I’ve been busy all week preparing for this major event at work. Encore Films invited us to cover the gala premier of Cold War 2, which stars Taiwanese-Canadian hottie Eddie Peng (whom I’ve gushed about here, here, and here), veteran actor Tony Leung, the legendary Chow Yun Fat, and Aaron Kwok, one of the four “Heavenly Kings” of Hong Kong.
With a star-studded cast and high-octane scenes, Cold War 2, the sequel to the 2012 box-office hit, is set to be this season’s blockbuster movie. The highly anticipated police action-thriller picks up where Cold War left off, and is certainly not shy about pulling out all the stops in terms of cinematography, production, and scripting.
Everyone was perfectly cast, and the script is intelligent and well-paced, with lots of room for dramatic tension. The actors also interpreted their characters well, and delivered very nuanced impressions that gave the story more depth so that it was more than just a movie with cars and explosions (and exploding cars) and corrupt policemen.
I didn’t catch Cold War back in 2012, but knew that there was a lot of buzz surrounding it. It was the highest grossing Hong Kong film in 2012, and raked in US$50 million worldwide. It also swept away nine awards at the 2012 Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Film, Best Director (Longman Leung, Sunny Luk), Best Actor (Tony Leung), Best New Performer (Alex Tsui), and Best Screenplay.
Chow: “Eddie Peng is representative of the next generation of superstars.”
Looking at Peng, Chow lauded the next generation of actors as promising. “They are exceptionally talented, full of energy, and good-looking. I think they’re ready to be the next batch of successors.”
Eddie, who at 34 boasts a whole list of accolades with award-winning films like To the Fore (2015), Rise of the Legend (2014), and A Wedding Invitation (2013), in turn said that working with Chow was a dream come true.
He reprises his role in Cold War 2 as a high-IQ villain who works with a mysterious kingpin to foil Aaron’s character.
If you thought Eddie’s acting was impressive, his performance in this movie will BLOW YOU AWAY. Every gaze, every gesture, every intonation is solidly in character. He made the character of Joe so compelling, he practically stole every scene!
Eddie said he studied the movie A Clockwork Orange, Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Night, Anthony Hopkins’ in Silence Of The Lambs and Edward Norton’s in Primal Fear in preparation for his role. And evidently his efforts paid off.
Eddie is a long-time fan of Chow Yun Fat
Eddie also shared a particularly poignant childhood memory about his grandmother bringing him to watch Chow’s movies at the cinema across the street from his old house. Like, how cute is that! UGH.
When asked what he learned from Chow, Eddie replied, “There’s so much to learn. You guys can see how easy-going he is. More than anything, I learned from him how to get along with everyone by always being polite and humble.”
And indeed, despite achieving superstar status with Hollywood movies like Anna and the King (1999) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Chow remains incredibly down-to-earth and good-natured.
He even lived up to his recent title of “King of Selfies” by demonstrating his selfie-taking skills with the 50 or so reporters present.
In fact, he declared that he could take a selfie with everyone in the room in three minutes before proceeding to leap off the stage. Even the moderator was left flummoxed!
As one of Asia’s fastest-rising stars (to quote someone I overheard, he’s “hot stuff these days with all the high-profile movies and endorsements”), Eddie said he is grateful for his role in the series as he got to learn from several of the biggest Asian actors in the world. He particularly embraces the challenge of playing a smart, manipulative villain.
“Playing a villain, I get to do (illegal) things regular people won’t do,” he said earnestly. “A villain can be charismatic and human, and when played well he can evoke empathy in the audience.”
And he wants to keep his audience guessing.
“It’s like a boxing game. You want to throw a jab, you want to throw a hook, to surprise the audience. You don’t want people to know what’s your next move. The only pressure being in this role is making sure I don’t become invisible next to so many great actors.”
You? Invisible?! I don’t think so, honey.
Up-close and personal with Eddie Peng
After the press con, we had a more intimate interview with Eddie, who was rushed from room to room to be interviewed by various reporters in the hour and a half space between the press con and the gala premier.
He looked worn out by the time he got to us. Despite that, he was unfailingly polite and professional, friendly and candid. He toggled fluently between English and Mandarin as he answered questions about his upcoming movies and awkward fan encounters!
Also, I MANAGED TO TAKE A SELFIE WITH HIM!!!
BUT I STOOD SOOOOO FAR AWAY I MIGHT AS WELL HAVE PHOTOSHOPPED A PHOTO OF ME AND HIM TOGETHER. WELL DONE, JOYCE -,-
彭于晏 本人不仅又高又帅 而且谦虚 大方 友善 活泼! He graciously obliged to taking selfies with each of us in the room even though he was evidently tired after a string of interviews. (Too bad for his shaky hand and my overeager grin though LOL) His answers were introspective and insightful, and he toggled fluently between English and Chinese. My fangirl – ahem, journalist – dreams are complete. Couldn't help but recall this quote of his: "有些事本来离你很远。你争取 它就会离你愈来愈近." (Some dreams start off very far away, but they become closer when you strive for them.) When speaking with him, it's hard not to notice his unrelenting drive and passion for acting in those big bright eyes. @yuyanpeng
THAT GIANT GAP BETWEEN US IS MOCKING ME. WHY did I not dare to go closer? He was already leaning in!!! It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snuggle close!!!
But everyone was in a mad rush (because the press conference ended late, which delayed the rest of the subsequent interview) to make it in time for the gala premier, and I was too shy to ask to retake the photo. And just like that, Eddie was whisked away from me by his bodyguards.
Good game, Joyce. *cries a river*
Still, that aside, I was really honoured to have been given the chance to meet with this inspiring actor. He is a really introspective guy with big dreams and a humble heart. Here is someone who is really passionate about what he does, who goes the extra mile to perfect his role and deliver his best performance every single time. Here is someone who keeps his head down and works his ass off, pays his dues and persists in his dream even when the going gets tough.
5 to 6 thousand people showed up at the red carpet event that evening!
The afternoon press conference was followed by the gala premier in the evening. Scores of fans who hail from all around the world (including a girl from California – see her face-splitting grin?) flew in specially to see their idols! Members of the audience got to take photos with the stars onstage, and some contest winners even walked away with prizes including a Longines watch and Cold War 2 paraphernalia!