There was a time when actor Louis Koo Tin-lok would shoot as many as 12 films a year. He worked around the clock, almost every day, taking on one production after another. 'It was crazy,' he says. '[Twelve movies] was one-fifth of the Hong Kong movie production for that year. I thought I needed a break.' How times have changed. Since last October, Koo has worked on only two productions: Johnny To Kei-fung's Election and its sequel. The slumping local film industry is one factor behind the lack of work, but the main reason is that Koo set up a management team a year ago and now controls his own workload. 'It's better for me to take things slowly,' he says. 'It's hard to play a role without enough time to prepare or by just merely following the director's instructions.' In To's latest movie, Koo plays a highly educated triad member who is calm and ambitious. Although the first episode focuses on a confrontation between two gangster leaders (Simon Yam Tat-wah and Tony Leung Ka-fai), a major part of the second episode will shift to Koo's character. The former TV star started his movie career in the Troublesome Night thriller series in the late 90s and has since had a hand in his fair share of gangster movies. But Koo says the part he plays in Election isn't a typical, stereotyped triad. 'Before filming started, I already knew the production would take a long time and I knew I would have a long period to develop my role into a more real person,' he says. It's the fourth time Koo has worked with To, after comedy Fat Choi Spirit (2002), romantic-comedy Love For all Seasons (2003) and last year's action-drama Throw Down. Unlike To's previous productions, however, there wasn't a completed script for Election before filming started and Koo says his role was developed through talks between him and the director. Koo was one of the producers of 2003's Naked Ambition, in which he plays a university graduate who establishes a successful porn magazine with his friend (Eason Chan Yik-shun). He says his focus is still on acting, although he may further his education when shooting on Election 2 is finished. 'I have to take my time,' he says. 'I can't handle so much information at the same time. I'm quite a slow person. If I can make a choice between riding a roller-coaster or a merry-go-round, I'll choose the merry-go-round because it allows me to look at things slowly and clearly.'