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Tuesday October 8, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday October 8, 2013 MYT 2:02:21 PM
by yip wai yee
Louis Koo (left) and Sean Lau in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, recently to promote 'Inferno'. Both actors did most of their own stunts in the movie. – NORAFIFI EHSAN/The Star
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.
Tags / Keywords:
Entertainment, Louis Koo, Sean Lau Ching Wan, Inferno, bromance, Oxide Pang, film, fire, Hong Kong
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