Shooting the movie Line Walker in the notoriously violent and crime-ridden slums of Brazil proved to be more exciting than expected for star Louis Koo.
“Our film set was guarded by the local police when we were there. But when we had to go into a region which was not accessible to police, we had to rely on the local security forces in that area,” the Hong Kong actor recounted, adding that they heard sounds of a shootout and saw walls riddled with bullet holes, which added to the thrill of filming the spy flick.
Was he worried when he heard the gun shots? “There was no point in getting worried. When the people around you have guns and the bullets are whizzing past, there isn’t much you can do even if you really get shot.”
Hearing that, we asked about the injuries he sustained during the shoot. Seeing the concern on our faces, Koo quickly allayed our worries. “Yes, but they were just skin deep. And, they were not gunshot wounds. Those were just injuries I sustained while shooting the film.”
Fortunately, the actor looked none the worse for wear when he was recently in Malaysia to launch the movie. Line Walkers is an adaptation of the popular 2014 TVB series, which notched numerous wins at television awards shows in South-East Asia such as Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards 2014, TVB Star Awards Malaysia 2014, Singapore StarHub TVB Awards 2014, Taiwan’s TVBS Awards, 15th Huading Awards 2015, Weibo’s Star 2014.
The movie is directed by Jazz Boon who produced the original TVB drama, and deals with undercover agents who have lost contact with their handlers. It also stars Charmaine Sheh and Benz Hui, who are the only two actors from the original show.
In Line Walker, Koo is at the centre of a bittersweet bromance, a tense love-hate relationship with his co-star Nick Cheung. “The brotherly bond I have with Nick’s character this time is akin to the relationship between husband and wife. We don’t want to lose each other, yet we also hate one another. And we both feel very hurt about the things the other is doing,” said Koo, 45, recalling how the two mobsters sway between double-crossing each other and saving each other’s lives, over and over again.
Most of his scenes are with Cheung, and Koo described the relationship between his character Siu Yeah and Cheung’s character Lam as “originally like two brothers”.
“They grew up together as childhood playmates. Then they became the top guns of a syndicate. Following that, the two begin to get entangled in a power struggle, but the syndicate in question is a criminal cartel. And in the midst of all that, Line Walker is actually about discovering who the undercover agent is. So, there is a chance that any one of the characters may be an undercover agent, named Blackjack. So, I take advantage of this kinship to get a lot of things done,” he explained.
“But, my character Siu Yeah prizes brotherhood. So, amid all that he finds himself being caught up in a situation of conflict, and feels torn due to the bonds of their brotherhood,” said Koo, who says that is the only characteristic that he shares with Siu Yeah, whom he described as ‘a playful fellow with a penchant for sports cars’.
There’s a lot of double-crossing going on in this spy movie, so he was asked what would happen if a friend betrays him.
“Well, in a movie, when we discover that someone is a spy or if someone betrays our trust, we’d usually kill the traitor!” he said with a laugh. “But in real life, we cannot help if people want to do things like that. The most we can do is keep our distance from them. It’s not so extreme in real life, though. There is no need to call it betrayal. The most is that we may not be compatible, so we don’t talk to each other that much.”
The dashing actor also spoke of how Line Walker is different from other spy thrillers. “We’ve made spy movies for many years, with the classics being undercover agents in triads and police. But this time around, we’ll be going undercover till you keel over. Anybody could be the undercover agent. So, you have to employ your powers of deduction to unravel the mystery. I feel that this is a very fresh play on this theme.”