48 HOURS: You're given top billing in the new horror comedy Sifu Vs Vampire (opens October 16). How does it feel to be lead actor again after such a long time? YUEN BIAO : Oh well, it's been a very long time. I don't feel especially strongly about being a movie's lead actor, after having worked in this business for so long. I'm fine as long as a project suits me. How does it compare to the time you starred in Mr Vampire Part 2 (1986), which was one of the earliest Chinese hopping vampire films? It's completely different. The pacing has drastically changed: while those early films would take time to explain to the audience what the vampires are about, movies nowadays don't waste any time elaborating on the story background. It's pure entertainment now. What is it about Sifu Vs Vampire that most interested you? This is very easy viewing. The audience don't have to think much. It's loud and funny. I think these are the basic requirements for a film nowadays, though I'm also aware that the times have changed and there are a greater variety of movies in Hong Kong. The local horror movie genre regained its popularity following the release of Juno Mak's Rigor Mortis last year. How would you position your film in this recent trend? This Wong Jing production exists in a different world from those films directed by Juno Mak or Nick Cheung. A Wong Jing film is always very direct and commercial in the way it scares you or makes you laugh. It's relentless. I've watched Juno's Rigor Mortis for reference, though I think his film functions primarily to scare viewers rather than as a horror comedy. On that note, I notice that most of your films were of the purely commercial type. That's not up to me. I've also made films that are relatively less commercial, such as On the Run (1988). I'm actually quite fond of that type of film, but they have to happen in their own time. They are less physically demanding, although they require you to be more mature of mind. As an actor, I want to make many kinds of movies — including dramas with action scenes. But don't count on me to play an elderly guy the way Jet Li Lin-kit played a father [in the 2010 weepie Ocean Heaven ]. I mean, are they seriously casting us [martial arts actors] in those parts? [ Laughs ] I'm sure Li was proud of his part. Yes, but I don't think we should be playing those characters. I could make a part dramatic even if I'm playing a martial arts practitioner. But if you ask me to play a Chow Yun-fat type of character in an Eileen Chang adaptation ... that's out of the question. I'd rather take part in the romantic scenes in Once Upon a Time in China (1991). That's as far as I'm willing to go. As a child, you were part of the Peking opera troupe Seven Little Fortunes, which included Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan. Did you compete to be the best fighter? Did we get into fights? Of course we did — but not to decide who was the better fighter. It was the [China] Drama Academy that we attended, and that's why we didn't exactly have to fight each other. We didn't grow up in the kind of kung fu academies you see in movies. We grew up in a boarding school; we ate and slept and learned about the theatre stage together. It was only after we entered show business that we started to learn the basics of action filmmaking. Do you consider yourself a film buff? I'm so-so. I'm not completely indifferent to movies, but I'm also not obsessed enough to dedicate all my time to it. There's a time for work and there's a time for rest. When I'm not making films, I just spend time with friends who are not in showbiz.