The name Wong Jing (王晶) is synonymous with Hong Kong films. Ever since the late 1980s, whether it is a movie about gambling, triads, comedy or girls, the chubby and small-eyed director only has one motive in mind when making his films – to bring entertainment to the viewers. Wong Jing has over 200 titles to his credit and one of Hong Kong’s most commercially successful film makers. Wong Jing values box office figures more so than praise and reviews from the movie critics.
For his latest project, The Last Tycoon <大上海>, Wong Jing was able to convince both Chow Yun Fat (周润发) and Huang Xiaoming (黄晓明) to star in the film. Wong Jing said, “Huang Xiaoming played the role of ‘Hui Man Keung’ in The Bund <上海灘> before and I know the audiences like him. For an established actor like Chow Yun Fat, money is the least of his concerns. If the script is good enough, that’s already winning half the battle.”
Wong Jing shares that the box office figures are more important to him that critics’ reviews. “The review only comes from one person or two persons and there are no standards to base their feedback on. Today someone can write that the movie Back to 1942 <一九四二> isn’t good because the online reviews are poor, but what does that really represent?”
Wong Jing continued, “Box office figures can give you an indication of how the audiences feel about your work. Movie goers aren’t dumb – they won’t pay to watch a movie that isn’t good – especially not 3 times! People vote with their money when they go to purchase the movie ticket, not based on what one movie critic said.”
As one of the most influential directors in the Hong Kong film industry, Wong Jing will always be compared to the other directors of the same caliber. When asked how he felt about fellow directors Andrew Lau (劉偉強) and Peter Chan (陳可辛), Wong Jing said the following:
“What I like about the Hong Kong film industry is the tight inner circle and a positive attitude amongst everyone, so it’s not a competitive environment, but rather a mutually encouraging one. Andrew Lau’s The Guillotines <血滴子> and my film, The Last Tycoon were showing at the same time. All the films did fairly well at the box office so it was a win-win situation for everyone.
“Everyone goes through ups-and-downs throughout their lives, so I don’t think it’s fair to compare us as directors and our journey. For example, Tsui Hark (徐克) experienced his peak twice, once in the 1990s and again in 2010. For me, it was during the 1990s as well. But everyone goes through a rough period too. Peter Chan (陳可辛) did really well in 2000, but maybe he’s not doing as well now. So everyone goes through these different phases in their lives, based on the current market conditions and many external factors.”
Wong Jing added, “I won’t pressure myself to go a certain direction by a certain period of time, because the market is always changing. I go with the flow whenever I get inspired. We’re no longer little kids that says things like, ‘I want to be a police officer when I grow up’. We have to look at the market conditions and needs and find a niche topic to focus on for a film. It’s not like ‘Aiya! I want to try something new’. Never.”
This article is written by Natalie for JayneStars.com.