Maggie Cheung

In the Mood for Love

Interviewed by Film 2000 with Jonathan Ross

Tell me a little about your work.

I think I started to have thoughts to really want to be serious about my work when I was about twenty five and I just kind of started to look into that direction and moved into it. But it didn't seem as though it was going anywhere because, you know, films without action or comedy are rare to find in Hong Kong, especially if the main character is a woman. But along the way, I've had a few good breaks.

How was Wong Kar-wai while making the movie?

Sometimes he has to switch the camera to slow motion but we don't even know it because the camera is far away and we don't even hear the machines going. He will see a shot and then suddenly he will picture it as a slow motion shot and he'll just say, let's try one of those, and then he'll just do it, without us even knowing.

Tell me about the look of the film.

Well, hair and make-up was five hours every day so if we were shooting, twelve hours and then the turnover was like eight and people were sleeping eight hours, I was sleeping about five you know. That was hard for me to just go in every day before shooting. I mean, we have all the anxieties on the day's shoot and then you're there for five hours stuck in front of the mirror.

There have been a lot of movies about affairs. What attracted you to this film?

Well, first of all, I was attracted to this film because it's Kar-wai. I think in the end, he found a very intelligent way to tell the same story that we know from before, but in a way that it all seems new, and I think that's one of the reasons why it took so long to make. In total, it was fifteen months from the first day of shoot to the last day.

At the moment it seems like a lot of actors from the Hong Kong film community seem to be breaking out into western movies. What's changed?

Well first of all, in Hong Kong, I think they're still interested in the action films and I think in some ways in action films we still do it better than the Americans. I think that's the first interest that people have still on Hong Kong movies and, you know, the world is smaller now and it's time to open your eyes to other things.