SINGAPORE - Do not call evergreen Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau "old".
During a group interview with the well-preserved 52-year-old star at Marina Bay Sands recently, a magazine reporter dared to say he is "getting old" - twice, no less - leading him to immediately sit up.
Jokingly, he looked to the security personnel present and exclaimed in Mandarin: "Who is this reporter? Get her out of here. I am not old - just mature."
He then laughed and told the reporter to go ahead with her question, as a clear gesture that there were no hard feelings.
Still, it was obvious that age was nonetheless a rather sensitive issue for him.
Earlier, the host of the press conference asked him multiple times whether he is finding it "tougher" to do action films these days.
He was quick to reply: "No, who says it's tougher? I'm very relaxed, doing action movies."
Lau was in town to promote his latest action film Firestorm. He plays the leading role of police inspector Lui, whose morals are called into question when a criminal pushes him to the edge.
The film opens in cinemas tomorrow. The actor told reporters that he undertook most of the stunt work himself, including the fight scenes and jumping off an 11-storey building.
He said breezily: "In fact, I would say that it's easier to do action movies now. Back in the day, when doing wirework, we had only one wire holding us. But these days, we have four wires holding us up. Don't you think that makes things a lot easier?"
In Firestorm, he required a stunt double for only a few sequences. "I can still do many of the action sequences myself. I'm still young, you know," he said with a chuckle.
His Peter Pan outlook is very different from that of fellow Hong Kong star Jackie Chan, 58, who openly declared himself "too old and tired" to be doing major action work.
Last December, Chan had said that year's blockbuster CZ12 would be his final major action flick, and that he would henceforth leave most of the death-defying stunts to others.