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Cellular Gets a Second Call in China
    2008-09-24 16:46:51     CRIENGLISH.com

Hollywood has been mining Asian movies for ideas for years. Now, a remake of a Hollywood production called Connected will hit the theaters on September 25. This film is the first-ever Chinese remake of a Hollywood blockbuster.

Poster of Connected [Photo source: mingpao.com]


Cell phones have become a necessary part of modern life. Every day, we call many different people. What if you receive a call from a stranger crying for help? Is it a heartless prank or a desperate message? Would you take the risk of doing something for a person you've never met or who may not even exist? This is what happens in the movie Connected, the Chinese remake of the 2004 Hollywood hit, Cellular.

Set in Hong Kong, Connected tells the story of a kidnapped woman who makes a call to a random mobile phone number seeking help. The film features an all-star cast including Hong Kong's Louis Koo, the Chinese mainland's Liu Ye and Taiwan's Barbie Hsu.

Benny Chan, director of the film, explains why he chose to make this adaptation.

"I am touched by the story that two persons are connected by a telephone line, and thereby a family is saved. It shows warmth and concern among people."

Cellular was very successful at the box office, so the remake features even more dramatic scenes, along with Hong Kong-style elements such as human combat, action and flying cars. According to stunt choreographer Li Chung Chi, the action scenes were produced differently from those in Hollywood.

"Hollywood usually uses a computer to design stunt scenes, but we used real cars hitting each other to achieve a more stunning effect. We designed more barriers on the road, such as construction barricades and trucks to make the scenes more thrilling."

In many dangerous sequences, the actors had to take risks to complete their scenes. Actor Louis Koo says the memories are still fresh.

"There was a scene in which my car fell from a mountain into a valley. All of the expressions were my real reactions. The car was rocking on the edge of the cliff, and I was really scared."

In another scene, two actors fight on a platform eight stories high. After several bloody efforts, the final take looks breathtakingly real.

Liu Ye is often cast as the hero type of protagonist, but in Connected, he plays a kidnapper.

"It was my first time to act as a villain. My image was designed to be a cruel, silent guy with white hair. It was challenging, but interesting."

Since the hero and heroine are only connected through the phone and do not meet each other until the ending, the parts of Louis Koo and Barbie Hsu were shot separately, with no communication between the two actors. However, Barbie Hsu says this style of shooting was better for her performance.

"My part was shot first, so I didn't have a chance to watch how Louis Koo acts. This actually helped me get into the character, who was helpless and going mad. If I had already known how the hero would save me, I would not have been able to act so despairing."

Compared to Cellular, which cost over 56 million US dollars to produce, Connected is much more conservative in its budget. The most elaborate scene, in which 30 cars clashed with each other, cost only about 3 million HK dollars, and the total budget was only 5.8 million US dollars. However, the remake boasts that it includes more real, exciting action scenes and a thicker plot.

We can soon judge for ourselves at the movie theater.



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