When Hong Kong directing duo Sunny Luk and Longman Leung made their directorial debut with Cold War in 2012, the police action thriller became Hong Kong’s highest-grossing movie of the year.
After such success, a sequel was of course, inevitable. Hoping to appeal to all viewers, whether young or old, male or female, the earnest pair sat down to draw up a cast list that would make audiences sit up and take notice.
Original cast members Aaron Kwok, 50, and Tony Leung, 58, reprise their roles as top cops still vying for the ultimate post of Hong Kong’s Commissioner of Police, but since several of the supporting characters got killed off, they had to get themselves some interesting new faces.
Luk said they needed a really big name to act as a foil for the two Deputy Commisioners. “So, we decide to be brave and asked for Chow Yun-Fat. When our bosses said yes, we had to churn out the script fast!” he said in a recent phone interview with the two directors from Hong Kong.
In Cold War 2, Chow, 61, plays Councillor Kan, a powerful lawmaker who resists being made a pivotal pawn in a high stakes game of political maneuvering.
Luk recounted the excitement of planning their first project with Chow, one of Hong Kong’s biggest film stars. “After Chow read the script, he agreed to meet us to discuss further. He’s very amiable and had lots of suggestions and very good ideas to offer. When he arrived for our initial discussion, everybody was especially excited to meet him for the first time.”
The directors let on that the first movie’s beloved bad boy Joe Lee, played by Taiwanese actor Eddie Peng, 33, gets even more screen time. “When Cold War 2 opened the Shanghai International Film Festival, and Eddie’s chillingly bad boy was unveiled, the ladies kept screaming for him. It turns out that girls simply love seeing him play a bad boy,” the two directors laughed.
They were also elated to introduce another bad boy, played by hot Taiwanese actor Tony Yang, 33, (also known as Yo Yang), whom they said was extremely popular with the ladies on the set. “All the female crew members on the set were fawning over Tony. When he got shot in one of the scenes, the female costume artists were scrambling with the female makeup artistes to rush and touch up his fake sweat and blood. Even the female assistant director would step in with some extra finishing touches. They all went out of their way to help him, even though none of it was part of their job,” they revealed, amid more laughter.
Besides its impressive box-offie haul, Cold War was also the biggest winner at the 2013 Hong Kong Film Awards, bagging nine awards: best picture, best director, best screenplay, best actor (for Tony Leung Ka Fai), best new performer (Alex Tsui), best editing, best sound design, best visual effects, and best original film score.
When asked about their chances this time around, Leung replied that they never even thought about awards while making the first movie. “We’re happy just to be part of it. We’re always doing our best. It all depends on the audience. Naturally, we hope each new movie will be better than the previous one,” said Leung.
“The first one had such encouraging results. So sitting down to come up with the story for the second one was really tough. Once that was done, everything else fell into place,” Luk added.
Brushing off rumours that they waited four years to make Cold War 2 just to work around a free spot in Chow’s busy film schedule, the two explained that it was because they took a longer to develop the script. “The script was nine months late. But, a good script takes time. With a cast like that, we could not simply dash out a script,” said Luk.
As for the possibility of a Cold War 3, Leung said they were waiting to see the response from the audience. “Honestly, we already have a framework. But, good things take time to develop. Most importantly, we have to go about doing things the proper way.”
Luk continued, “Sometimes, we may feel that it’s taking very long. But there will be others who tell us that we’re making another one too soon. So, we hope to take some time out to explore new ideas.”