"Mrs K" director shares casting story
Writer: Farah Hanis
"Mrs K" star Kara Hui and director Ho YuHang at the press conference for the movie.
Starring Hong Kong action star Kara Hui as the titular character, "Mrs K" is director Ho YuHang's latest directorial effort which was filmed in his homeland Malaysia circa end of 2015. Despite the rainy seasons from November till December, the filming was successfully done within the Klang Valley area in just about 45 days.
Aside from Kara, the movie also stars Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai, Malaysian actor Faizal Hussein, Hong Kong actor Simon Yam and newcomer Siow Li Xuan.
Recently, the cast and crew of "Mrs K" were in Malaysia to promote the action movie, which is set to open in local cinemas this 7 September. It has yet to be released in Singaporean cinemas though it was previously screened at the Singapore International Film Festival.
Read on to find out how the director managed to gather an impressive cast (which includes famous directors making cameo appearances) for his new movie, what Kara's co-stars thought of the action star and how it was like for the cast to film such an intense action movie as "Mrs K".
The cast and crew of "Mrs K".
Cinema Online: Director Ho Yuhang, why did you decide to cast Wu Bai to star opposite Kara Hui in this movie?
YuHang: An actor would just be an actor but we wanted somebody rather different. I think a rockstar was a good idea, and Wu Bai really fits the bill. I found out that we both love B movies, and when I told him that there's a bit of that in the film, he really likes it because of the B movie elements.
Why didn't you ask Wu Bai to sing in the movie?
[Producer] Lorna: The condition that Wu Bai took for this role was that "When I'm an actor, I'm an actor. I don't want to sing for this film. I want to be clear that I am the actor in the film".
How about the renowned filmmakers, how did they end up in those cameo appearances?
YuHang: We wanted actors at first, but then the producers came up with this idea, and it was actually a really good idea. Because having directors as cameos would definitely be more interesting than having just another actor in it. So, I decided to cast some of the directors that I really like, just for the fun of it. It was great that they were all game for it, very excited to shoot the scenes.
Kara, have you actually listened to Wu Bai's songs before?
Kara: I am a fan of him. When I first heard that they were going to cast him, I was all on board. I feel like he can bring something of his own into the movie. So, I was very excited when I came to shoot. But then when I met him, I found out that he was actually a shy person. He won't make the first move to talk, but once you get him talking, you realise that he is actually like a kid. Asking about where we will be eating, where are we going tomorrow? He is like that every day.
Director Ho YuHang said it wasn't easy casting the daughter.
Speaking of kids, YuHang, what made you cast Siow Li Xuan as Mrs K's daughter?
YuHang: This was not an easy process. We went to a number of schools looking for a young girl [to play the part], but I didn't know what kind of girl I was looking for. A friend then told me that she saw this girl perform in a dance competition, and she thought that the girl was very interesting.
She [Li Xuan] was around thirteen or fourteen when I met her, and we wore the same shirt – a Rolling Stone shirt. [Jokes] It's like fate that I should choose her. We got along fine and she is a rather interesting girl because she challenges me: asking me some very strange questions and daring me to a 100m dash. No girl that I have ever casted has done that to me before.
Li Xuan, how do you feel having Wu Bai and Kara Hui as your parents in the movie?
Li Xuan: During shooting, there was a scene where I was sitting between them on the sofa, and I remember feeling like "I've made it", like this is so cool. I even remember telling myself that I must tell this to all of my friends. At first, I was a bit scared of my mother [Kara Hui], since she always has a cold demeanour. But once I get to know her better, she is actually really cool.
Kara, do you have anything to say to that?
Kara Hui: I'm actually not that cold. It's just that whenever I'm filming, I tend to observe my surrounding, and try to incorporate it in my acting. So, those who don't really know me would probably think that I am very cold. While in reality, I was just trying to focus. Sometimes, I won't even notice if people were greeting me, since my ears are not that good nowadays [jokes].
Is it true that this will be your last action film?
Kara: I would like to think of "Mrs K" as my retirement trophy from the action genre. I personally don't think that I can perform as best as I used to during action scenes. I have also been consistently offered roles in action movies because of my 10-year experience acting in that genre. However, in line with the experience, I have also suffered a lot of injuries. When I think about the future, I would rather stop now than cause inconvenience to others.
The only reason I agree to "Mrs K" is because YuHang is the director. No matter how many pains or injuries I will suffer, I would still say yes.
Faizal talking about action scenes in "Mrs K".
Faizal, was it hard filming all those action scenes, especially the ones involving Kara Hui and Siow Li Xuan?
Cinema Online, 29 August 2017
Faizal: We had a lot of practice session learning the choreography. When we changed location, we would have to re-learn it as well. I had some experience working with the Hong Kong action director and choreographer, so it wasn't that difficult. The hardest part for me would be not to hit the leading lady [jokes]. The experiences and advises shared by Kara during shooting also made it all easier.
How was it like working alongside Simon?
Faizal: He is 62 years old this year, but he doesn't look like one. When working with him, I found out that he is a funny guy, always having his music on and practising his English. He can always predict the time that we will wrap the shooting.
Will there be any future collaboration again between Kara and YuHang?
YuHang: I am all up for working with Kara in future projects.
Kara: I wanted YuHang to work with another actress, just to see how great the rest of them are. Since he always works with me, he only knows the quality that I can produce, and not the others. So, I wanted him to go out and see the world. I had fun working with him, and I would like others to experience it as well.