Long time (over 40 years in kung fu films for this 60-year-old) kung fu actor Bruce Leung and co-director Clement Cheng, who went to school for a period in Vancouver, were on hand to present their film "Gallants" in front of a packed house at the Fantasia film festival. It is a Hong Kong kung fu picture that has some great fight scenes, plenty of humour and even a strong message of love and honour running underneath.
After the film and the presenting of the first ever Legendary Kung Fu Award to Bruce Leung the crowd was encouraged to ask questions to these two men.
Bruce Leung: I hope you loved the film. I am very excited as it is my first time in Montreal. I regret that I have to leave tomorrow.
Q: When did you come up with the idea for the film?
Clement Cheng: 10 years ago. When we brought it around nobody wanted to pay for it. We weren't discourage and persisted. We finally found a brave person to pay for it. The film was backed by one gentleman.
Q: Has the film been screening in Hong Kong?
Clement Cheng: Yes, it did pretty good. It was the 10th biggest film in the first half of the year.
Q: What was it like working with these four legends of kung fu films?
Clement Cheng: It was a dream come true. I grew up loving these guys and their films.
Q: How did you convince Teddy Robin Kwan to act in the film?
Clement Cheng: He is a legend. In case you don't know he formed the first rock band in Hong Kong in the 1960s. Then he was a director and producer in the 1980s. Teddy hasn't appeared in a film in 15 or 16 years so I was honoured when he agreed to be in this one.
Q: What was the budget for the film?
Clement Cheng: Initially it was 4-5 million Hong Kong dollars (roughly $7 million Canadian) and it ended up being around $8 million Hong Kong dollars. It was shot in 18 days.
Q: Where did you come up with the idea for the anime that is in the film?
Clement Cheng: It was inspired by Japanese anime from the 1970s and 1980s that I grew up loving. I always wanted to put it in a film.
Q: Bruce, after having spent 4 decades in martial arts films what do you see as the differences today?
Bruce Leung: Are you an industry insider? Filming of martial arts movies in the past was conservative because of the lack of technology. Technology now helps those who don't really know martial arts. CGI makes it easy for me. Kids still love martial arts films and that's why martial arts films will never die. CGI will become more a part of martial arts films and it is not something I want to see.
Q: Might it be too early for talk of a sequel?
Bruce Leung: If you want to see it why not.
Q: Is it true you don't like the name Bruce?
Bruce Leung: Don't misunderstand me. Everyone loves the name.
Q: Why is your character laughing and crying at the end of the film?
Bruce Leung: If someone has fired inside of them if you reach your goal should you laugh? But because of physical limitations should you cry? It's a true story (the scene).