Do your life experiences affect the way you make movies?
Deanna Woo, Riverside, Ca.
I was raised in a slum. Almost every day, I had to deal with gangs. I always got beat up and I had to fight very hard to survive. At that time, I felt like I was living in hell. Whenever I got hurt, or was feeling sad, I liked to go to church. The church gave me a lot of comfort, which is why I became a Christian. I put that experience into my movies. You can see it in A Better Tomorrow or The Killer.
Birds are a common motif in your movies. Why?
Ergün Yüce, Istanbul
Since I'm a Christian, I love the white dove. It represents peace and love and innocence, so that's why I love to use it.
When you came to direct films in the U.S., what was the biggest culture clash that
In Kyung Yoo,Rancho Palos Verdes, Ca.
I tried to make Hard Target look like a Hong Kong movie, but it didn't work. When there were slow-motion shots, [the audience] didn't know how to react, so they just laughed.
What's your advice for Asian directors seeking success in the U.S.?
Harry Jeon, New York City
If you want to make an American film, it's got to look like an American film but have something different about it. You have to try your best to bring in your own culture.
Do you have any regrets about coming to America?
Franc Hong, Pittsburgh, Pa.
No. I've learned so much from Hollywood. I've made a lot of good friends. Also, it's been great to work with such superstars as John Travolta, Nic Cage and Tom Cruise.
There haven't been any interesting new Hong Kong movies. What's going on?
Kerstin Reiher, Lucerne, Switzerland
Hong Kong people aren't excited about Hong Kong films. People think Hollywood movies are the best because they have the highest budgets. But there are some great filmmakers trying their best to make better Hong Kong movies. Just wait and see.
What relevance does Red Cliff have for modern society?
Guo Haikong, Dalian, China
The story of Red Cliff is very optimistic. I have seen quite a few Chinese historical movies that look so dark and seem to not have much hope. So I tried to make a different kind of historical film. The audience will feel there is a better tomorrow. It will make people excited about the future.
Chow Yun-fat left the cast of Red Cliff. Are you two still friends? Will you ever work together again?
Cheo Hodari Coker,Studio City, Ca.
Yeah, we're still friends. I still admire Chow Yun-fat as a great actor. Even though it didn't work out for Red Cliff, I'm looking forward to working with him again. We have a project called The Divide. It's about Chinese railroad workers in the United States. He's going to be one of the main cast [members]. I'm also looking forward to working with him again in Hong Kong or China.
Are you still interested in directing a musical?
Bill Fisher, Seattle, Wa.
I'm dying to. About eight years ago, I had a script called The Next Diamond. I tried to make it an action musical. It was a pretty good script, but it was hard to get financing, hard to make the studios believe that musicals still work, and hard to get stars, because we wanted a star who could sing, dance and shoot. I'm still working on it. If I can't make it in Hollywood, I will try to make it in China.
You haven't received an Oscar. What do you think about that?
Wang Hongjun, Shenzhen, China
I never think of getting any awards. I just try to concentrate on making my own films. As long as some people love them, I'll be satisfied.