Friday, July 20, 2018

Tony Leung

Tony Leung, Toronto, Sept. 7, 2007

DOING PORTRAITS AT THE FILM FESTIVAL WAS ALWAYS A REMINDER that there is more than one Hollywood. Decades ago, when I started shooting actors and directors there, I was aware of Bollywood, but I quickly learned about the massive film industry in Hong Kong and China, with stars and box office numbers as impressive as any studio summer blockbuster.

In this other Hollywood someone like Maggie Cheung or Tony Leung are as big as Nicole Kidman or George Clooney, and anywhere else but Toronto it's unlikely that I'd get access to them. It made shoots like this feel like a bit of a privilege, and by the time I did this shoot with Tony Leung I was as fully aware of his persona and intent on working with it in the scant minute or so I had with him.

Tony Leung, Toronto, Sept. 7, 2007

As I noted when I wrote about my shoot with Maggie Cheung, much of the allure of In The Mood For Love, Wong Kar-Wai's enigmatic romantic featuring Cheung and Leung as frustrated lovers, came from how good-looking they were onscreen. I approached Leung like a matinee idol, and tried to capture some impression of his cool intensity.

As with much of the 2007 festival, I was working in the dim rooms at the Intercontinental, where the right spot of light had to be discovered somewhere in the room, and rarely in the same place. I found it in a corner, and decided to ask Leung to do a little bit of acting for the horizontal shot above, playing at the hint of a scene from a film noir that could have been set in just such a dim room.

This is probably one of my favorite shoots from this festival, and I liked to imagine it printed in a Hong Kong cinema magazine. (Considering the blase attitude toward intellectual property in that part of the world, there's every reason to believe that one of these shots could still end up there, now that I've put them back into circulation.)

Tony Leung, Toronto, Sept. 7, 2007

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