Cecil Chao

Film about 'dowry' must make me look good, says Cecil Chao

Tycoon happy to invite Baron Cohen crew into Villa Cecil but only if comedy about HK$500m lesbian 'dowry' paints him in a positive light

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 11:51am

Property tycoon Cecil Chao Sze-tsung said he would be happy to help Hollywood filmmakers create a comedy based on his HK$500 million marriage bounty offer for his daughter Gigi, but on the condition that he was portrayed in a positive light.

The chairman of Cheuk Nang Holdings said he hoped the producers would get in touch with him soon.

"Why don't they contact me? I can give them some good information," Chao, 76, told the South China Morning Post yesterday.

"I'd be pleased to help them, but make me a good person in the film. I will co-operate with them, anything they want," he said.

Chao added that he would be happy to welcome the crew to film at his 20,000-square-foot mansion, Villa Cecil, in Pok Fu Lam.

It was announced last week that Golden Globe winner Sacha Baron Cohen will be developing The Lesbian for Paramount Pictures through his Four By Two Films company.

The story is inspired by Chao's offer of HK$500 million for a man who would marry his daughter Gigi Chao, 33, who entered into a civil union with female partner Sean Eav in France in April.

"They might as well do it in a nice way," Chao said. "It's going to be [humorous]... but in a good way and present me as a good person, not a bad person."

Baron Cohen's publicist Matt Labov confirmed the plan, but would not reveal any more details, as a writer was yet to be attached to the project and it had not been cast. Labov declined to say if the team would be getting in touch with Chao.

Chao said he had received 20,000 applications to make friends with Gigi since the offer was made three weeks ago.

"I looked up 100 of them and passed them to Gigi. I don't have time to interview 20,000 of them," he said. "It's up to Gigi to sort it out. What's the point of me choosing anybody? It's a waste of my life if that's not Gigi's choice."

Chao said the HK$500 million had been set aside "for Gigi's future life" and could be used for a house and to start some moderate business.

When asked whether the person would get the HK$500 million if it was a "she" who Gigi chose, Chao laughed.

"This is an offer to be her husband," he said. "But if she doesn't choose, what can I do?"