Canto-pop duo Shine after dark

Canto-pop duo Shine after dark

Pop stars Wong You-nam and Chui Tien-you enjoyed a night-time bus ride while making their new comedy-horror film


Shine's Wong You-nam (left) and Chui Tien-you
Shine's Wong You-nam (left) and Chui Tien-you
Photo: David Wong/SCMP


Photo: David Wong/SCMP


A scene from The Midnight After
A scene from The Midnight After

A minibus speeds through Lion Rock Tunnel in the dead of night. Local Canto-pop duo Shine - Wong You-nam and Chui Tien-you - are on the round-the-clock red route from Mong Kok to Tai Po. Also on the 16-seater bus are veteran actor Simon Yam Tat-wah, radio host-turned comedienne Vincci Cheuk Wan-chi, known as "GC Goo-bi", and comic actor Lam Suet, who's driving ...

Don't worry, these stars aren't out of work. This is merely a scene in local director Fruit Chan Gor's wild, comedy-science-fiction production, The Midnight After. Based on internet-novel Lost on a Red Minibus to Tai Po - about a group of minibus passengers on a mysterious journey - the film generated a lot of buzz well before its release in Hong Kong cinemas tomorrow.

For Shine, the new film is a reminder of how they started out in showbusiness - and also how far they have come.

Wong and Chui were 18-year-old budding pop stars when Chan spotted them and asked them to be in his film Hollywood Hong Kong. "After 12years, it was great to work with Fruit once again," Wong says. "It made us realise how much we've grown."

At the start of their careers, the duo were cool-kids-on-the-block, singing and writing pop tunes about friendship and the environment; their old hits are still very popular karaoke choices.

Appearing in Hollywood Hong Kong helped them break through as musicians. "We were young and didn't spend long thinking about doing his film," Chui says. "We just looked at him, thought, 'Whoa! He's a director', and wanted to do it. From then on we started hanging out as friends."

This time round, working on The Midnight After, with its sometimes grisly content, it's been different, he says. "We really got to see a different side of him, as a real director; for instance, how he has handled the cast and given actors instructions and, more importantly, we saw his attention to detail over the script."

Since their debut, Wong and Chui have appeared in a number of films, and feel they've grown as actors. They were able to play a more active role in creating their on-screen characters this time. Chui says: "I wanted to add my own thoughts to my character, who is now slightly different from the way he's portrayed in the book.

"I told Fruit, 'He's not human enough', and he listened to my suggestions. So we've made him a more dynamic character."

Wong plays the lead character, and says he enjoyed working alongside a great cast. He said that filming some scenes, such as cycling along an empty Tolo Highway and Lung Cheung Road, were unforgettable.

"I hadn't been on a bike for a long time," he says. "I had to ride on an empty highway at two or three o'clock in the morning; the hardest thing was avoiding passing vehicles, so they weren't seen in the shot."

Wong says there were strong winds as they filmed the scene, but that "Fruit's directing was really helpful … And he put my safety first at all times."

Another scene, in a cha chaan teng, featured in the film's trailer, is one that sticks in Chui's mind. "We were all really in character in there at the time, and all - literally - panicking about what to do next."

The film's gritty content means it is rated a Category III film; a version for younger audiences will be released next Thursday.

It may be sci-fi, but Chan uses subtle, dark humour to poke fun at Hong Kong's slow-moving democracy moment. "Every film Fruit's made is done in Hong Kong, about Hong Kong - and for Hong Kong," Chui says.

"This one's going to be a trend-setter."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Duo Shine after dark


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