×

Busan: Stress and Sexuality on the Agenda for Stanley Kwan, Sammi Cheng

Stanley Kwan and Hong Kong star actress Sammi Cheng spoke Friday at the Busan International Film Festival of the physical pain of performance.

The director and co-star of “First Night Nerves” reminisced about Kwan’s previous Busan title “Everlasting Regret,” some 13 years ago. “Last time I was here, I was quite sick. I think I threw myself in too deeply to the film and the character,” said Cheng. “Since then. I’ve had time to recover.”

“In ‘Everlasting Regret,’ Sammi got too far into the film and suffered both mentally and physically,” Kwan said.

But with “First Night Nerves” portraying a transgender stage director and containing multiple LGBT plot points, the conversation returned several times to sex, homosexuality and gender identity.

“My friends ask me if this film means that I want to be transgender. No. I prefer to live as a man with femininity and sensitivity. I’m a hermaphrodite,” said Kwan. “My biggest rival is myself. In the film the women have their own pain.

“In some ways the character of the director (played by Kam Kwok-leung) is trapped inside herself. In other ways she is more disappointed by herself,” said Kwan.

Kwan spoke eloquently about the relationship between the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese movie industries. “Ten years ago, when Hong Kong directors were only beginning to work in China, the Hong Kong industry was well-established, and had the upper hand over China in terms of commercial movies. Now it is interesting to see how far the Chinese industry has come. Its box office is set to overtake America’s and commercial films are so well made that Hong Kong people are being pushed to the edges of the industry now.”

Despite that insight, Kwan, Cheng, Gigi Leung, Angie Chiu and mainland actress Bai Baihe all felt unable to deal with a question about the tax and financing scandals that are currently overwhelming the Chinese film industry, in the wake of the Fan Bingbing tax evasion confession. “It is somebody else’s problem,” said Bai.

Kwan further defied credibility with his response to Variety’s question. “The other actresses don’t know much about it, because they mostly work in Hong Kong.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Suro

    Lastor, ‘The Endless Trench’s’ Irusoin, Malmo Team for Mikel Gurrea’s ‘Suro’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    SAN SEBASTIAN – Barcelona-based Lastor Media and Malmo Pictures have teamed with San Sebastian’s Irusoin to produce “Suro” (The Cork), the feature debut of Mikel Gurrea and a product of San Sebastian’s Ikusmira Berriak program. The film stars Laia Costa, who broke through with Sebastian Schipper’s “Victoria” and also serves as executive producer, and Pol López [...]

  • Ane

    Madrid’s ECAM Incubator Develops Terrorism Drama 'Ane'

    SAN SEBASTIAN — For the second year in a row, the ECAM Madrid Film School has paired a number of up-and-coming filmmakers with various industry veterans for an Incubator program part of the school broader development arm called The Screen. For its initial edition in 2018, this Incubator selected five feature projects, putting the selected [...]

  • Roma Cinematography

    'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 'Roma' Win LMGI Awards for Motion Pictures

    Two major 2018 releases – actioner “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” and critics’ darling “Roma” – were honored for film location work by the Location Managers Guild International at a ceremony this evening at the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. The 6th Annual LMGI Awards also recognized “Chernobyl” and “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” [...]

  • Soho House

    Soho House Lands In Downtown Los Angeles

    Warner Music, Spotify and Lyft are poised to welcome a new neighbor to downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District with Soho Warehouse, the third California outpost of the Hollywood-loved members-only club — and the largest North American opening to date. Hot on the heels of the Soho House Hong Kong debut earlier this summer, the private [...]

  • Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider'

    Born to Be Live: 'Easy Rider' Gets a Concert/Screening Premiere at Radio City

    In a year full of major 50th anniversary commemorations — from Woodstock to the moon landing — why not one for “Easy Rider,” Dennis Hopper’s hippie-biker flick that was released on July 14, 1969? That was the idea when a rep for Peter Fonda, who starred in the film as the laid-back Captain America, reached out [...]

  • Costa Gavras

    Costa-Gavras and Cast on Nationality, Identity, and Cinema

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Though he’s been based in Paris since 1955 and came up through the French film industry, director Costa-Gavras has never forgotten his roots. “Those who are born Greek,” said the Peloponnese-born filmmaker at a Saturday press conference,  “stay Greek all their lives.” The once-and-always Greek was not just in San Sebastian to [...]

  • Lorene Scafaria, Jennifer Lopez. Lorene Scafaria,

    'Hustlers' Director Lorene Scafaria: 'We Wanted to Treat It Like a Sports Movie'

    The star-studded cast of “Hustlers” didn’t just become strippers in the empowering female-helmed blockbuster — they also became athletes. When speaking to “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month, “Hustlers” director Lorene Scafaria explained the extreme athleticism required of the movie’s leading actresses, who all had [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content