Video: Tony Leung mania grips university
A massive crowd of students past and present, staff, journalists, cameramen and even paparazzi jostled to catch sight of actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai at the University of Hong Kong yesterday, fresh from his role in The Grandmaster.
Students had to be up at 3am the day before to secure the chance to quiz him on his role in his latest film. That was the time the tickets went on sale, and by 7.30am, they were all gone.
"Tony Leung: me and the roles I played", video by Hedy Bok
The 1,000 lucky students and alumni got to attend a dialogue with Leung about the movie in Lok Yew Hall.
They lined up at microphones set up around the hall to pose all manner of questions to Leung, asking about what it was like to collaborate with director Wong Kar-wai and the relationship between characters in the movie.
The film, which opened last month in Hong Kong and is in the line-up at this month's Berlin Film Festival, is based on the life of Ip Man, grandmaster of the Wing Chun school of martial arts and teacher of kung fu legend Bruce Lee.
When Man is challenged to fight by a martial arts master from Shandong, his technique and restraint win over martial artists across the country.
But his opponent's daughter, played by Zhang Ziyi, is not so impressed, and challenges Man to another fight to restore her family's reputation.
Leung said he did plenty of reading up on both Ip and Bruce Lee in preparation for the role.
"I digested what I learnt and created my expression of Ip," he said. "I brought these two characters together."
Besides studying the literature, Leung said he also trained in kung fu for four years in order to play the part. "Kung fu is not just physical, it is also mind training," he said. "It's a life philosophy."
The actor said the most difficult scene for him was one which was set in the rain. He recalled how he kept getting colder and colder. He said he learnt a lot from making the movie. "I gained a lot," he said. "I trained in kung fu for four years; I read so much about Bruce Lee and Ip Man; I learnt about the philosophy of martial arts."