Director TRAN QUOC BAO
Producers JOSEPH K. LEE & STEVEN TRIGSTAD
Detectives Kong Yat Hung and Siu Ma are investigating a computer hacking
case where the boss of the company was murdered. While on the case, Hung
tells Siu Ma that although she has been in Hong Kong for only a month, she
was able to memorize all the police records within a week. Siu Ma asks if
she remembers any of it. "Of course," she replies.
Kong Yat Hung JUNE WANG
Siu Ma PHILIP PARK
Knife Thug ALAN LUK
Director Comments (Jan 2004)
There's recently been a strong trend in Hollywood to capitalize on both Hong
Kong action and its prolific subgenre of female fighting. We see girls
kicking butt in The Matrix
, Charlie's Angels
, and Kill Bill
All of these actresses had no previous martial arts training and went
months of practice under the films' choreographers. This was our attempt to
cash in, an experiment in creating a fight scene with an actress who also had no
martial arts experience.
We auditioned about twenty actresses for the part, testing them on general
physical aptitude and how well they could learn new things. There were a
few who had trained in martial arts and looked good at it, but we decided to
cast June because she had no experience at all and still did well. I
intentionally wanted to make it more difficult by casting a complete
beginner. Down the line I may work on a production that casts its actors
based on their acting ability and commercial viability and not necessarily
physical talent. It's good to get the practice in while you can while
there's still room for error.
We trained June five days a week for three weeks. She was eager for the
lessons and incredibly dedicated to her regimen. Q: What should I have in
my diet? A: Um, not cheeseburgers?
It's amazing how much material you
can and cannot cover in that amount of time. I've trained martial artists
who already knew how to punch and kick to adjust for the camera, but to
start from scratch was entirely new and challenging. I hoped she enjoyed the
experience, despite having to put up with my lousy Mandarin.
is actually a high-budget Hong Kong film that was released
in 2002. It was directed by Corey Yuen Kwai, who has a noted reputation
for working with non-martial artists and making them action stars. The film
has three well-known Chinese actresses fighting bad guys and each other.
It was what actually gave me the idea for the experiment.
For this project I'm assuming that I am directing So Close
. I've been
hired by Columbia Pictures Asia and handed the script to shoot. This scene
would actually be a part of an entire film. What you see is just a snippet,
a sampling of what the film would look like if I were to direct it.
There were a lot of challenges in creating the scene. One obviously was
getting June to be convincing for the camera. The actual scene in So
has a shot that relies on special effects, so we had to find a
low-budget solution that still got across the same idea. The elevator was
very small, about 7 by 6 feet, making both shooting with equipment and
movement difficult. The preparation was unique as well, it wasn't just a
matter of going in and shooting a fight scene with a bunch of cool moves. As
the "director" of So Close
, I have to consider the purpose of the scene, its
context within the entire film, understand who Kong Yat Hung and Siu Ma
were, and shape the scene accordingly.
I recommend seeing the real So Close
. Hopefully you will appreciate
the differences in approach and I won't get sued now that I advertised the
All rights to So Close
belongs to Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia and
Eastern (HK) Film Production Co. Ltd.