Legendary Hong Kong movie star Tony Leung said after 40 years in the business he’s having more fun than ever playing different roles – although he still hopes to be cast as a serial killer.
Winner of Asian Cineast of the Year at the Busan International Festival in South Korea, Leung is best known for his work with acclaimed director Wong Kar-wai.
Half a dozen of his films, including Wong’s In the Mood for Love (2000) and Happy Together (1997), will be screened at the festival, which is Asia’s largest and runs until October 14.
The 60-year-old actor, who made his television debut in 1981, told reporters in Busan that he loves complex roles that make him thought-provoking – and said he’s had more chances to play them later in his career.
“I think the first 20 years was about learning, and the second 20 years was about showing what you learned,” Leung said Thursday.
He said he’s “getting to a point where I can enjoy being an actor without being stressed out. It’s a lot of fun as I can play more diverse roles now and characters to play as I get older.” will.”
Some of Leung’s most well-known roles are a ruthless Chinese politician who works with the invading Japanese in Ang Lee’s 2007 period drama Lust, Caution, and an undercover cop in Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs series.
He made his Hollywood debut in 2021 by playing a multi-layered supervillain in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a superhero film based on Marvel Comics.
“Personally, I’d love to try and play a serial killer,” he said, adding that he’s also interested in returning to television, which is enjoying something of a golden age thanks to streaming money.
– “Masterpieces” –
Busan Film Festival director and acclaimed film critic Huh Moon-young said Leung is unlike other actors of his generation.
Among Leung’s works, “there are many masterpieces that will long remain in the history of world cinema,” Huh told reporters.
Leung has long been a popular character in South Korea – where Hong Kong cinema was at its peak in the early 1990s – and made his debut at the 1997 Busan Festival.
Since then, South Korea has cemented its status as a global cultural powerhouse, thanks in part to the explosive success of the Oscar-winning film Parasite and the Netflix series Squid Game.
Leung said the festival has come a long way since his first experience in Busan.
“When I first visited the Busan Festival, the opening ceremony took place after the organizers set up a small stage on a narrow street,” Leung said, adding that he lost a shoe during the chaos.
“Seeing such a grand opening ceremony yesterday seems like things have changed. It was very nice to see.”
Leung said he would like to work with two of South Korea’s top stars – actor Song Kang-ho from “Parasite” and actress Jeon Do-yeon.
“I’m willing to go anywhere, including South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, as long as I have to,” he said.
“It’s the connections and the timing that make projects appear.”