It has been called the Hong Kong version of the Brad Pitt starrer "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", but although there may be some similarities between the two, this Francis Ng and Louis Koo movie is just as bizarre as the case of Francis Ng playing the father of Louis Koo!
Yes, you read that right. The 54-year-old Ng plays the father of 46-year-old Koo, but not without a twist of course.
In "Shed Skin Papa" by Roy Szeto, the movie is quite literal to its title. A frustrated director Tian Lik Hang (Koo) finds that his 80-year-old dementia-ridden father (Ng) is suddenly regaining his youth. He does so by shedding a layer of skin every day and each shedding reveals him to be ten years younger. When the two approach almost the same age, they get another chance to bond and understand each other better.
The director and cast of the film were at the Tokyo International Film Festival where the film competed against 16 other movies for the Competition section.
Cinema Online who was at the festival talked to the team on the much welcomed reunion between Ng and Koo since 2016's "Line Walker" and to find out what the movie is all about as we patiently await a release date for the yet to be dated movie in our territory.
Cinema Online: Hi Roy, why did you chose to adapt this story into a Hong Kong film?
Roy Szeto: The first time I met Norihiko Tsukuda who wrote the Japanese play upon which the movie is based, it felt like we were brothers. Working on this film, I realised there are a lot of commonalities between Chinese and Japanese culture.
Why was Francis Ng chosen to play the father? Isn't he too young?
Roy Szeto: I couldn't think of anyone else in Hong Kong who could've played the father.
Francis Ng: I think Roy just doesn't know enough people. If he expanded his social circle a bit he'd realize there are a ton of great actors. [laughs]
What about Louis Koo who plays the son?
Roy: I've worked with Louis before, so I thought that if we worked together [on this film] it would go really well, and I'm happy to say it did.
Louis Koo: Francis and I aren't that far apart in age, so I was surprised when I heard I'd be playing his son!
So how did you prepare or accept Francis to play your father in the film? It must have been really strange.
Louis Koo: Before we starting shooting, Francis said he wanted to come over and have a meal with my father to see what our relationship was like. When we were shooting, especially when he was playing the version of himself in his 80s, he started to really resemble my father, so with his lead I was really able to get into my role.
Roy, what were the challenges you faced when making the film?
Roy Szeto: I don't understand Japanese myself, so I spoke a lot with Mr. Tsukuda, and the first draft of the screenplay was written by him as well," continuing, "I also saw both the Japanese and Cantonese versions of the play, and the way the Japanese version was staged was very different, so it was a valuable experience.