Andy & Sammi talk "Blind Detective"

Writer: Elaine Ewe

Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng are back together for "Blind Detective".

Directed by Johnnie To, the popular pairing of actor Andy Lau and actress Sammi Cheng are back for "Blind Detective"! The romantic comedy slash crime thriller film sees Andy playing a blind former detective named Johnston Chong See Tun, who ekes out his living by solving cold cases for police rewards. During a bank robbery case, he runs into an attractive team inspector named Goldie Ho Ka Tung, who later enlists his help for a personal case, and Johnston sees his chance to use her to solve his own cold cases.

During an exclusive interview with the two actors in Singapore, Andy and Sammi talk about working together after nine years, the challenges of filming for "Blind Detective", their favourite scenes to film and the potential for bad ratings seeing that the film was critically panned at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Check out what they had to say below:

Hi Andy, hi Sammi. You guys have not been in contact for nine years, so how does it feel to work together again?
Andy: I feel that there is not much of a big difference about Sammi. She might have gone through some tough times but I feel that she is doing fine now. I can say that compared to last time it's different to work together again after so long, maybe because around that period we have different methods of acting.

Sammi: I can sincerely say that I have admired him as a skilled actor, and as time passes by I can see that he is a very kind-hearted person. So I feel that being able to act alongside him, I feel that I am very fortunate. I still have a lot to learn, but you are able to see how much I and Andy have improved in acting so I wish the audience will be able to see our improvements in the movie.

As the both of you and Johnnie are very familiar with each other, did you find the filming process easier than it would have been otherwise?
Sammi: It is not at all easy-going, because a lot of people think that comedies are easy to act in, but as actors we have to be constantly full of energy, no less than other categories of movies. It is not an easy process as it's rather different from the type of movies I usually film.

No one can deny the great chemistry that the two of them have.

What took you guys so long to get back together?
Andy: We've been waiting for the opportunity actually, but not many directors are brave enough to ask the both of us to act in a film. After so many years of not working together, not even one director is brave enough to ask us to work together in a film.

What made you guys choose to star in "Blind Detective" then?
Sammi: I did not have to think a lot about the script because I feel that it is about time me and Andy got back together and Johnnie is also a close friend of mine.

Andy, in "Blind Detective", your role as a blind person is different from what we usually see if an actor plays a blind person in the movies; it still feels like your character is able to see. Did you make it your objective to play the character like that?
Andy: After interacting with blind people, I want to portray someone who does not look blind on the outside but what they really feel inside. I got a really good advice from the blind person, saying that every action and every expression by them is not much different than that of someone who is able to see, for example, feelings. Blind people still have to eat, drink and walk, just that they are 'seeing' darkness. I can't say if I did it right or wrong, but when I watched back my performance, I can say that it was pretty similar to them.

Andy Lau.

Which scene in the film was your favourite? I personally feel that the one in the casino where you were provoking the murder suspect was the most exciting scene.
Sammi: Yes I agree too, to me it's an experimental scene. If you asked me 8 to 10 years ago to act in this film, I might not be as brave as there are certain scenes I had to really open up so that I can really portray my emotions.

Andy: It was when I was sitting in the murder suspect's car, which actually was a much longer scene and has been shortened in the film. I think I acted great in that scene! [Laughs]

The partnership between the two of you and Johnnie To seems a guarantee for box office success. Is this expectation an encouragement or is pressure?
Andy: I have never really thought about it, everyone has their own views and we are able to accept it. However, the most important thing is that we perform our best.

Sammi: Many of us wouldn't know how successful the film is until we see the end results. What is important is that the encouragement and expectations we get from the audiences from us being a team again.

Sammi, you missed out on the opportunity of getting an award at the Golden Horse award last year. How do you feel about it?
Sammi: I feel that I had let Johnnie To down, because he worked hard to mentor me, and I hope to do better next time.

Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng in a scene from "Blind Detective".

"Blind Detective" has already received some bad reviews from the critics. What are your thoughts on this, Sammi?
Sammi: I will just kick the two stars away! [Laughs] Similar to a dish, everyone has their own taste, that's why the two stars don't do the film justice; maybe 3 stars will be more acceptable. I beg you all not to give it two stars, it will make me sad!

How about you Andy?
Andy: If the film was really rated two stars, to me it's not a problem as long as the audience are able to give honest comments and suggestions. I will make it a point to remember it, so that in the future I will work even harder. If the film manages to get a 5-star rating, I might get a little too cocky, so it's best to give it four and a half stars.

What do the both of you hope for the media and the audience see in the film?
Sammi: I hope they will see that we have worked hard. Personally for me, I wish that people are able to see different sides of me.

Andy: I hope that whether it's Johnnie To's direction, the screenplay or both of us acting, people will see that we've done something different and enjoy that.

Cinema Online, 18 July 2013

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