Veteran Hong Kong star Simon Yam and acclaimed Taiwanese actor Lee Kang-sheng will star in “The Tenants Downstairs,” a black-humored thriller based on the bestselling novel of the same title by prolific Taiwanese novelist Giddens Ko.
The film represents the reteaming of several key elements from 2011 breakout hit “You Are The Apple of My Eye,” the semi-autobiographical school days drama that marked Ko’s first shot at movie directing.
With Ko writing the adapted screenplay, “Tenants” is to be directed by Singapore’s Adam Tsuei. Production is by Angie Chai for Singapore’s mm2 Entertainment, along with Taiwan’s Amazing Film Studio and Star Ritz Productions. Chai and Tsuei previously produced “Apple.”
The story is a creepy fantasy involving a dangerous landlord (Yam), a gay tenant (Lee) and a mysterious female lodger, played by rising Taiwanese actress Shao Yu-wei.
Yam has over 190 movies to his credit including “Ip Man,” “Election” and “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life.” Lee is known for his long-running collaboration with Tsai Ming-liang, an association which has delivered films including “The Wayward Cloud,” “Goodbye Dragon Inn” and “Stray Dogs.”
The “Tenants” novel was notorious for some of its shock-value content, and the producers say that they will not tone it down. However they intend to deliver different versions for festivals, domestic and internationals audiences. Delivery is set for summer 2016.
Yam, who is in Busan with Chinese film project “Inside or Outside,” said: “I’ve played serial killers and perverts, but being this landlord character is different. It’s more three-dimensional with multiple layers to his personality.”
Tsuei has already cut a teaser trailer, supposedly costing $610,000 (NT20 million) to make, and which has garnered 115,000 views on YouTube.