Sunday, November 30, 2008

Celebrity sighting(s) in Hong Kong

Although it may look like, this actually isn't
a scene from Hong Kong's Madame Tussauds! ;)

Recently, I received an e-mail from one of this blog's lurkers asking me, among other things, what the chances are of catching sight of celebrities in Hong Kong. I guess, before anything else, it depends on people's definition of celebrities -- in my case, I'd count character actors and people behind the camera (like film directors, producers, scriptwriters and cinematographers) among them.

If you can recognize them, I'd say that the probability is fairly high -- this not least because Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated parts of the world and many Hong Kong movie people are apt to do things that are regular and normal (yet one might expect their Hollywood equivalents): e.g., take public transport (and I don't just mean taxis either!), shop in malls, eat in the public areas (as opposed to private rooms) of restaurants (and not all of them super-expensive eateries either), attend performing arts events and attend film screenings.

Re that last activity: To be sure, the vast majority of celebrities I've spotted at film screenings have been at movie premieres -- which I have been fortunate to been invited to attend. However, the fact of the matter is that nearly all premiere publicity events I've seen -- like the one for Vincent Chui's Three Narrow Gates yesterday evening which the movie's star, veteran character actor Liu Kai Chi, showed up to help promote -- have been in public space and consequently effectively open to the public.

Also, while I do think it unlikely that you'll find many well known faces in the crowd for regular peak-period screenings at multiplexes, I can vouch for having seen quite a few familiar visages attending such as Hong Kong International Film Festival and other special film programme screenings.

For those fellow fans of Hong Kong cinema who are feeling green with envy though, will hasten to add that celebrity spottings do not occur daily in Hong Kong. At the same time, it's also true enough that it's happened frequently enough that I've stopped keeping the list I thought for a time that it'd be cool to compile and really have lost count of the movie personalities I've had the good fortune to see -- and, in some cases, also speak to -- over here in the Big Lychee... ;)

Getting back to Liu Kai Chi: What a week the man has had! I.e., not only did Three Narrow Gates have its premiere at the Hong Kong Asian Independent Film Festival yesterday but Lawrence Lau (AKA Lawrence Ah Mon)'s Ballistic and Dante Lam's Beast Stalker, two very watchable movies in which he figures pretty prominently, opened this past Thursday! :b


Kathie Smith said...

Even though you don't see a celeb every day, I'm still envious! The only chance sighting I have had is Takashi Miike in the O'Hare Airport. I still can't believe I didn't say anything to him. Oh well.

I am counting on some sighting at the HKIFF!

Glenn, kenixfan said...

Did you take that photo yourself? Who are the other people in the photo?

Liu Kai-Chi has an expression that recalls his performance in The Detective for me.

YTSL said...

Hi Kathie --

Hey, Takashi Miike's not bad. And what are the chances of having seen him at O'Hare Airport of all places?! ;b

Re the HKIFF: Well, if you target those screening that have Q&A sessions, you'll be assured of *some* sightings... and, also, think to look around you as who knows who you could be seated just a few seats away. (Some people I've seen this way at the HKIFF: Michelle Yeoh, Ann Hui, Matt Chow and Lawrence Lau (AKA Lawrence Ah Mon) -- and yeah, figure that's a pretty eclectic bunch!) ;)

Hi Glenn --

Yes, I took that photo myself (note that's the case for those entries with "YTSL's photos" as one of their labels). As for the other people in the photo: imagine that they were entertainment reporters interviewing him. :)

Willow said...

I find it difficult to keep a look-out for, much less spot, a celeb when there are just too many people in the first place. I'm speaking outside of premieres and ff's. ;)

YTSL said...

Hi Willow --

"I find it difficult to keep a look-out for, much less spot, a celeb when there are just too many people in the first place."

Believe you me when I say that I know the feeling. Also, weird as it may sound: sometimes, when you see a celebrity in real life, they can seem so out of place that it's hard to believe/realize that it's actually really them! ;S