For those who grew up throughout the 80s and 90s era watching Hong Kong movies at the time, Anita Mui was one of the most recognisable names in the industry. Both an accomplished singer and a versatile actress with over 45 movies to her credit, she has acted alongside the late Leslie Cheung in the award-winning “Rouge” (1988) and co-starred with Jackie Chan in hits like “Drunken Master II” (1994) and “Rumble in the Bronx” (1995). However, her illustrious life came to an unfortunate end when she lost her battle with cervical cancer on December 30, 2003, at the age of 40.
Eighteen years after her death, we finally get a long-overdue biopic of the late great Anita Mui titled “Anita”. Currently showing in cinemas nationwide since November 18, here are some of the interesting trivia and why you should watch “Anita”.
- Unusual for a Hong Kong production, “Anita” went through a combined 90 days of filming between 2018 and 2019.
- Believe it or not, Edko Films boss Bill Kong originally wanted to make the Anita Mui biopic back in 2003 with Mui prior to her death. But she was unfortunately passed away that same year.
- Casting the right actress to play the late Anita Mui proved to be a long, painstaking talent search. It actually took a whopping three years before a 31-year-old Hong Kong model Louise Wong was finally chosen for the pivotal role.
- Louise Wong has no prior acting experience whatsoever and as a result, she trained hard to learn how to act, sing and dance like a pro. The latter two took over six months to perfect her craft.
- The late Liu Kai-Chi, best known for his award-winning role in “Cageman” (1992) and other notable ones like “SPL” (2005) and “Weeds on Fire” (2016), served as a mentor responsible for coaching Louise Wong in the acting department.
- Although Louise Wong did learn how to sing, her voice was actually mixed with two vocals including Anita Mui’s recordings and a third singer. This combined mixed-vocal strategy was previously used in the Queen and Freddy Mercury biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018).
Having watched “Anita” earlier, I was impressed by how great this Hong Kong movie turned out to be. Below are the 5 reasons you should watch this in the cinema.
1) Louise Wong Shines As The Late Anita Mui
Whoever takes on the role to play someone as important as the late Anita Mui is undoubtedly a monumental task. But to my surprise, a Hong Kong model with no acting experience actually managed to pull off the feat with great success. Not only does Louise Wong bear the physical resemblance of the late singer but she also successfully embodies Mui’s overall mannerisms and speech patterns.
2) Longman Leung’s Better-Than-Expected Direction
You may or may not recognise the name of Longman Leung. But you have probably seen the first two “Cold War” films, two of among the most financially-successful Hong Kong movies of all time. You know, the ones that starred Aaron Kwok and Tony Leung Ka-Fai as two opposing high-ranking police officers. “Anita” marks the director’s first foray into the biopic territory and here, he has efficiently pieced together some of Mui’s crucial moments of her professional and personal life.
3) The Movie Has Great Supporting Roles
“Anita” also benefits from solid supporting turns from most of the cast. This includes Fish Liew in her sympathetic role as Mui’s elder sister, Ann and the ubiquitous Louis Koo in one of his best performances to date as Mui’s long-time stylist, Eddie Lau.
4) The Movie Successfully Recreates The Old Days Of The Hong Kong Era
Director Longman Leung doesn’t take shortcuts when comes to depicting the golden era of Hong Kong during the 80s and 90s. In order to fulfil the period settings, Leung and his production crew meticulously recreated the settings with the help of green screens and CGI.
5) The Movie Features Some of Anita Mui’s Famous Songs
The Anita Mui biopic wouldn’t be complete without featuring her songs and there are plenty of them. This includes Louise Wong performing the then-controversial “Bad Girl” and the heartfelt “Song of the Sunset” on the big screen. Such moments would be a treat especially for die-hard fans of the late singer.
With that, the cinema beckons. Don’t forget to catch “Anita” while it’s still up!