkien.
“I feel blessed. It enables me to take up roles in not just Hong Kong films and series, but also Chinaproductions. It’s convenient because I don’t have to pick up another new language when I act in the CCTV production. So I think I have my mum to thank,” she concluded with a laugh.
Ill-fated lovers: Shawn Yue and Rainie Yang are a couple on the verge of breaking up in Pang brothers’ new 3D horror film TheChild’sEye.
‘Now I really want to do a simple, romantic film,’ says Elanne Kong.