Raking in 3.4 billion at the Chinese box office, big-budget sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth 2 <流浪地球2> has a heart-wrenching subplot about actor Andy Lau (劉德華) keeping his dead daughter alive digitally through an AI program. Sharing on his own experience, the superstar realized that he only knew how to handle child actors after becoming a parent himself!
Safety Protocols On Set
With numerous underwater scenes involved, Wandering Earth II, a prequel to the first instalment also by Frant Guo (郭帆), uses a different approach, he commented. “We did not have to stay as long underwater, though it is tough, the production team did their best to make everyone more comfortable,” Safety measures were also adequate, added Andy, as every actor had a professional diver tagging along, to whom they could alert whenever there was a problem; with an emergency drill at the start of each day’s filming.
Used to be Impatient with Child Actors
Asked if he had an emotional attachment to sci-fi films, Andy revealed that while he was not obsessed about the genre, he has a penchant for heartwarming stories on a sci-fi premise, his favorite being Extra Terrestial < ET外星人>. In the sci-fi epic, Andy has many scenes with the child actress who plays his onscreen daughter – whose life he tries to preserve in the digital realm through AI, after she gets killed in a fatal car crash.
Reflecting on his past filming experiences with young actors, Andy recounts, “I (worked with) two small kids during Lee Rock <雷洛傳>, we had to record audio on set but they were noisy, so I dragged them to the back alley and sternly chastised, “Can you be quiet for a while,”” Having supervised his daughter in doing her homework for two straight hours, the thespian knows that children tend to be fidgety, and hence is now much more patient when working with child actors!
A Lenient Daddy to Hanna
A demanding father onscreen, the 56-year-old described both himself and his wife Carol Chu (朱麗卿) as indulgent parents to only child, Hanna. “Both of us accommodate her, she doesn’t have to fear anyone, but will surrender beneath our love, haha,” Jet-setting around according to his filming schedule, Andy could only interact with Hanna via video calls when she was younger – just like his character had to interact with his reel-life daughter through the monitor. Andy shared how Hanna had to learn to accept things, “I was on FaceTime with her, and she’d hang up and say, “I want the real thing!””
Signaling a new chapter for Chinese science-fiction filmmaking, Andy is optimistic that with Louis Koo’s (古天樂) groundbreaking Warriors of Future <明日戰記> and The Wandering Earth series, Chinese filmmakers are taking vital steps towards making progress in the genre through making mistakes on set, and learning from them every day. “While in the process, we might be laughed at for not being up to mark in some areas, but as long as you are trying, you are making mistakes, with that comes the chance (to achieve more),” he surmised.