Thursday February 7, 2013
By ANGELIN YEOH
Taiwanese entertainer Show Lo spills the beans on his role in Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons.
THE next time Stephen Chow says he’ll meet you for a drink, you’d better believe it. Taiwanese singer, dancer and actor extraordinaire Show Lo was told not to get his hopes up when he met the legendary actor at an event last year.
“I saw Stephen Chow and being a long-time fan, I called out to him! I just wanted to say hello. Then he said, ‘You know what; next time we should sit down and have a chat over coffee’,” said Lo during an exclusive interview at the Le Meridien hotel in Taipei, Taiwan recently. The 33-year-old entertainer, dubbed Asia’s Dance King, also recalled his colleague telling him to pretty much forget about it.
“My colleague said, usually when someone says, ‘next time’; it means there won’t be a next time,” he said with a laugh. To Lo’s surprise, he received a phone call from Chow and the two met over coffee to discuss a possible film role.
“To be honest, I was still trying to get over the fact that Stephen Chow actually called and said he wanted to meet me. During our first meeting, I wasn’t really listening to anything he said because I was starstruck!
“When Lo made this admission, 50-year old Chow was sitting just right next to him, smiling at how earnest he was about their first proper meeting. “I just kept staring at the way Chow spoke because he talks exactly like how he does in his movies! And then he said something about appearing in his next movie project, and I immediately agreed, without even carefully listening to what he said.”
Lo can be seen in Chow’s upcoming Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons. The action-comedy flick, written, produced and directed by Chow, revolves around the adventures of an amateur demon hunter in a time when ancient China is plagued by supernatural beings. The film is, of course, an adaptation of one of the most popular classical novels in Chinese literature.
There is much anticipation surrounding Chow’s first directorial effort in five years (CJ7 in 2008 being the last time Chow directed and appeared on-screen). The film also stars Chinese actor Wen Zhang, Hong Kong screen siren Shu Qi and award-winning Taiwanese actor Huang Bo.
For Lo, who plays Prince Important; being in a movie with other big names in Asian cinema was a humbling experience.
“My role was very small compared to the role these guys played.” In his trademark comedic dead-pan, Chow quickly added; “You were involved in a big fight scene at the end! And you had the opportunity to act with four ‘pretty’ ladies. You should feel privileged, and everyone was jealous, okay.”
Chow’s remark got Lo laughing. For those who have yet to watch the movie, let’s just say ‘pretty’ doesn’t even begin to describe what the ladies really looked like.
The chemistry between Chow and Lo was obvious. Despite this being their first collaboration, they played off each other like how old friends would.
Jokes aside, Lo said there was a lot of pressure for him to avoid playing his character the way Chow would. He also hasn’t had a feature film role since 2001’s Expect A Miracle.
“I had to tell myself to not ‘act’ like Stephen Chow or imitate his style. I didn’t want to end up being a poor imitation of him, so much so, I stopped myself from watching his movies for awhile.”
The character Lo plays is an expert demon hunter who is also vain and can’t seem to get a break with the ladies, a far cry from Lo’s public persona as the smooth talker with killer dance moves. Chow was full of praise for the way Lo played his role.
“I think Lo is a good actor. In each take, he portrays his character in different styles.”
Then Lo said; “Most of the time, whatever Stephen Chow asked me to do, I tried to do something else. As the director, Chow gave us a lot of space and freedom to improvise from the script.”
What Lo didn’t know was that Chow had intended to play the character himself.
“There is a certain trait about Prince Important that I can relate to. Then I met Lo, and he just seemed like a better person to play that role.”
Chow also mentioned that he wanted to focus more on directing, instead. For long-time fans who feel they’ve missed out on another opportunity to catch Chow on the big screen, he assures fans that Lo fits the role perfectly.
“You want to know what makes me laugh? There (pointing at Lo), he makes me laugh.”
> Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons opens nationwide today. Look out for more stories in Saturday’s Star2.