Hong Kong actor and director Steven Chow said in Beijing recently that he had nothing to do with Kung Fu Hustle heroine Huang Shengyi's contract dispute.
"It's the company's business," claimed Chow, referring to the Star Overseas Co. owned by him, at a promotion event in Beijing on Sunday.
This is the first time Chow has commented on this hot issue in public since the quarrel broke out weeks ago.
Hot and fuggy in Beijing in a business suit, Chow had to wipe sweat from his head from time to time when answering reporters' questions. And although reporters had been asked not to bring up "sensitive" issues, the alleged bust-up with Huang and Chow soon surfaced.
"I had known about Huang's parting from the beginning. Star Overseas is seeking a solution to the problem. I don't want to say too much about a specific issue," said Chow, who played cat and mouse with reporters and avoided making any further comment when pressed about his attitude toward the issue.
Chow's actual Beijing mission was casting for a leading role in Kung Fu Hustle II. Asked about this and the start-date for shooting — which is said to be in September — the star actor remained tight-lipped. "I never say who will star in a movie. It's too early to say that," said Chow.
"Promoting new actresses and actors is always our company's policy. We will definitely invite some new faces in the movie and the shooting should not be postponed by some trivial issues," Chow added.
From Aug. 12 to 14, Chow was reported to have interviewed at least 20 young girls from entertainment companies and film institutes. Some of those interviewed said Chow was looking for an actress for the leading role that was pretty, sexy and pure — in effect a carbon-copy Huang Shengyi.
As of Aug. 14, only three of the hopefuls had been asked back for further casting.
Huang shot to fame after appearing in a leading role in Chow's Kung Fu Hustle and was said to have been lined up to star in the sequel.
But just when everything was looking rosy for Huang's entertainment career with Chow, the actress surprised everyone by announcing she was going to seek a court termination of the contract between herself and Chow's company.
The actress said her reason for seeking to end their business relationship was that Chow's company had not given her enough room for career development.
(Shenzhen Daily August 17, 2005)