Thank you Tony Leung

tony_leung_coverHappy birthday Tony Leung! (June 27, 1962)

I’ve been a fan of Tony’s since watching Police Story on tapes from the Hong Kong TVB back in the 80’s. Then of course, he starred in Heaven Sword, Dragon Sabre, my sister’s favorite Jin Yong adaptation. Lately, he’s been taking on intense feature film roles. He was fabulous in Hero — and I argue the true “hero” of the piece instead of Jet Li’s character…but that’s a movie discussion for another day.

Lust, Caution — mesmerizing. I would love to say Tony’s Mr. Yee was the inspiration for the character of Li Tao in The Dragon and the Pearl, but I had actually written the manuscript before seeing Lust, Caution.

Tony once said about his counterpart, actress Maggie Cheung:

“Maggie is a truly formidable partner – one to waltz with. We do not spend a lot of time with each other, as we like to keep some mystery between us. Whenever I see her, I discover something new about her.”

Maggie and Tony are like Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.

When writing romance, I’m very much inspired by complex characters. The hero and heroine always have secrets they keep from each other, but I lose interest if the information comes too easily. If the interactions are so predictable other than the obvious fact that the hero and heroine aren’t speaking “the big secret” aloud, I get frustrated.

tonyI want to read stories where I hit the happily-ever-after ending, but I’m still left with a sense that the waltz is really just beginning. There are mysteries between the happy couple yet to be discovered for years and years to come. That’s what keeps the chemistry alive.

What’s the key to recreating that feeling? I don’t know. Perhaps there’s a hint within the note my Little Sis likes to put in the margin of my manuscripts – “Need internal reaction here — preferably mixed.”

Tony’s quote has given me a lot of inspiration. So thank you Tony and happy birthday.

(Note: See how I refrained from drawing little hearts over Tony’s picture? So mature of me.)

Asian cinema doesn't believe in happy endings

My sister suggested I watch “Lust, Caution” directed by Ang Lee while she was reading my manuscript. She said there were some similar themes in the movie to my story. I finished watching it two nights ago and still find myself thinking about it. The movie was a period piece set in Shanghai during World War II. Extremely emotional and, of course, very depressing.

When was the last Asian film you saw with a happy ending? Other than Jackie Chan? We seem to love the desperate and tragic twists to life. Everyone suffers and everyone dies.

Don’t get me wrong. It really was a beautiful movie. Gorgeous. Moving. The type of story that makes we want to write something with the same emotional depth, but just give it some hope and happiness at the end.