Chow Yun Fat’s Comeback Takes China by Storm – Still True to Roots, Admits to being a TVB Fan
Over two years ago, Chow Yun Fat stopped working. To Rest and to nurse his illness.
Upon his return, his comeback production "Curse of the Golden Flower" has grossed a massive RMB 270 million in just 20 days since its release, breaking the records for any Chinese language film in history. Since his return, he has filmed a number of films already and has made himself an estimated HK$260 million.
The film seems set to overtake the previous highest grossing film in China "Titanic" which made RMB 350 million. Dubbed as the highest grossing Chinese Actor ever, Chow says modestly: "There are higher peaks yet. (You have been estimated to have earned over $200 million last year?) Don’t count! Only Mrs Chow knows about this and I just act for the fun of it." As for Mrs Chow Jasmine Tan, she laughs: "Hahaha… this is a commercial secret."
After filming "Bulletproof Monk" in 2003, Chow returned to filming in 2006, shooting three movies, including "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" and two Mainland productions "Curse of the Golden Flower" and "Aunt’s Postmodern Life". Is he suggesting that he will be returning to the Mainland market? Chow says: "I have not said I will not return, as long as there is a good role and a good script, then no matter if it is a Mainland production or a Hollywood production, or even a Hong Kong production, then I will take a part." Chow will be filming this year for Hollywood’s "The Bitter Sea" and John Woo’s "Battle of Red Cliff". Is he making up for lost time after two years away? Chow says: "Go with the flow! I have rested for two years and been very happy. Taking photos, learning English and Mandarin – very happy!"
2003 was Bad and Depressing
Although he is now a Hollywood star, Chow is as normal in Hong Kong as a local neighbour and happily spends each day with laughter, so when he tells of how he suffered depression in 2003, this is a little surprising. Now fully recovered, he lightly tells his story: "Men have the menopause too! This is a biological imbalance of the hormones and you can see that Liza Wang and Frances Yip have had it! When women stop menstruating, then it is like that, it is just a stage in life. After taking hormones, I am fine. If I did not treat it, I would have turned into an old man. Or maybe I would have killed someone with a hammer or become aggressive and violent. If you can treat this illness early, then you are fine. It is like having a cold or flu, everyone gets it at some point in their life."
Chow admits that his illness was related to his work: "Having worked for so long, stopping and not doing anything affected my psychological state a little. I never imagined that SARS would break out in that year and society turned very grim. Leslie [Cheung] and Anita [Mui] both passed away. It was terrible and very depressing."
A Wish from 30 Years Ago
In an interview, thirty years ago, Chow once said that he hopes to sit alone beside a house alongside a lake, wearing a cap and smoking a pipe, watching the lake with a blanket over his lap. Thirty years later today, his wish is still there, but now he has someone beside him – Mrs Chow.
Chow says: "I don’t go out much usually. I will either read at home or go shopping in Kowloon City, but when I get on set, I love my work and after work, I will go and seek some leisuretime with my friends."
On a one day trip to the country, Chow can be heard
commenting to himself as he sees the sea and the lakes: "If I build a house here, it would be so good." Chow has seen a lot of the world, but his ambition of many years remains unchanged. He says: "My roots have always been here and in the future, I only want to be in Hong Kong or China, which truly belongs to the Chinese and has mountains and water and things for me to photograph. (In the past you were on your own, now you have your wife beside you?) Ha… if she doesn’t mess around, then she can stay beside me. She must not disturb my creativity."
Although Chow is often not in Hong Kong, his heart is still with the Hong Kong film industry and he is also a huge TV fan. In terms of the new generation of film actors, Chow feels that Nicholas Tse and Cecilia Cheung have the most potential. As for Jay Chow, he says: "He gave a great performance in ‘Initial D’. ‘Curse of the Golden Flower’ is selling well, so I will watch his third film. I think he will do well. (Edison Chen has also broken into Hollywood?) His repertoire is not as broad as Nicholas. As for the ladies, Zhou Xun is good as she has acting talent and box office takings."
As for television, Chow praises Kevin Cheng to start with: "He is pretty good! Quite handsome! Others… Bosco Wong and Moses Chan have a broad spectrum of roles. The TV station is quite good, it is a training base and when people like Gallen Lo move onto other places, people miss him, so TVB really have given him a valuable sword."
To have been named by a superstar such as Chow, Kevin was very taken aback: "Is that true? I am so happy, it feels like I have won the lottery, because I have watched Chow’s acting since I was a boy and he has always been my idol. I am very thankful for his support and I feel just as excited by his acclaim as I was when I won an award. I will work hard in my acting in the future."