It seems that everyone is interested in Alex Fong Lik Sun’s love life these days.
Some keep asking whether he has a new girlfriend. Others keep trying to fix him up with someone.
This is all because of the much-publicised breakup he went through last year with long-time actress girlfriend Stephy Tang, after a 10-year-long relationship and several movies together.
Yet, like his new movie Never Too Late, the former Olympic swimmer is still hopeful that he will find love again.
In it, Fong plays an especially nice young man with an excessively mean girlfriend portrayed by Samantha Ko Hoi Ning. He later develops a relationship with the wandering spirit of a feisty young beer waitress played by Cecilia So Lai Shan.
It is Fong’s first collaboration with So, 25, who is best known for Hong Kong movie She Remembers, He Forgets (2015). The coming-of-age rom-com was So’s film debut, for which she scored two nominations for Best New Performer at the Hong Kong Film Awards and Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards.
Fong, 37, said that although he had never met So in person, he had seen She Remembers, He Forgets. So when director Patrick Kong asked him about casting So, Fong welcomed the idea.
“It feels very fresh. She is a newcomer with lots of potential. Plus, I felt the 12 year age gap makes it quite a cute pairing.
“My character in the movie is the one being bullied, while she is the tough one! The strong contrast in our personalities is one of the reasons I was really looking forward to our collaboration,” he added.
The movie has already played in Hong Kong, and Fong says viewers there have commented that it actually has two parts which are totally different.
“In the first half, my character has to endure being bullied by Samantha Ko, who treats him badly. But in the second half, I develop a relationship with Cecilia So. So my character no longer suffers, as that’s when the love story begins,” he said.
There is a scene in the movie that was inspired by a viral video in 2013 of a Hong Kong girl publicly humiliating her boyfriend by repeatedly slapping him as he knelt before her in the busy shopping streets of To Kwa Wan in Kowloon City.
Fong recalled the especially embarrassing shoot he did of that particular sequence with Ko at Causeway Bay.
“I had to kneel in front of her while she slapped me repeatedly. The cameras were well-hidden and very far away. They were using a long lens, so tourists and shoppers walking by did not know we were actually shooting a movie. They even took out their cameras and started snapping pictures. It was all very awkward.”
In earlier interviews, the director had said that the role was tailor-made for Fong.
The actor further explained that the director formed this opinion after observing him in interviews after his breakup.
“I’m not really sure how to put this, but he said he could feel that I was a warm and tender person. He said that I was the sort of guy who would be very considerate and accommodating to the ladies, so I was very suitable for the part,” Fong said.
Although he looks forward to embarking on a new relationship in the future, Fong says he is in no hurry to do so. “Not this year. It’s better to focus on my career. Dating is not a priority for me now.”
When prodded further, Fong admitted very frankly that he was concerned that girls would be put off by his recently-single status.
“They may be worried that I’m desperate to get married, as I’m already past 30, and I just had a breakup after a 10-year-long relationship!” he said.
“Also, I live at home with my family. So, they may wonder whether I am capable of taking care of others."
As for friends who like to play matchmaker, Fong says he will decline their offers.
“There are many people who still try and recommend their friends. But I tell them there is no need to. I am quite picky. I’m not out to fool around.
“I want to have a real and meaningful relationship. And I also like to take my time to get to know someone,” he said.
Never Too Late opens in local cinemas nationwide starting Nov 2.