Adrian Pang's two teenage sons did not believe he was in a movie with Thor.
So there was only one thing for him to do: "I was taking selfies with him and sending them to my sons because they didn't believe I was filming with him," says the Singaporean actor of Australian star Chris Hemsworth, who has played the Marvel superhero in three movies.
Pang has a small part in new Hollywood cybercrime thriller Blackhat, which boasts an international cast that includes Hemsworth, two- time Oscar nominee Viola Davis, popular Taiwan-based singeractor Wang Lee Hom and China star Tang Wei.
Red-hot Hemsworth, People magazine's reigning Sexiest Man Alive, is a computer genius tasked with tracking down a mastermind villain.
Davis, star of the legal drama How To Get Away With Murder on television, plays a sassy American agent. Blackhat opens in cinemas tomorrow.
Pang, 49, who plays a Hong Kong cop in the film, says: "Viola Davis was very, very sweet. There's one scene we filmed in a van and we were up till a ridiculous time in the morning and everyone was just really exhausted. She was just sitting on the kerb, nodding off, it was quite a sight to see.
"But she was sweet enough to come and introduce herself."
He also recalls that Hemsworth had his wife, actress Elsa Pataky, and their little baby daughter on set with him all the time ("they were playing on the beach in between scenes - it was really sweet").
For a few minutes of screen time, Pang spent about two weeks filming in Hong Kong in July 2013, under the meticulous direction of acclaimed film-maker Michael Mann, whose credits include the historical epic The Last Of The Mohicans (1992), crime drama Heat (1995) and the Oscar-nominated The Insider (1999).
"Michael Mann is a law unto himself, so scheduling just goes out the window," says Pang of the director's style on the film set.
"Who cares what's on the daily schedule? He could spend the whole bl**dy 12-hour shoot on one scene if he likes and everyone's scrambling around him to readjust the schedule for the next day."
Even though Pang's role was minor, he had the attention of the man himself.
"I thought that for my little bits in it, he would direct through his first assistant director or be very cursory, but he was actually very, very meticulous and very personal when it came down to it."
In one scene on a rooftop, Mann was there personally dousing Pang in fake blood, "which is quite a bizarre thing, lying in a very awkward position with him pouring red sh** all over me".
The director was so hands-on that Pang found himself having to audition T-shirts, wearing them to show Mann.
He quipped: "Poor Colleen Atwood - who is an Oscar-winning costume designer and a sweetheart - she was tearing her hair out. 'Come on, this is a shirt. This is not a bl**dy period piece here, this is a modern contemporary piece and these are everyday kind of people.'"
At the end of the shoot, he thanked Mann, who responded: "You're great, thanks so much."
Pang muses: "Underneath that facade of quite an intimidating taskmaster, he's actually quite an actor's director, from the perspective of my tiny role in it. So it was interesting."
While he enjoyed the shoot, theatre remains his "main thing". He and his wife Tracie helm the well-regarded company, Pangdemonium.
"I'm a gigging actor man. If it's an interesting thing and I can fit it in, I'll gladly do it, whether it's to be eaten by a shark or working with Michael Mann," says Pang, whose eclectic onscreen credits have included shark thriller Bait (2012) and disco comedy Forever Fever (1998).
"I do what I do and my theatre thing is what keeps me going."
While he cannot remember the size of the pay cheque he received for Blackhat, he still gets residual pay cheques for work he did for television in Britain more than a decade ago.
He bellows: "We should have that kind of stuff here."
Blackhat opens in cinemas tomorrow.
This article was first published on January 14, 2015.
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