Andy Lau is a man on fire

Call andy Lau a vet­eran ac­tor and the 52-year-old will have you know that he finds it eas­ier now to do ac­tion films.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By Yip Wai Yee

Do not call ev­er­green Hong Kong su­per­star Andy Lau “old”. Dur­ing a group in­ter­view with the well-pre­served 52-year-old star in Sin­ga­pore re­cently, a mag­a­zine reporter dared to say he was “get­ting old” – twice, no less – lead­ing him to im­me­di­ately sit up.

Jok­ingly, he looked to the se­cu­rity per­son­nel present and ex­claimed in Man­darin: “Who is this reporter? Get her out of here. I am not old – just ma­ture.”

He then laughed and told the reporter to go ahead with her ques­tion, as a clear ges­ture that there were no hard feel­ings. Still, it was ob­vi­ous that age was none­the­less a rather sen­si­tive is­sue for him.

Ear­lier, at the press con­fer­ence for his lat­est movie Firestorm, Lau was asked if he finds it “tougher” to do ac­tion films th­ese days. He was quick to re­ply: “No, who says it’s tougher? I’m very re­laxed, do­ing ac­tion movies.”

The ac­tor also told re­porters that he un­der­took most of the stunt work him­self, in­clud­ing the fight scenes and jump­ing off an 11-storey build­ing. He said breezily: “In fact, I would say that it’s eas­ier to do ac­tion movies now. Back in the day, when do­ing wire­work, we had only one wire hold­ing us. But th­ese days, we have four wires hold­ing us up. Don’t you think that makes things a lot eas­ier?”

In Firestorm, he re­quired a stunt dou­ble for only a few se­quences. “I can still do many of the ac­tion se­quences my­self. I’m still young, you know,” he said with a chuckle.

His Peter Pan out­look is very dif­fer­ent from that of fel­low Hong Kong star Jackie Chan, 58, who openly de­clared him­self “too old and tired” to be do­ing ma­jor ac­tion work. Last De­cem­ber, Chan had said that year’s block­buster CZ12 would be his fi­nal ma­jor ac­tion flick, and that he would hence­forth leave most of the death-de­fy­ing stunts to oth­ers.

But Lau is not so ea­ger to give up. He said: “I’m hon­est when I say that if I think I can still do th­ese ac­tion movies, I will go ahead and do them for as long as I can, by my­self.”

Fa­mously known as a worka­holic, he still has a lot of pas­sion for what he does, even af­ter three decades in the busi­ness. As he put it: “Act­ing and mak­ing films, to me, is a very en­joy­able process. Some peo­ple like play­ing bas­ket­ball, oth­ers like en­joy­ing a cigar. But for me, it’s act­ing. I con­sider it my hobby.”

off­screen and be­hind the scenes, Lau, it seems, is just as busy. Lit­tle won­der then that he has gained a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing one of the Chi­nese lan­guage film in­dus­try’s best men­tors. As the owner of film pro­duc­tion com­pany Fo­cus Films, he has pumped money into many films – not just the com­mer­cial block­busters, but also smaller, indie works. Re­cent ex­am­ples in­clude indie flicks A Sim­ple Life (2011) and Gal­lants (2010), crit­i­cally ac­claimed films which he fi­nanced as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and which also went on to bag sev­eral awards.

Lau gave a sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion for bankrolling such films: “I think we should bring Chi­nese films to the fore­front, into the in­ter­na­tional spot­light. of course, I am only one man, but I want to do what­ever I can in my own ca­pac­ity to help.”

For Firestorm, which cost US$20mil (RM64mil) to make, he is also credited as pro­ducer. His men­tor­ing skills are ap­par­ent, too, as he let on that he gave plenty of ad­vice to first-time di­rec­tor Alan Yuen. Yuen is pri­mar­ily known as a screen­writer for ac­tion films such as Shaolin (2011), New Po­lice Story (2004) and the re­cent The White Storm (2013), which is now show­ing in cine­mas.

Said Lau: “He’s a new di­rec­tor, so we re­ally sat down to­gether for days to go over his script and see which bits we need to im­prove on or what scenes would be harder to shoot. This kind of prepa­ra­tion work is te­dious, but nec­es­sary.”

Asked who is the real boss be­tween the two of them, he dead­panned: “out­side of the set, he lis­tens to me. on the set, I lis­ten to him. I still have to give him some face on set.”

Flash­ing his charm and charisma through­out the in­ter­view, he was, as usual, a lot less chatty when ques­tions veered to­wards his per­sonal life.

The fiercely pri­vate star, who is mar­ried to for­mer Malaysian beauty queen Carol Chu, 47, and has a 11/2-year-old daugh­ter, would not say more be­yond the fact that he is the type who “rushes home” as soon as work is over.

“But I was like that even be­fore hav­ing a daugh­ter. I’ve al­ways been a homely guy. Why should I loi­ter around af­ter work?” he said.

He dodged all other ques­tions on his fam­ily life by chang­ing the sub­ject.

At one point, he said in jest: “Ac­tu­ally, I can share with you a lot of sto­ries about this topic, but I’m not at lib­erty to share them now. Maybe, when I re­ally turn old, I will write a mem­oir and I’ll share all my sto­ries then.” Go­ing by how de­fi­ant he is about age­ing, fans are go­ing to have to wait quite a while be­fore that hap­pens. – The Straits Times, Sin­ga­pore/Asia News Net­work

Firestorm is play­ing in cine­mas na­tion­wide.

Love what you do: For 52-year-old andy Lau, act­ing is more of a hobby than a job.

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