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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Freedom in the Streets When Filming

Interviewing director Dante Lam and lead actor Nick Cheung on "The Beast Stalker"

I have witnessed both in the United States and in Germany what film crews have gone through to get clearance as well as making sure safety is included. I was surprised to find how Dante Lam filmed The Beast Stalker in Hong Kong. The movie is a police thriller where Sergeant Tong Fei (Nickloas Tse), a very diligent man with high expectations of his crew, makes a grave error of judgment and accidentally kills a child hidden in the trunk of a car during a chase, which developed into a multi-car accident. All the characters in the accident are bound by fate in a sort of pop-fiction style film. Director Lam takes this genre to a new level. Although he is a ruthless kidnaper (Nick Cheung), you see the other side of him as he cares for his wife who was paralyzed from this car accident.

It was quite a fiasco to organize an interview director Dante Lam and lead actor Nick Cheung.  I felt like I was in a race-against-time scene in Hong Kong but luckily caught up with them before they left for the airport and hooked up with interpreter Ben Chun Choi at the same time. Amazingly, he actually had also seen the film, which made things go smoothly.

S: In the description it says that your film is a classic film of its genre.
D: No, actually it is not typical for films in Hong Kong now. It is more aesthetical and the use of color goes back to the 1980s.
S: Why is it called Beast Stalker?
D: For two reasons: First is it is based on one of my films called Beast Cop, which was very popular. Second is the idea that every person has a beast within him and we must fight against that.
 S: Where did the idea come from?
D: It is actually based on a true incident where there was a car accident and a police shooting where someone in the trunk of the car got shot. This accident is fate and brings these lives together.
S: How did you film the car accident? It seemed so surrealistic since it was done in slow motion.
D: I used several cameras from different angles to catch all the different storylines. The cameras were hand held and the broken glass was all preformed before the accident. The accident is fate and what brings their lives together.
S: How did you select your hero?
D: He actually is not an actor but a pop singer.  He is nice looking and can actually act.
S: How was it for the two girls to play such difficult roles? One dies while the other one is kidnapped and terrorized?
D: They had a lot of people that helped them through the scenes.
S: There is a scene where the little girl is coved by sand in a silo; did you have a stunt person do that?
D: No she did it. We practiced many times before doing that so it would be perfect. She had to close her eyes and her mouth and give into the sand. It was perfectly timed since Fei did not have so much time to dig her out.
S: It seemed that the kidnaper was not really a beast since he took care of his wife, what do you think?
C: He was a beast and that was his fate. There was nothing nice about him.
S: Was it a hard role to play?
C: The hardest part was the dying scene. I had to show that I was injured and losing strength while trying to regain control of the child.

S: Do bystanders know what’s going on or do they ever get hurt?
D: chuckled and said, “We have insurance.”
S:  Has anything ever happened when shooting on the streets randomly like that?
D: Yeah once the police thought we were actually bank robbers.

Dante and Cheung have humor by warning me to beware of film crews in the streets of Hong Kong; they might not have insurance!

Although I was shocked at some of these answers, Dante assured me that everything is practiced to perfection before they even start filming. The film budgets are limited so everything must be preplanned. They also just film on the streets and do not have to block streets or even get permission to do the film in certain locations, they just let the camera roll. No way would that ever be allowed that on a major street here in Hamburg.

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