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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

HK filmmaker Dante Lam's new movie loosely based on past events

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Unbeatable director Dante Lam and actor Nick Cheung are fast becoming an unstoppable team as they unleash their new movie That Demon Within.

Three cops engaged in a gun battle in a subway. Two are found dead while one is seriously injured. This is the story of the rogue cop that rocked Hong Kong in 2006. And it is the springboard for Hong Kong director Dante Lam's latest action thriller That Demon Within.

In a recent phone interview from Hong Kong, Lam shared that his new movie is not a story exactly based on Hong Kong's notorious 'Demon Cop'.

"That Demon Within may be inspired by those events, but the plot for the movie is entirely fiction, save for the infamous gory subway scene. It is one which Hong Kong people will know too well," said Lam, 48.

The thriller stars Daniel Wu and Nick Cheung; the latter recently grabbed headlines after winning the Best Actor trophy at the 2014 Hong Kong Film Awards for Unbeatable – another movie directed by Lam. Cheung's collaboration with Lam has proven to be most fruitful; the 2008 Beast Stalker won him seven acting accolades and propelled him to superstardom.

Lam recalled how he had already gotten both Wu and Cheung on board, but had yet to decide on the final casting. After doing extensive research and consultation with psychology experts, Lam made up his mind.

"After examining our storyline and the psychological condition of our protagonist, it was decided that the character had to be younger, which explains how he could still be so deeply affected by childhood trauma," the director explained.

Since Wu is 39 while Cheung is 46, the former was then cast as the reclusive cop and the latter, the ruthless criminal.

In That Demon Within, Wu plays strait-laced policeman Dave Wong, who unknowingly saves the life of the vicious psychopath Hon Kong, then becomes obsessed with apprehending the ringleader of the Demon King gang of robbers,

Though Cheung may have been accorded less screen time this time around, work was equally daunting. "It was mentally exhausting this time, as I had to create a diabolical persona for this character, sometimes with just a smile, as he doesn't say too much."

And even though Cheung did not have to spend months conditioning his body like he did for Unbeatable, the physical challenges were no less demanding. The perfectionist in him meant he constantly insisted on performing all his own stunts and refused to use body double even in long shots, where his character was wearing a full-face mask.

The multiple-award-winning actor also had to endure hours of makeup for several of his scenes. One of the most extensive sessions required him to endure some five hours of having prosthetic makeup applied on his face for a fiery inferno scene. "But, the removal of prosthetic makeup adhesive is even worse as the process took hours and requires the continuous application of special solvent that made my face stiff and red," he recalled.

After being in front of the camera for 25 years, Cheung made his directorial debut with a horror flick that was filmed in Malaysia last year. The movie which tells of spooky events encountered by a Cantonese opera troupe during the Hungry Ghost Festival is due to hit cinemas later this year.

> That Demon Within opens in cinemas nationwide today.

X marks the spot: 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past' cast ready to take over the globe

Posted: 23 Apr 2014 01:00 AM PDT

A-list stars will give the ultimate 'X-Men X-perience' as they bring the movie to fans around the world next month.

Fancy seeing Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence in a city near you? Well, that dream may just come true next month! These X-Men: Days Of Future Past stars will be joined by other cast mates such as Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage and more in a worldwide tour promoting the summer movie.

The actors will bring the film to audiences around the world through global premieres, live chats, and special video clips and photos.

The "X-Men X-Perience" kicks off with the entire cast gathered at the global premiere in New York on May 10, who will then go their separate ways around the world and appear in different countries that same week.

Stay tuned for more information about how you can keep an eye on the X-Men heroes as they bring one of this summer's most anticipated movie to the world.

Audiences at home and in attendance will be able to watch and participate in the red carpet arrival live streams featured exclusively on selected online portals, ask the cast questions through various live chats all week, see behind-the-scenes photos and videos from the red carpet events, watch exclusive clips, view photos and video highlights from each premiere, and much more.

Now, if you want to be part of the experience, just send your questions to the cast using #XMenLive on the social media sites.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. 

Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask.

Prequel alert: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in New Zealand

Posted: 22 Apr 2014 09:35 PM PDT

Reports say that Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh will be reprising her role in the new film, tentatively titled The Green Destiny.

A prequel to the Oscar-winning Chinese martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will be shot in New Zealand this year, Film Auckland said.

The original movie, released in 2000, broke new ground in introducing Western audiences to Chinese cinema and Film Auckland's deputy chairman Alex Lee said securing the follow-up was a major coup for New Zealand.

"Over the last 18 months it's been very quiet and it's nice we're finally getting traction," he told Radio New Zealand. "It's a production that will require a vast number of resources, facilities, technicians and crew."

New Zealand is no stranger to big-budget movie shoots, providing stunning backdrops for both the The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

But Lee said subsidy changes allowing major productions to claim back up to 25% of their budget as rebates were a decisive factor in Auckland winning the Crouching Tiger prequel.

"It's quite clear that until the decision to increase the incentives for international films to come to New Zealand we were just not competitive," he said.

Crouching Tiger made US$213.5mil (RM683.2mil) globally, according to industry website Box Office Mojo, including US$128mil (RM409.6mil) in the United States – unprecedented at the time for a foreign language movie.

It also won four Oscars in 2001, including best foreign film, and launched the Hollywood career of director Ang Lee, who went on to win two best director Academy Awards for Brokeback Mountain and Life Of Pi.

Film industry bible Variety reported that Malaysia's Michelle Yeoh will reprise her role as a warrior in the prequel, to be titled The Green Destiny. It said Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's The Weinstein Company is co-producing the film with New Zealand's Iron Knight Productions.

Yuen Woo-ping, who co-ordinated the eye-popping action scenes in the original, will reportedly direct, using a script which has been approved by officials in Beijing. The green light from Beijing is important because it ensures access to the rapidly growing Chinese market, where box office takings soared 36% to an estimated US$1.8bil (RM5.76bil) over the first six months of 2013. The Chinese market is expected to overtake the US market by 2020, prompting keen interest from Hollywood. — AFP Relaxnews


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