Tony Leung Ka-Fai (L) and Kelly Chen star in the in Lee Chi Ngai-helmed Hong Kong comedy Horseplay.
Tony Leung talks about his role in the hilarious cat-and-mouse game that is Horseplay.
A MYSTERIOUS cat burglar with multiple disguises who claims to have retired. An attractive television host excited with the opportunity to do real journalism. A washed-out police detective desperate to crack a relic smuggling case.
Add a valuable antique Tang Dynasty ceramic horse into the fray, and you get the merry-go-round of mirth that is Horseplay.
Directed by Hong Kong director Lee Chi Ngai, who is best known for Japanese movies like Dance Subaru (2009) and Sleepless Town (1998) and Hong Kong rom-coms like Magic Kitchen (2004) and Lost And Found (1996), Horseplay boasts a star-studded cast of award-winning Hong Kong A-listers like Tony Leung Ka Fai, Kelly Chen and Ekin Cheng as the trio caught up in a hilarious cat-and-mouse game. The movie also features Hong Kong comedians like Eric Tsang, Wong Cho Lam, and Liu Kai Chi as well as Malaysian model-turned-actress Mandy Lieu.
In a phone interview from Hong Kong, veteran actor Leung, 56, spoke about playing the charming thief and master of disguise Li Dan, or “Nine-Tailed Fox”. “It was fun to emerge for each scene looking totally different. The makeup process was really tiring though. I had to sit for at least three hours while special prosthetics were glued to my face, then after the shoot, a few more hours were spent removing the disguise.
“Having to walk in high heels was also quite excruciating, and made me realise how tough it is being a woman,” said Leung, who filmed on location in London and Prague.
Leung was also involved in an accident while shooting a motorcycle crash in Prague, breaking three ribs.
“I had to be especially careful while filming (after the accident), so as not to aggravate the injury,” shared Leung, who had to withdraw from what was to be his first TVB series, The Apostle, as a result of that injury.
Chen, 41, plays pretty TV reporter Ha Mui, who is tired of all the fluff and raring to do hard news for a change. Since the character was supposed to be a rock climbing expert, she had to take a crash course on indoor rock climbing.
“On the first day, I made the mistake most beginners make, by using my hands to pull myself up instead of letting my legs and feet take the weight. So, by the end of the first lesson, I was hurting all over, and my arms were so sore that the following day became quite a nightmare for me,” lamented Chen, who got to demonstrate her new skills in Horseplay.
A more challenging scene for Chen turned out to be an emotional one. “I had to discuss with the director as I never had that kind of experience – where a friend I long thought to be dead suddenly turns up alive and (finding out) my boyfriend had been keeping me in the dark about it for three years.”
Both Leung and Chen also spoke fondly about their co-star Ekin Cheng, who kept everyone suitably entertained on the set. Cheng, 46, portrays the rugged pipe-smoking police detective Cheung Ho who has been tracking the Nine-tailed Fox for eight years.
“Ekin would bring his latest discoveries to the set. One of the most memorable was a deep fryer that worked without using any oil, and he would buy all sorts of stuff to cook for us to eat just to show us how the thing works,” recalled Chen.
Meanwhile, Leung also showered praises on Cheng. “Many people paint showbiz as a negative business that changes people for the worse. But I am so glad to say that despite so many years in showbiz, Ekin hasn’t changed a bit. I am quite heartened to observe that he remains an uncorrupted fellow,” he concluded.
Horseplay opens in cinemas nationwide on March 21.