SGIFF: Simon Yam Declines Hollywood Move, Wants Asian Stories Told

SINGAPORE — Veteran Hong Kong actor Simon Yam has turned down multiple offers to move to Hollywood, where he is known for his role in “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.”

Yam, who received the 27th Singapore International Film Festival’s Cinema Legend award on Saturday, revealed this during an In Conversation event at the festival on Sunday.

“I’m not going to Hollywood to make Hollywood movies,” Yam said. “I’m staying in South East Asia. There are so many stories to be told here. Whether it is Singapore or Malaysia or China, people must tell their local stories. Build your foundation, focus on it and the world will come around.”

Yam’s performances in films including “PTU,” “Election,” “Echoes of the Rainbow” and “Ip Man,” and more recently “Mrs. K” have resonated around the world. “Don’t isolate yourself,” is Yam’s advice to actors. “The film industry is a communication between different countries,” he said.

Communication is a big part of Yam’s vocabulary and informs his craft. “I love to communicate with people, observe them and engage with them, that’s why I can play characters as diverse as gangsters or monks,” Yam said.

For now, Yam is going to look at acting in light comedies for the sake of his 12-year-old daughter Ella. “That’s only for five years until she grows up,” Yam says. “After that I want to go back to heavy roles – police, gangsters, psychopaths.”

Variety asked Yam whether the rumors of him starring alongside Don Wilson in Tim Delmar’s “Killing the Seeds” – an Asian-set, U.S. financed gang war thriller — were true. Yam asked to see the film’s IMDb entry and brought the house down when he said, “I haven’t received an email from them yet.”

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