Andy Lau takes a beating for his latest role
Even for a veteran actor like Andy Lau, playing a kidnap victim in Chinese crime thriller Saving Mr. Wu threw up unprecedented physical challenges.
The 54-year-old Hong Kong superstar takes on the role of famed Chinese star Wu Ruofu, who was abducted by hoodlum Zhang Hua (Wang Qianyuan) and his underlings.
Over the course of the movie, Lau was shackled and chained to a corner of a rundown shed.
“For 80 per cent of the shoot, I was handcuffed and my feet bound by heavy iron chains,” Lau told M in an e-mail interview.
“Initially, we tried using fake iron chains, but we realised they’d break the minute I struggled to free myself. ”
Not that Lau, ever the seasoned professional, had any complaints.
“Using real chains helped me better convey the emotions of my character, a man trying his best to preserve his humanity in a desperate situation,” he said.
Saving Mr. Wu, based on a real-life 2004 kidnapping case that made headlines in China, opens here tomorrow.
The biggest difficulty was “pulling off complete scenes while being confined to one metre square area of space”, added Lau.
For the sake of authenticity, Lau was also battered and strangled by his on-screen kidnappers for real.
“I was beaten, but I did not get hurt,” he reassured.
Lau’s hard work has paid off.
At the 2nd Silk Road International Film Festival held in Fuzhou last week, he snagged Best Actor for this role.
The film’s gripping plot, which details a battle of wits between the police and gangsters, also received recognition, with the producers and director taking home Script of The Year.
Lau heaped praise on his crew members.
“Our director Ding Sheng has taken on a certain sense of responsibility by adapting this story,” he said.
“Even after a decade, the real actor Wu Ruofu has not fully recovered from his kidnapping incident,” Lau said.
Wu, 53, a Heilongjiang native, has a supporting role in the movie as a cop.
“I hope that this film will help Ruofu overcome the trauma and look back on it as a movie experience,” added Lau.