For the love of it

Simon Yam dreams of star­ring in a love story.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SHOWBIZ - By BRIAN MARTIN

IT may come as a sur­prise to some, but Simon Yam, widely ac­claimed for his gritty portrayal of gang­sters, would love to act in a love story.

The Hong Kong ac­tor has played a broad range of char­ac­ters in his long film ca­reer, with over 100 films to his name, but feels that he is be­ing type­cast as an ac­tion and char­ac­ter star.

“I would love to play a ro­man­tic role in a love story,” he told StarTwo in a re­cent in­ter­view in Hainan, China.

Though in the midst of film­ing two movies, a po­lice story and a com­edy, The Pas­sion Is­land, the su­per­star took time off from his busy sched­ule to take part in the Mis­sion Hills Star Tro­phy golf tour­na­ment, a four-day pro-am event that in­volved top golfers and golf­play­ing celebri­ties from around the world.

In April, Yam’s com­pelling per­for­mance as a strug­gling shoe­maker in Echoes Of The Rain­bow won him the best ac­tor award in the Hong Kong Film Awards. Af­ter more than half a life­time in show busi­ness, the ac­tor re­mains pop­u­lar and well-recog­nised.

Asked to name his favourite role, Yam, 56, said it has yet to come. “Peo­ple are al­ways ask­ing if I would like to act in Hollywood like my friends Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Chow

‘I love mak­ing movies and I am con­tent with do­ing just that here in Asia,’ says golf lover Yun-Fat, and my an­swer is no.

“Why would I want to spend five years in the States to make two movies? It takes too long to pro­duce a movie in Amer­ica. I love my job and I love mak­ing movies and I am con­tent with do­ing just that here in Asia,” he said. How does he pre­pare for a role? “For my pick­pocket char­ac­ter in Spar­row, I went to an old street in Hong Kong. Ev­ery­thing there is like it’s from the 1940s and I was there ev­ery day for a month to learn how the ac­tual pick­pock­ets worked. Luck­ily for me, I didn’t get my pocket picked!”

Yam has played many gang­ster roles and his most fa­mous one is as a triad boss in Elec­tion. He did his re­search by spend­ing time in north­east China. “The peo­ple there are tough and I tried to im­merse my­self in their cul­ture,” he said.

Re­fer­ring to his award-win­ning per­for­mance in Echoes Of The Rain­bow star­ring op­po­site San­dra Ng, Yam said he was paid very lit­tle for the movie.

“The di­rec­tor told me there wasn’t a big bud­get. I told him to just give me pocket money be­cause when the script is good and the di­rec­tor is good, I don’t mind be­ing paid just an al­lowance.”

The Omega am­bas­sador has been to Malaysia so of­ten that he knows a few Ba­hasa Malaysia words. Hav­ing vis­ited Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Malacca many times, he has re­cently dis­cov­ered the joys of golf­ing in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.

“There are so many good golf cour­ses within a half-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu town cen­tre. I re­cently played golf at the Kinabalu Golf Club, which was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as the course is lo­cated half­way up Mt Kinabalu,” he said.

Pho­tog­ra­phy re­mains the shut­ter­bug’s pas­sion and golf comes a close sec­ond. “I would love to play more and re­duce my hand­i­cap (he plays to a re­spectable 18), but I only get a chance to play about once or twice a month when I go to Shen­zhen (China),” he said, adding that as a golfer he has met many peo­ple of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties. “We don’t speak the same lan­guage, but we com­mu­ni­cate through the sport.”

Look­ing tanned, the re­sult of a lot of swim­ming and div­ing for his movie The Pas­sion Is­land, Yam said he will be in Malaysia early next year for the of­fi­cial open­ing of Omega’s new bou­tique at the Pavil­ion shop­ping cen­tre in Kuala Lumpur.

“I have been an Omega am­bas­sador since 2002 and it has been a fun part­ner­ship. I have been to many of their events, and they have taken me to lots of places,” said Yam, who is mar­ried to Hong Kong su­per­model Qi Qi, with whom he has a daugh­ter.

A good sport: Simon Yam.

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