For the in-Competition presentation of Vengeance, director Johnnie To, actors Johnny Hallyday, Anthony Wong, and Simon Yam, and writer Wai Ka Fai, as well as producers Michèle and Laurent Pétin appeared at the press conference. Excerpts follow.
Johnnie To on his admiration for Jean-Pierre Melville:
"For me, this movie will naturally convey to the audience some of the flavors of the Melville movies. It's a crime movie about hitmen; there's not much dialogue, and there are also really cool romantic action heroes, and of course we have a French actor who's the lead. Doing this film is a real wonderful opportunity, almost like interaction between French and Hong Kong cinemas."
Johnny Hallyday on working with Johnnie To:
"It was a wonderful experience to work with a director as famous as Johnnie To. I'm a great admirer of all his movies. When I arrived in Hong Kong, I was very lost. I don't speak either Chinese or Mandarin. I had no way to make myself understood by people – very few people speak English over there. In fact, nobody does. This situation was a big help to me for the film, because the Costello character is also completely lost when he arrives in Hong Kong. I was surrounded by a Chinese culture, totally different from our own. And gradually, I got to know the people better, and how they live, how they think. I would love to have the possibility to re-do this wonderful experience in China. Maybe with Johnnie."
Johnnie To on the dinner scenes:
"Scenes of food and eating interest me a lot, because I'm a great food-lover, and I love cinema, so I always put the two together in my movies. On a more thematic level, we all know that at the dinner table, a lot of feelings or emotions are communicated between characters."
Johnny Hallyday on making the movie:
"I didn't have many lines to learn, so that was fine with me. Holding a gun is something I already knew how to do. Johnnie To's way of working reminded me of making Détective with Jean-Luc Godard. Jean-Luc would give you two pages in the morning, he'd be shooting at noon: two pages of lines to learn the same day. I didn't know what the story was. With Johnnie To, I was lucky, because he gave me a script, and I was the only person to have read the script, which changed a lot during the shooting. In order to improve the story, and make it hold together better. Otherwise, most of the other actors played day by day."
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