AS ONE OF THE MOST hardworking artists in Hong Kong, there is hardly any doubt that Andy Lau Tak-wah is a very busy man. Not only does he have to take care of his successful careers as a singer and actor, Lau is also the boss of an entertainment company with diverse interests in show business. But despite the hectic demands on his time, Lau has not forgotten his early days as a struggling actor whose big breaks came from people who were generous to give him much-valued opportunities to prove his talent. Over the past few years, Lau has worked quietly to give young talent and new film-makers a start in the competitive entertainment world either by financing their projects or putting his name on to their films to give them added influence. Directors such as Fruit Chan and Mak Yan-yan, plus the young talents featured in the recent film Give Them A Chance, have all benefited from Lau's influence. Lau believes that the industry is in continuous need of new talent, especially in these days when Hong Kong films are doing badly at the box office. 'We need new talent. If we want more people to go to cinemas and watch our movies, we need people to do the work,' he says. But the actor-singer says ultimately the decision on which new film-maker to help or which project to back depends on his or its business viability. Lau is not a person who takes unnecessary risks. The singer says that most of his career decisions are carefully thought out and targeted. This might explain why after more than 20 years in the business, Lau's albums and films are still on the bestsellers lists. His latest album, If There Was A Day, has been no different. The actor will soon be seen in a new movie Running On Karma, which will see him donning a heavy bodysuit that makes him look like a bodybuilder. The bodysuit he wears in Running On Karma is much more tortuous than the one he put on for Love On A Diet two years ago, he explains. 'I never thought that Karma would be that tough ... I had to carry a lot of extra weight around and it's an action film,' he says. Running On Karma will see Lau renew his new partnership with his Cat And Mouse co-star Cecelia Cheung Pak-chi. After finishing Running On Karma, Lau is scheduled to star in the new Zhang Yimou martial arts movie. Critics are touting the new film as Lau's big break into the international arena. Although he was one of the first Hong Kong artists to sign with a Hollywood management company 10 years ago, going international isn't Lau's main consideration now. He turned down roles in M. Butterfly and Entrapment because the roles weren't right. 'I want to find the projects that I want to make. If Hollywood came to look for me, of course I would be happy, but it's not something that is necessary,' he says.