BY JOY FANG
THE Cantopop Heavenly King, Hong Kong singer and actor Aaron Kwok, has one revelation to make about his latest movie, The Storm Warriors: The harrowing experience landed him in hospital.
"Compared to other movies I have made, this movie was the one where I got injured the most number of times and where I bled the most," the 44-year-old told my paper in a round-table interview at the Raffles City Convention Centre yesterday.
He was in town to promote Warriors - the S$16 million follow-up to smash hit The Storm Riders (1998), which earned S$2.9 million in its Singapore run.
One scene involving Kwok and co-star Ekin Cheng - who was also in town to promote the movie, as Cheng and Kwok reprise their roles as martial-arts heroes Whispering Wind and Striding Cloud respectively - featured three explosions, one after the other.
After the second explosion, Kwok said he felt a sharp pain that "was like getting shot by a gun". A metal nail was embedded deep in his left arm, which had started to swell.
"The director asked me if I was all right. I calmly put down my weapon and told him, 'No, Let's go to the hospital'," said the chatty Kwok, who added that he did not tremble because "I am a man who will not fear the sight of blood".
Thankfully, he said, the nail was small and entered his arm horizontally, so the doctor extracted it and no stitches were necessary.
If it was Kwok who experienced physical harm, then it was Cheng, 42 - also a Cantopop singer who has plans for a comeback concert in Hong Kong in the middle of this month - who perhaps endured emotional distress.
When the boss of production company Universe Entertainment met up with the Hong Kong actor to discuss the reprisal of his role, the production house head honcho reportedly told him: "You are not Whispering Wind now, you are Fat Wind."
Cheng said with a rueful smile: "After hearing that, I realised that I was actually fat. Luckily, he gave me six months to work out... I worked really hard."
Perhaps that comment wasn't so surprising. After all, 11 years ago, Kwok and Cheng were young and dashing pop idols in a promising breakthrough film which had the best special effects ever seen in a Hong Kong film.
A decade on, it is perhaps inevitable that the same stars show signs of ageing.
Yet, unlike Korean actor Rain, 27 - who went through a gruelling training regimen for his role in Ninja Assassin (six hours every day for six months, and surviving on a strictly no salt, no sugar diet with only meals of chicken breasts and vegetables for eight months) - Cheng's exercise regime was tame by comparison.
He firmed up by exercising for two hours every day, either by running or doing rowing exercises with a trainer. He did not eat rice or bread at night, he said. The effort paid off.
"He used to have a four-pack, now he has a six-pack, like a chocolate bar," joked Danny Pang, 44, who directed the movie with his twin brother Oxide, 44. The pair - known as the Pang Brothers - have directed movies like The Eye and Bangkok Dangerous.
Despite rumours of trouble between Cheng and Kwok - according to rumours, there was a scuffle on who got to sing the theme song for the movie - Danny said the two were "good friends" who had no trouble working together.
Asked if he minded, and Kwok said: "If I were a petty person who wanted to snatch the limelight, then I wouldn't be willing to share the song with him.
"As long as we can get people to notice the movie with this song, I have absolutely no problems with it."
The Storm Warriors opens next Thursday.
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