There’s still two more weeks before the official release of Still Human <淪落人>, but it is already on its way to becoming movie of the year.
Still Human, the debut feature of Oliver Chan (陳小娟), tells the story of two very different individuals who help each other navigate through different stages of life. Anthony Wong (黃秋生) plays Leung Cheong-wing, a paralyzed man facing a midlife crisis, and Crisel Consunji plays Evelyn, his Filipino domestic worker who has to put her dream on hold to earn a living.
The film had its local premiere in November 2018, but the film will not be open to the public until April 11, 2019. Still Human has already swept several prestigious awards, including Best New Director for Oliver Chan at the 13th Asian Film Awards, Best New Artiste for Crisel Consunji at the Hong Kong Film Directors’ Guild, and Best Actor for Anthony Wong, winning critical acclaim.
It’s not a surprise to see Still Human sweeping the critics’ heart—the film’s heartwarming and inspiring story between a paralyzed veteran and his young aide is a winning formula for awards. But it wasn’t the script that drew Anthony to the film. It was its relatability.
“You can’t just read a script and know that it’s going to be good,” said the award-winning actor. “What if the script is good but the director isn’t? What is the director is great but the editing is horrible? Even if you have a great editor, you will come across strong opponents. You have both a wandering Mars and a wandering Pluto flying towards you. You’re going to die!”
Many critics and viewers who managed to catch the local premiere said the film moved them to tears, but Anthony said it was the story’s relatability and rationality that moved him to accept the role. “More importantly, it was their decision to cast a Filipino actress as the lead actress. A story like this should’ve been made into a movie a long time ago, but it wasn’t done until now. This director has great insight.”
Still Human was produced with a small budget of HK$3 million, not nearly enough to hire a two-time award winning movie star like Anthony. To ensure that the film gets made, Anthony opted to do the movie for free, but was promised to get compensated through bonuses if the movie made money.
All of these sacrifices, and it wasn’t even for the script.
“I really want to compliment Oliver,” said Anthony. “She wanted me for the role because she said I had melancholy eyes. She’s quite observant. Because of that, I’ve come to realize that I do share many similarities with my role.”
Anthony’s character, Leung Cheong-wing, became paralyzed waist-down after a construction accident. Hitting that awkward stage of being middle-aged, he felt hopeless and stuck. Anthony, too, is at a stage in his life where he is neither remembered nor forgotten. His strong political views has prevented him from expanding his career to China, “paralyzing” his career.
“We all know that the main market is no longer in Hong Kong, and that market wants no business with you. I consider myself half-retired.”
A particular scene in Still Human still resonates in Anthony’s mind to this day—“You talk about dreams. What dreams do I have? I am worthless.”
Anthony said, “It’s true. The character is paralyzed in the open, while my paralysis is hidden. I can relate to his words very much.”
Anthony Wong will be contending for Best Actor at the upcoming Hong Kong Film Awards, alongside Crisel Consunji for Best Actress and Oliver Chan as Best Director.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.