Cool cats

Louis Koo and Benny Chan aim to wow cat lovers with Hong Kong com­edy flick Meow.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - By SETO KIT YAN and ONG JING WEN en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

CATS as alien in­vaders who are out to take over the world?

That’s the premise of Hong Kong sci-fi com­edy Meow, and it doesn’t sound odd at all.

Af­ter all, with over 160 mil­lion cat videos on the In­ter­net get­ting mil­lions of views ev­ery day, those fickle fe­lines al­ready have a way of con­quer­ing us hu­mans any­way.

In sep­a­rate phone in­ter­views from Hong Kong last week, Meow di­rec­tor Benny Chan and lead­ing man Louis Koo said they had been wait­ing for the right script to make an­other com­edy to­gether, af­ter their 2006 ac­tion com­edy Rob-BHood.

They then got the idea for their sixth col­lab­o­ra­tion af­ter ob­serv­ing the world­wide craze for cat videos.

“When I saw all these cute cat videos and pic­tures and how peo­ple were trans­fixed by them, I knew that we were onto some­thing,” shared Koo.

“So, we de­cided to make a movie about cats, and fea­ture ev­ery­thing to do with fe­lines in it.”

In Meow, Koo plays the kind­hearted Ng Sau Lung, a re­tired foot­baller who adopts a gi­ant alien named Xix­ili as his pet cat.

The movie also stars main­land Chi­nese ac­tress Ma Li as his wife, Andy Wong as his son and Jes­sica Liu as his daugh­ter.

“When we first started mak­ing the movie, we thought that it would mostly ap­peal to the kids. Then as film­ing pro­gressed, we dis­cov­ered that the ladies loved it even more! As it turns out, lots of peo­ple are just crazy about cats,” mused the 46-year-old ac­tor.

Though nei­ther Koo nor Chan have cats as pets, the di­rec­tor says it was more im­por­tant that the rest of his cast and crew are sim­ply crazy about cats.

“The won­der­ful thing about hav­ing so many cat lovers work­ing with us is that ev­ery­body pays more at­ten­tion to de­tails,” shared di­rec­tor Chan, 47.

He added that a sig­nif­i­cant part of the bud­get went to the spe­cial ef­fects for scenes fea­tur­ing the big cat Xix­ili.

“The most chal­leng­ing part for this movie is adding the vis­ual ef­fects dur­ing post-pro­duc­tion, par­tic­u­larly in the scenes with our big cat mas­cot, Xix­ili.

“In or­der to make it ap­pear re­al­is­tic, we worked with the top post-pro­duc­tion teams from Hong Kong and Korea,” the di­rec­tor ex­plained.

He also said a lot of the painstak­ing work went into ren­der­ing Xix­ili’s soft furry hair, adorable fa­cial ex­pres­sions and hi­lar­i­ous move­ments, all of which fea­ture in more than 1,000 scenes.

Af­ter col­lab­o­rat­ing on six movies to­gether, Koo and Chan have a very com­fort­able work­ing re­la­tion­ship.

Prais­ing Koo for be­ing a pro­fes­sional and ded­i­cated ac­tor, Chan laughed about de­sign­ing Koo’s char­ac­ter, who is a flaky fel­low with a messy mop top.

“In this movie, he will sur­prise au­di­ences. He plays a goofy guy, and it’s a ma­jor con­trast to his pre­vi­ous se­ri­ous film char­ac­ters. Once I de­liv­ered the script for the movie, he agreed with­out hes­i­ta­tion,” he said.

Mean­while Koo, who sounded de­cid­edly chirpier than usual, said that he was glad to be mak­ing a com­edy af­ter a string of ac­tion thrillers re­cently.

“It has been so long since I did com­edy. The dif­fer­ence is we have to keep our­selves in high spir­its through­out the shoot.

“Our aim is to bring joy to every­one. And in Meow ,weuse­a­catto show how a fam­ily can achieve hap­pi­ness to­gether,” Koo con­cluded.

Meow is cur­rently show­ing in cin­e­mas na­tion­wide. For GSC show­times, see next page.

Looks like the gi­ant alien cat has got this fam­ily purring to its tune. — Hand­out

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