Bill Kong is a producer who has been involved on many of the biggest Hong Kong and Chinese pictures in recent years, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Fearless. He recently sat down with us to talk a bit about his latest project, Blood: The Last Vampire, which is coming to US theatres on July 10.


First off, would you mind giving our readers a bit of background on yourself? How did you get into the realm of movie producing?

For some time, my company has been importing movies to Hong Kong and China from different places. We also operate cinemas in Hong Kong and several China cities. In the early 1990s, I started producing movies. I started investing in films as there is a market need for good movies, and I'm very optimistic about Asian movies and their growth.


What attracted you to Blood?

The original anime is simply fantastic and extremely successful. It was really well made, with superb artistry and technique that make it irresistible. I know many people have wanted to adapt it into a movie.


Blood is a very internationally mixed production with both the cast and crew. Did this present any special sort of challenge during the film-making process?

We did have a very international cast and crew, but since most of them understood English well, communication was easy. The fact that they came from many different places gave us the advantage of bringing together many interesting ideas, and that makes the film very rich in visuals, action and content, which is really wonderful.


The action director on Blood is Corey Yuen, who is, of course, legendary among Hong Kong movie fans. What was he like to work with?

Corey is, of course, very famous locally and internationally. He has done such marvelous jobs on Lethal Weapon 4, Transporter, and X-Men. He has a great way of making actions look great through the camera. He also has much experience training actresses to do action, which is particularly valuable for this movie. With Corey on the set, we all felt very safe and worry-free.


There has been a fairly major downshift in the number of films Hong Kong movie companies produce over the past several years. Do you still see Hong Kong as being one of the world's major players in film-making?

I still see Hong Kong as a major player. The opening of China's film industry provides a huge market place for Hong Kong filmmakers who have such a rich wealth of experience and creativity.


Many recent Hong Kong productions, such as the Red Cliff films that you worked on, are co-financed with Mainland Chinese money. What sorts of benefits and pitfalls do these sorts of arrangements present to film-makers?

With bigger budgets, filmmakers could do a lot more... use better technology and many creative ideas could be better played out. The pitfall is that as the budget gets bigger, the financial risk also gets higher.


You were one of the producers on Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, which turned out to be fairly controversial because of the explicit nature of the love scenes. Was there ever a time where a more tame version was considered?

We completely trusted Ang Lee in the treatment of the scenes. I do not know if he has considered a "tame" version, but my guess is he knew from the start what he wanted.


To follow up on that, censorship rules seem to vary a lot between country to country in Asia, with some areas having very strict restrictions on what can be shown on-screen. With Mainland China looking to open up more to the West, do you see them relaxing their standards any time soon?

There is no movie rating system in China. That means a child can go into a cinema and watch any film. That's why censorship is very important for Mainland China and the restrictions are not expected to open up very soon. At the same time, for a vast market like China, it is not easy to implement a rating system within any short time.


Once again, thanks for your time. Before we go, is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

I'd like to conclude by saying that Blood is different from all other vampire movies. It is the biggest action vampire movie ever made. I hope all of your readers watch it in a cinema and enjoy it.

Blood images courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films

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