image Jude Poyer

At the left is Michelle Yeoh. At the right is Leslie Cheung. The photographed trio were filming Moonlight Express in 1998. In 2000, Jude Poyer was interviewed by Chris Ducker for the October issue of Hong Kong Superstars (whose copies are more difficult to find online than other H.K. zines). After the interview, Jude had completed filming scenes for Gen-Y Cops (where Paul {Ant-Man} Rudd* played the villain). Here is what Jude had to say about the process of getting the part in A Man Called Hero:

“I got a call to say that a new movie was looking for a couple of Caucasian actors to play a father and his son. Both had to be able to do dialogue, fight and perform stunts. So myself and Tom Hudak, who worked on Knock Off with myself, went up to Golden Harvest to cast for the assistant director – Sylvia Liu Jing-Yi. She and I had previously worked on The Blacksheep Affair. When she told us that her latest project was a follow-up of sorts to The Storm Riders, I wasn’t excited since I’m not a big fan of that film. But then she mentioned that Yuen Biao was going to appear in the film, and if I got the part, I’d have to fight him. You could say my interest increased somewhat at that point. Tom and I showed her some acting and martial arts stuff, so that was that. I think we found out that they wanted the pair of us almost immediately. I was somewhat relieved. I seldom drink, and that weekend I’d been in China at a friend’s birthday party, so when I went to the casting, I was still recovering from a hangover.”

He details the perks of working on it:

“Shooting was a lot fun. I flew up to Shanghai three times – the last time we drove onto Suzhou for the mine scenes. I can only say good things about Yuen Biao, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong, Elvis Tsui, Frankie Ng and the other cast members. As for the crew, the director (Andrew Lau) is a very friendly guy – making his actors feel very comfortable. He has a clear vision of what he has to shoot on a given day, and I don’t think he’s at all intimidated by the scale of such films, or the fact that a lot of what he shoots must be integrated with CGI. Obviously, it’s a great feeling for any actor to work on a major production, and to be working with people you’ve admired over the years is a major plus. To find that they are just as talented as you’d expected and that they have pleasant personalities is a bonus too. I liked A Man Called Hero because I got to combine three of my passions in one role.”

He describes the perils of working on it:

“There’s a reason why they call it stunt-work. I did wire jerk-backs, explosions and a leap. There was also the body burn where my arms and back were on fire. It’s not the most impressive body burn ever committed to celluloid, that’s for sure, but I did it without the aid of protective clothing, fire-resistant gels or even a fire extinguisher. We didn’t anticipate the fire getting as big and out of control as it did. I had a few very close calls. I’m certainly not complaining, though!”

He explains the Lau film that would be later known as The Wesley Mysterious Files:

Blue Blood Man is a science fiction story partly set in the U.S. They were using a lot of Western extras to play C.I.A. and S.W.A.T. team guys. They thought it would be nice if, when the aliens start causing havoc, a Caucasian face could be seen on the guy crashing through windows, etc. I did quite a lot of stunts – falls, explosions and getting repeatedly beaten up by a CGI alien! Filming had to stop because Andy was committed to his concert run. Shooting was meant to resume after that was over, but didn’t. Andrew Lau went on to direct The Legend of Speed. I don’t know the fate of the film but I’ve heard that it’s been shelved due to some disputes. If that’s the case, it’s a shame because what I saw of the rough footage was very stylish, and there was some good action. If they were to resume filming now though, the continuity problems would be horrendous. For starters, Almen is pregnant.”

This is what Jude had to say about Fist Power:

“First up, I’d like to say that it is not a great film. The director, Aman Cheung, has received some stick from fans and critics in the West over some of his films but people don’t realize the budgetary along with the scheduling conditions under which they are made. I just did another film for him – a ghost/love story called Twilight Garden starring Julian Cheung and Annie Wu. That film was scheduled for 11 days. The directorial Cheung did it in 9. Fist Power was shot in 13 days. I worked on 2 days. The fight in the park was filmed in about 9 hours in the pouring rain! It was a very demanding shoot, very exhausting, and I took some knocks like kicks to head! I had some black bruises and a headache afterwards. I have to say, though, I liked working with Chiu Man-Cheuk, who has to be the most physically gifted actor that I’ve worked with. Ma Yuk-Sing, one of the action directors who worked on The Blacksheep Affair, did a great job. In Hong Kong, he’s famous for being able to get the job done fast and he’s probably the busiest action director because of this. I think it’s a shame that the editing of the fights did his choreography an injustice.”

He shows some candid insight in regards to an overlooked Jet Li film:

Hitman was nice for me because I’ve enjoyed Jet Li’s work for a long time, particularly Martial Arts of Shaolin. I didn’t have a particularly standout role in that film, but it was nice to share some screen time with him. I remember being most impressed by his acting. I was watching the TV monitor on the set and seeing him do the close-ups. He’s got a very expressive face. I’m not surprised that he’s doing well in Hollywood, but I guess that rules out the chances of me working with him for some time!”

In 2000, Jude worked on a Sega game movie (or should that be a movie within a Sega game?):

“I just got back yesterday, actually, from location work in the Philippines. The project is called Honey, I Love You and is an interactive film for Sega’s Dreamcast console. It stars Daniel Wu, Jade Leung, Kathy Chow and newcomer Vanessa Chiu, who was in Spacked Out – the Chinese version of Larry Clark’s Kids. Surprise, surprise, I play the villain of the piece. Shooting also took place in Hong Kong and Milan, but not Japan. This is ironic because we had a Japanese director and crew members. Also, we had crew from wherever we were filming. For the Hong Kong action, the action director was a guy called Bobby Wu Chi-Lung. His name might not be familiar to your readers because he tends to do TV shows, but they may know him as the action director for The Way of the Lady Boxers, Kung Fu Mistress, The Longest Nite and Black Cat in Jail. On a visual level, readers will recognize him as the member of Chiu’s family who fights with the big pole at the end of Fist Power. He’s a talented, nice guy and I liked working with him.”

Just when you thought that you had read the end of it, you’ve only eaten half the sandwich:

“The schedule for the action was not as generous as many movies, but we were able to incorporate a lot of different techniques – kicks, Karate blocks, a miniscule of Wing Chun hand-work and mini tramp/acrobatic stuff. It was a demanding experience. I mean, as well as the characterisation to focus my energy on, there was a lot of action. Daniel and I have three fight scenes. I also had to wear some mad make-up for one scene, which took four hours to apply. I looked like a demon that was one layer short of resembling a skeleton. There were a few days when I was doing twelve hours of fighting at night on the video game then I would go home from that location to shower and shave before heading straight out the door to the New Territories to do a single day’s shooting on Aman’s film. After the one day shoot, it was rinse and repeat. Once his film was over, I’d head off to do the video game shoot! That said, though, I’m not complaining – the director was fantastic. By that, I mean receptive, giving and enthusiastic. On the whole, the cast and crew were a nice bunch too, in particular the Filipinos.”

He inadvertently reveals his biggest responsibility and best job – working for the Hong Kong Stuntman Association:

“The H.K.S.A. was set up to help unify and, to an extent, regulate the stunt community. It looks into issues like payment, insurance and more recently gaining government support to improve the lot of stuntmen in Hong Kong through subsiding courses along with a bunch of other things that are best abbreviated as etc. I’m just a small potato in the organization – a regular member. People like Yuen Bing, Stephen Tung-Wai and Ridley Tsui have been on the committee. At the end of ’98, the committee got together with Jackie Chan and devised a Stuntman Training Course so that they could help find new blood for the stunt industry. This is because the industry of the past could look to the Chinese Opera schools for new talent. So far, there’s been two courses. For the second one, which just ended, I was instructing kicking and assisting with other classes, including gymnastics and Chinese Kung Fu. It was a pretty intense course with the students attending 3 hour classes for five days per week within the space of a year’s quarter. By the end of it, you could see that they’d come a long way. Some of the other instructors included Yeung Ching-Ching (a former Shaw Brothers actress turned stuntwoman) and Rocky Lai from the JC Stunt Team.”

The below quotation about A Man Called Hero was taken from Jude’s defunct site:

“VCDs are even cheaper here in Suzhou than those in Shanghai. Relieving the boredom found here in our out-of-the-way hotel :yawn: was well worth the taxi ride into the town center. Walking through the lobby wet from rain and heavy laden with shopping, I see Biao, Ken, Tsui and Chi-Hung sitting at a table with a near-empty bottle of red. They call me over, we finish off the wine and examine my buys. Biao isn’t sure whether to be impressed by my purchase of a pirate copy of Painted Faces – a dramatization of his childhood with Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. “The VCD isn’t available in Hong Kong” – I offer. Ken picks up my copy of Incredible Kung Fu Mission and dismisses the kicks of rubbery John Liu as lacking power. “His Sifu, Tan Tao-Liang was good though,” say I. “Tan was my Sifu for kicking too” smiles Biao. “Brother Biao…” pipes up Elvis Tsui who, now loosened by the wine’s effects, bares a closer resemblance to the Tsui that what I had seen on screen; “…Your kicks are great.”

H.K.S. was a U.K. magazine that was the shorter-lived successor to Eastern Heroes. It’s highly unlikely to find issues of H.K.S. online. Their legacy is survived by this page.

* Around the time Gen-Y Cops came out, Rudd guested on The Today Show in the U.S. when they were coincidentally featuring a world tour of cities that included H.K. After they did the H.K. piece (which featured live interviews with Jackie and Donnie Yen’s sister), they cut to Paul discussing his role in the then-unaired episodes of Friends. He discussed his experiences filming in H.K. He basically made fun of the movie in a spiteful way, for instance by stating “Gen-Y Cops, which of course, was a sequel to Gen-X Cops.” He also said “I now know what unions are for” when referring to doing all of his own stunts. With no previous warning or explanation, the crew smeared fire-retardant gel all over his legs. Needless to say, it made him nervous. He also joked about the “joy” of eating raw jellyfish while in H.K. In a nutshell, he implied that he wouldn’t want to work in H.K. any time soon!

Leave a Reply