How does he respond when you ask for help?
He ignores me.
That would be Tony Leung on his working relationship with Wong Kar-wai in Mark Olsen‘s quick Q&A with him in the LA Times, and if we seem a little hung up on the two of them, take a gander at some of the interviews done when Leung was in town not so long ago. Olsen’s piece is straightforward and smart, but Stephanie Zacharek‘s at Salon is adorably fangirlish:
I studied Tony Leung’s eyebrows intently in the 15-plus-15 minutes I had with him, and I can attest to their almost mystical properties. I’m deeply embarrassed to admit that, very early in the interview, I started to ask Leung a question about "In the Mood for Love" — a picture I adore — only to realize I couldn’t for the life of me remember its title. I riffled through every secret hiding place in my brain for the correct arrangement of words, but it was nowhere to be found. This mortifying blip lasted for an interminable 20 seconds or so (although the stumbling, stupid silence on the interview tape seems to go on for 20 minutes), after which I had the good sense to make a complete moron of myself by consulting the IMDb printout I’d brought with me.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become an actress?
I would have been a hairdresser. It was something I was about to do it before I started acting. I would have gone for it if acting didn’t come along. I might have been the person doing Maggie Cheung’s hair for five hours on "In the Mood for Love."
Clearly, still a little testy over that, though we would be too if we’d had to have our hair teased into a 60s updo every day for 15 months.
And in a slightly older profile with WKW himself by Scott Timberg in the LA Times, we get the final pieces of a portrait of what it would be like to work with the director:
When one of the actors in 1997’s "Happy Together" â€” a doomy, Manuel
Puig-inspired gay love story shot in Buenos Aires â€” had to return to
Hong Kong for military service, Wong’s crew came to the base pretending
to be family and taped a voice-over. As last-minute script changes led
to actors’ being cut from the film after flying halfway across the
world, the cast was jokingly dubbed the "casualty list." The film, for
all its angst, won Wong best director at Cannes.
To summarize: no script, no storyline to start with beyond a basic concept (subject to change), little feedback, galaxies of footage shot, an obsession with 60s glamour and beauty, a refusal to discuss his personal life at all with the iconic actor he’s worked with for 15 years, many cigarettes, and the sunglasses always stay on. â™¥.
+ He knows characters (LA Times)
+ In the mood for Leung (Salon)
+ Still in the Mood for a Collaboration (NY Times)
+ "I would have been a hairdresser": Q&A with Maggie Cheung (IFC News)
+ Hong Kong’s poet of regret (LA Times)