Selasa, 8 Oktober 2013

The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

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The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

Studying reptiles to play villain in 'KL Gangster 2'


MULTI-AWARD-WINNING film and television stalwart Rosyam Nor is one actor who is happy when the audience hates him.

KL Gangster 2 marks an acting comeback for the 46-year-old who has spent the past two years working as a producer and director.

So keen were the filmmakers to get him on board the action flick that they wrote the role of murderous mob boss Tailong specifically for him as enticement.

Rosyam says: "I felt I had a huge responsibility to bring the character to life. So I tried to make him as violent and vile as possible. If the viewers don't hate me, then I haven't done my job."

To play the gun-and-sword-wielding gang leader, he studied the movements and mannerisms of reptiles such as crocodiles, lizards and snakes. "He's like a reptile, the way he looks at people, the way he moves."

His commitment to the role carried on from research into filming.

Despite being older than his co-stars Aaron Aziz, 37, and Adi Putra, 32, he insisted on doing all but three of the action and fight scenes himself. "I think I made the shooting longer because I had to take a lot of breaks in between the action scenes to catch my breath," he says with a laugh. "And for that, I am grateful to Aaron, Adi and the rest of the cast and crew."

The nephew of late Malaysian film veteran Hussein Abu Hassan, Rosyam is a decorated actor.

His accolades include Best Supporting Male Actor award at the 1998 Asia-Pacific Film Festival, for his role as a serial killer and rapist in the 1998 thriller Lenjan.

He burst onto the scene in 1986 with teen drama Gila-Gila Remaja, which was directed by his uncle and co-starred his cousin, Faizal Hussein.

Rosyam, a father of five, is modest when told that Adi had mentioned in an interview that he was excited to work with him, describing the older actor as his mentor.

Rosyam says: "I treat him and Aaron like my younger brothers. I was also learning from them and adapting myself to their style. We are all on the same level."

He also had no problems taking orders from a younger director, Syamsul Yusof, 29.

"It's my first time working under him and I must say he is very meticulous in his work he is detailed and he knows what he wants. Even though he is younger than me, I have a lot of respect for him as a director." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

Related story:

Aaron Aziz gang up with Adi Putra

Sean Lau and Louis Koo all fired up


Filming with real fire was nerve-racking for co-stars Sean Lau Ching Wan and Louis Koo Tin Lok.

LONG-TIME collaborators Sean Lau Ching Wan and Louis Koo Tin Lok play a pair of firemen brothers trying to rescue people from a burning office tower in their new movie, Inferno.

The serious firefighting drama features many scenes of massive fires and the actors are not ashamed to admit that they felt "nervous" on the set when they had to do most of the stunts themselves.

The film's fire scenes are a combination of real footage of fire and computer-generated imagery. Reportedly, 70% of what is seen onscreen are real flames.

Koo, 42, says: "There were some scenes where the script said a stunt double would come in. But when we were about to start filming, we didn't see any stunt doubles, so we ended up having to do a lot of the action stuff on our own."

Lau, 49, adds: "Of course, if you're very scared, you can tell the directors and they will arrange for a double. But as two male actors, we just decided to keep that to ourselves and go in and do the stunts."

The film also stars Malaysian actress Lee Sinje, 37, who is married to the film's co-director Oxide Pang in real life.

Ask if there was any pressure acting opposite her and Koo, ever ready with a joke, says: "Even though she plays Ching Wan's wife, I ended up having a lot more scenes with her. And as soon as I knew that, I felt reassured, because the director will protect me from harm since he has to protect his wife, right?"

More seriously, Lau says: "Sinje is an excellent actress and she does not get any preferential treatment on the set. You don't even think about whether she's married to the director or not. You just do your part and she does hers."

Put the two actors together in the same room and some black humour is inevitable.

At the interview, Lau readily admits that he is "always goofing around only with Louis". Speaking in a mix of Mandarin and Cantonese, he adds: "I think it's because we've done many comedies together before, so we just naturally like to joke about things on set."

The chemistry is apparent between the two actors, who have played a good number of strong, silent and cool guys on screen. With each other, however, they are sunny and relaxed, often completing each other's sentences.

Perhaps a bromance is inevitable - after all, they have worked a dozen times together: Since their first collaboration in the comedy La Brassiere (2001), they have gone on to co-star in a clutch of diverse films, from the colourful retro comedy Fantasia (2004) to gambling comedy Poker King (2009) to crime thriller Overheard (2009).

Besides making light of the prospect of getting burnt, the two leading men wisecrack about their tanned skin: Lau has naturally dark skin, while Koo reportedly goes for tanning sessions to set himself apart from the usual fair-skinned idol.

Koo deadpans that their dark complexion gives the lighting departments on movie sets quite a headache.

"When the two of us are in a scene together, it's no problem because the lighting guys will just shine extra light on us. But when someone else comes into the picture, that's when it gets challenging.

"That's why all women who make movies with me look super pretty. The light makes them extra fair and it's almost like we're making a music video or something," he says with a laugh.

The two actors clearly get along, but are quick to point out that they have major differences too.

Lau, who is married to former actress Amy Kwok, 46, and has no children, says: "Louis is actually the more serious and calm one, and I'm more cheeky. We have very contrasting personalities."

He adds half-jokingly that compared with Koo's "workaholic" ways, he is more relaxed. "I don't like to overload myself with work. I need to go home and spend some time with my wife," says Lau.

"Though the funny thing is that, when I'm working in Hong Kong and go home after shoots, my wife and I have nothing much to talk about. When I'm filming in other places, we suddenly have to be texting and calling each other, and we have so much to talk about."

As for Koo's supposedly very hardworking lifestyle, there seems to be some evidence for it. The bachelor lets on that he is "so busy" with work, he does not even have time to undergo a simple Lasik surgery for his myopia.

He explains: "In the movie, I have to dive into the water and save some people, but that was really difficult because I wear contact lenses. Still, I had to bear it. I didn't go for Lasik surgery because you need about two weeks to rest your eyes afterwards, and I don't have two weeks of free time to do that."

In fact, neither he nor Lau has had time to watch their new film yet. "We've been promoting this movie for weeks now, but we never had the time to sit down at the premieres to watch the movie. We're always whisked away to our next event and destination," says Koo.

Hopefully, they will get the chance to catch it some time before they start the promotional rounds for upcoming crime thriller The White Storm which, once again, stars the two actors. – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

> Inferno is currently playing in cinemas nationwide.

Aaron Aziz gangs up with Adi Putra


Despite all the brouhaha, the cast of KL Gangster 2 is optimistic about the film.

WATCHING gangster movies when he was younger has paid off for Aaron Aziz. "I watched the Young And Dangerous series and when I went to Hong Kong, I expected to see people fighting in the streets. But that didn't happen, of course."

The highly anticipated follow-up to 2011's KL Gangster took RM12mil at the box office and is the highest-grossing local film of all time.

Aaron, 37, and Adi Putra anchor the film and play a pair of brothers caught up in the seedy underbelly of Kuala Lumpur.

While the original film has been praised for being gritty and realistic, Aaron and the film's producer, Datuk Yusof Haslam, insist that the story in the two films depict a hyper-realised and exaggerated version of the world of gangsters in KL.

"It's fiction, a work of fantasy," says Yusof, whose son Syamsul Yusof is the director and writer behind the two films.

Indeed it is. KL Gangster 2, a prequel to the first film, features violent street brawls and shoot-outs between warring gang members armed with machine guns.

Mob boss Tailong, played by veteran actor Rosyam Nor, flies around in a helicopter and fires at his pursuing enemies with a gun in each hand while perched atop a Hummer sport-utility vehicle speeding along a highway.

KL Gangster 2 has been the victim of a different kind of crime. A month before its cinematic release, the entire film was leaked online and sold as pirated DVDs.

The stress brought about by piracy took its toll on Syamsul, who has refused to appear at the film's promotional activities and has been avoiding the press since the issue arose.

The new film, which cost RM4.5mil to make and took close to two years to complete, is the biggest undertaking to date for film and television company Skop Production, which Yusof set up in 1985. In comparison, the original film cost RM1.5mil.

While the first film starts out with Malek being released from prison and depicts the two brothers as enemies, the prequel tells of how Malek got into a life of crime and how the feud between the siblings escalated.

Adi says that everyone involved in the movie is aware that the expectations of fans of the first movie are high.

"The pressure is definitely there for us to make this movie even better than the first. There's a lot more action in this movie. We want the scenes to be more memorable," he says.

The father of one, who is married to film producer Aida Yusof, came under media scrutiny when he became embroiled in a scandal – a Johor businessman lodged a police report against the actor in August, accusing him of sending lewd photos and text messages to his wife.

Adi declined to comment on the issue, saying that it is a police case and that he has to "respect the authorities" and let them handle it.

Both he and Aaron are upset by the movie leak. Aaron says that having such a high-profile film such as KL Gangster 2 pirated before its release puts the spotlight on the real problems plaguing the local film industry.

"I'm frustrated by the leak, just as I was frustrated when certain quarters in the Malaysian film industry accused Singaporean actors of coming in and stealing their jobs. Having pirates steal our work is a much bigger problem that is damaging to the whole industry," says Aaron who hails from Singapore.

His starring role as Malek, a street-wise mechanic forced into a thug's life by family circumstances, cements his status as one of the top actors across the Causeway.

He and his family are Malaysian permanent residents.

Besides his action roles in blockbuster movies such as KL Gangster and race movie Evolusi KL Drift (2008) and its sequel, Evolusi KL Drift 2 (2010), Aaron is also famous for his romantic roles.

His romance drama Ombak Rindu, released in the same year as KL Gangster, is the second-highest-grossing local film, with RM10.9mil in box office takings.

He is also a familiar face on television, starring in popular dramas such as Nora Elena and Janji Diana. So influential is he that Syamsul gave him plenty of leeway to develop and flesh out his character as Malek.

In the movie's climactic, three-way fight scene between Malek, Adi's character Jai and Tailong, the director went through three different choreographers because Aaron did not feel the fighting sequences were realistic enough.

"In the end, I had to do the choreography myself. Much as I respect the original choreographers, I felt that the fighting styles of these three characters needed to have a flow and a natural rhythm," says the father of three, who has been based in Malaysia since 2006.

Adi, too, had plenty of creative input and came up with his character's traits and quirks. For example, Jai, who sports a bleached hairdo in the sequel, is always seen with an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth.

"The bleached hair and cigarette are my ideas. You'll have to watch the movie to find out why he never actually lights up the cigarettes," Adi says. – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

> KL Gangster 2 is playing in cinemas nationwide.

Related story:

Studying reptiles to play a villain in 'KL Gangster 2'


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