Hire me, Singapore: Andy Lau

Hong Kong star Andy Lau is "very open" to collaborating with Singapore film-makers.

Speaking in Mandarin at a press conference yesterday, he told regional reporters: "Back in the day, there have been discussions between Singaporean film-makers with my company in Hong Kong but the talks never really continued from there.

"As much as I'd love to, I cannot leave Hong Kong and come down all the time to look into these things.

"But I am definitely very open to collaborating with Singaporeans on films here. Maybe there is a project here where I can help to lend my 30-plus years of experience of being in film," he added.

Lau, 52, is known primarily as an actor and singer but he is also the owner of production company Focus Films, which has produced many critically acclaimed films, including award- winning drama A Simple Life (2012) and Gallants (2010), and box-office hits such as Feng Xiaogang's A World Without Thieves (2004).

He deadpanned: "It's not just about wanting to come to Singapore and work from a producer's standpoint. I would also love for Singaporean film-makers to hire me as an actor in their movies.

"I may be expensive but I'm worth it."

Lau is both leading man and producer of his latest film Firestorm, which he was in town to promote.

Directed by Hong Kong writer- director Alan Yuen, the police actioner has Lau playing the role of a senior inspector whose moral integrity is questioned when a criminal pushes him to the edge.

The US$20-million (S$25-million) film made its world premiere at Resorts World Sentosa last night as part of the annual home-grown film trade event ScreenSingapore, a week ahead of its general release in cinemas next Thursday.

Flanking Lau at the press conference yesterday was his Firestorm co-star, Gordon Lam Ka Tung, 46, who plays ex-con Pong and antagonist to Lau's cop character in the film.

Lam is an actor signed to Lau's artist management arm Topman Global, so he often referred to Lau as "laoban" (Mandarin for boss) during the press conference.

Despite recent reports that there had been some "tension" between the two for a while, apparently due to the fact that Lam's role in the film was reduced from first to second lead, there was none of that at yesterday's event.

The pair displayed easy camaraderie, often poking fun at one another and even finishing each other's sentences.

Lau said of their supposed fall-out: "I think some media just came up with those reports because Ka Tung had not been in the news lately. They needed something for their headlines."

Lam's notoriously terrible spoken Mandarin was also cause for plenty of laughs as he would say words with all the wrong intonations.

Eventually, Lau took it upon himself to "translate" for him.

Lau looked at his co-star and said with a good-natured laugh: "You see, everyone is laughing at you. I'm not the only one who thinks your Mandarin is so hard to understand."

Not one to back down so easily, Lam quipped that he was "so excited" to be part of Firestorm because he "finally got the chance to fight with my boss".

In the film, the two face off in several fight scenes.

He added: "When Andy first called me about this role, he told me that I would have to undergo a lot of fight- training, so my first thought was, 'I don't want to do this, it's too tough'.

"Then I asked him, 'Who will I be fighting?' And when he said it was himself, I immediately said, 'Okay, I'm in'."

Lam underwent three months of jujitsu training for the role.

He said: "It was definitely worth it. Getting to hit my boss - I've waited more than 10 years for the chance to do that."

Firestorm opens in cinemas on Dec 12.


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