Wayne Wang

"The Centre of the World"

Interviewed by James Mottram

Why did you want to tackle sex in "The Centre of the World"?

For any serious film maker, sex is always an intriguing topic. I've always been tempted to do something on it, but nothing was appropriate until last year, when I was hanging out with these dot.com guys. At night, they'd take all the money they made and go to strip clubs. It's like going to McDonalds, something very consumerist. The dancers are now more explicit, selling their fantasy on stage. Then you go and have a lap dance, which is all about fantasy, power and control. I saw this interaction and I thought I had to deal with it.

What did you learn about these dot.com guys?

By the time the film was ready, the dot.com bubble had burst. But these men were not depressed. They have sacking parties. They're all talking about the next wave that will come. They created the first fantasy, and they will create another. In a way, the whole film is about fantasy, it's a metaphor for the whole dot.com industry.

How did you approach the actors when making the film?

When I first proposed this to the actors, I said I wanted real sex. They disagreed with me and we argued. I kept the pressure on Molly because the tension is what the story is about, and I kept using Peter to put that tension on her. It got very brutal and physical, so I finally said to them "I believe it's real enough, so I'm gonna let you guys off the hook!" I also shot the film on digital video, which gives a gritty, voyeuristic quality to the film, though the actors think it is very freeing.