Hong Kong actress Carina Lau hopes her In Your Dreams co-star Ng Siu Hin will be more successful than her husband Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Hong Kong's most decorated actor.
During the premiere of the film, in which she also serves as film producer for the very first time, Lau sang praises of her fresh-faced co-star Ng, 24, whom she cast as the male lead.
"He is like a young Mr Leung. He exudes a similar aura of melancholy and vulnerability, like a wounded creature that you would feel a need to protect," said the 52-year-old actress in a video posted online.
"I wish to sign him for 10 years, but he already has a manager. Such a talented actor like him is a very rare find in Hong Kong.
"The industry has been seeing only old familiar faces like ours for far too long. It is time for new blood to rise up in the ranks, and lessen our load," she added.
Many have pointed out young Ng's uncanny resemblance to the boyish Leung, 55, to which the young actor says he had mostly received criticism about the comparison.
Lau had everyone in stitches with her comment. "Well, that is normal and to be expected. He is an iconic figure, which makes him a protected species. So, you will get a scolding, even if you happen to go a little bit too near. I have been scolded for many years!"
In Your Dreams tells of the relationship that develops between a teenage student Heng (Ng) and a school teacher Mei (Lau) as they both struggle with their personal problems.
It was the Higher Education Institution Group winner of the 2nd First Feature Film Initiative which comes with a cash grant of HKD3mil (S$509,359) from the Hong Kong Film Development Fund in 2016.
The script came highly recommended by Felix Chong Man Keung, award-winning screenwriter of the Infernal Affairs trilogy and Overhead trilogy. Lau said she liked it so much that after accepting the female leading role, she also offered to serve as the film's producer.
The film also features the directorial debut of female auteur Tam Wai-ching, for whom Lau has expressed her admiration.
"I like working with idealistic young people with lots of passion and enthusiasm."
Despite being also partially financed by Louis Koo's One Cool Films, Lau said the film's low budget and limited resources led her to resort to calling in favours from her many friends in the film industry.
Hence, In Your Dreams benefitted from the input of filmmaking veterans like Tony Au Ting Ping for art direction, Johnny Choi Sung Fai and William Chang Suk Ping for film editing and even award-winning Japanese musician Yusuke Hatano for the film score.
"Lots of people worked for free. Everybody just wanted to see to it that Hong Kong continues to make good quality films," said Lau.