By Kim Tae-jong
PUSAN _ If you had the opportunity, what would you ask Hong Kong movie star Andy Lau
? Would it be about his acting career of the past two decades or his upcoming movie, or his personal interests?
It could be any of these, but most people are fascinated by another subject _ what's his secret of staying young?
"There is really no special secret", Lau told The Korea Times last Friday at a room in the Seacloud Hotel in Haeundae.
The 44-year-old veteran actor seemed to have been "teased" by the same question from many people, and he simply said, "Getting old is not something that you should be ashamed of, and worrying to much about getting old can make you grow older".
His answer may sound disappointing for those who may have been seeking his secret. But more than anything else, his passion for cinema may keep him active and young.
Born in 1961 in Hong Kong, he started his career as a television actor in 1980. He has starred in over 100 films including the "A Better Tomorrow" series, "To Love With No Regret
" and the "Internal Affair" series. Performing as a pop singer with 116 albums to his credit, he has become one of Asia's most popular stars.
Lau has recently finished his new blockbuster film "A Battle of Wits
", a joint project between three countries _ Japan, South Korea and China. He worked with Korean actors including Ahn Sung-ki
and Hong Kong director Jacob Cheung, along with Japanese filmmakers.
He is also expected to star in another co-production blockbuster epic "Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon" with Hong Kong and South Korean production companies.
He spoke highly of the potential of joint projects between Asian countries.
"I hope these kind of efforts should keep being made, and I think they will", Lau said.
He believes international projects broaden the market and bring more media attention, a good marketing strategy,
"But the most important thing is the quality of the movie no matter how many benefits such co-production projects bring", he said.
Lau said working with staff from different countries was an interesting experience even though they use different languages and come from different cultural backgrounds. "Through working on the film, I have made so many good friends including Ahn", he said.
Apart from his acting career, he is also regarded as a successful film producer. He has established a production company, Focus Films, and has distributed independent films. One of his latest productions is "Crazy Stone", the closing film of the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF).
"When I first started as an actor, so many people helped me a lot and I was able to reach my current position. Now I think it's time for me to give talented people a chance", Lau said.
For his dedication to promoting Asian cinema, and support for promising Asian directors, he received the Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award from PIFF last Friday.
As an honorary guest to PIFF, he said he enjoyed being in Pusan as the festival is full of the energy of moviegoers.
"It's like I'm now in Cannes or something. But I think PIFF is better as there are many more chances to meet fans here. I think a film festival should be for moviegoers", Lau said.
He is now working hard to bring back the golden days of Hong Kong cinema _ the period ranging from the late 1980s to the early 1990s _ and he hopes that there will be more chances for more Hong Kong film stars to meet their fans here. He believes only a limited number of Hong Kong films have been shown here because of the dominance of Korean and Hollywood films.
"I would do my best to protect the screen quota if I were from the Korean film industry. I wish we had a similar system in Hong Kong. But I also hope many Hong Kong films will screen here. So I will do my best to make a good film and I hope it will be screened here after winning the competition with Hollywood films", Lau said.