Movie Talk. John Chong talks about "Love in the Buff", "Initial D", "Inferno Affairs" and "Lethal Weapon"
John Chong is not only the name of a producer that one can repeatedly find on film posters, but it is actually his pseudonym as a screenwriter. While kicking off his career in the screenwriting class at TVB (Television Broadcasts Limited) in the 1980s, he later worked at Golden Princess Amusement, responsible for film promotion. This consists of many tasks at once: naming film titles, making slogans, print advertisements and trailers. When Chong co-founded the Media Asia Group in 1994 with six other industry's leaders, he kept using this name even after being a film studio boss.
Produced more than a hundred films, John Chong's strong creative background and experience in the film market are the key reasons for many Hong Kong films becoming box-office hits and award-winning classics, including Beast Cops and The Warlords. He is highly respected as an outstanding film businessman, and the media often seek his advice on commercial topics such as, ‘What is the future of the Hong Kong film industry?' and ‘What are the elements of successful films?'
The answers to those questions can be found in the new series of Movie Talk, with screenings of four films hand-picked by John Chong himself. The four films are "Love in the Buff", "Initial D", "Inferno Affairs" and "Lethal Weapon". He shared his secrets of being a film businessman with four other film experts.
(The videos are broadcasted in Cantonese)
Movie Talk - John Chong "Love in the Buff"
Continuing the story of its prequel with the same title in 2010, "Love in the Buff" (2012) follows Jimmy Cheung and Cherie Yu working in Beijing after their breakup and having fallen in love with other people. In this Mainland-Hong Kong co-production, the taste of the Mainland audiences is catered to while retaining the distinctive features of a Hong Kong movie, making it a box office hit in both markets.
Movie Talk - John Chong "Initial D"
Adapted from a wildly popular manga series, "Initial D" (2005) tells the story of a youngster with extraordinary driving potential, transforming from a delivery driver to a racer. During shooting, the copyright holder of the Japanese manga originally requested 29 amendments but thanks to Chong's negotiation skills, only a slight change in one line of dialogue was made. The adaption film has become a Hong Kong classic.
Movie Talk - John Chong "Infernal Affairs"
"Infernal Affairs" (2002) stands out from the usual works in the genre of Hong Kong undercover films by creating a double-undercover narrative; an undercover cop in a gang and a gangster infiltrating the police force. In portraying the duo who secretly try to outmanoeuvre each other, the story captures the inner feelings of the characters as well. This blockbuster film is a multiple award winner that spawned adaptations in Hollywood and Japan.
Chong is also an expert in film titling. For the titling of the Hollywood film "Lethal Weapon" (1987), instead of a literal translation of the original title, Chong gave the film a Chinese title that alludes to the go-for-broke working style of the protagonist, while signalling the film as an action movie. This first-of-its-kind title by Chong has attracted various subsequent similar styles of film titling for remakes.