The ticket sale of Jay Chou's second directed film RooFToP commenced on June 12. The event attracted a huge crowd as the day coincided with the Dragon Boat Festival, during which the limited 2000 sets of signed movie tickets were entirely sold. That day was also the day that Li Xinai, the lead actress of the film, made her first public appearance in Taiwan, and was accompanied by Kenny Bee, who played her father in the film. With regards to the casting process, Jay Chou claimed that he saw in Li Xinai all the right characters needed for the role the first time he met her, but was a little bit concerned because Li Xinai had no prior acting experience. Fortunately, it only took a few trials to ascertain her as the best female for the role.
RooFToP held its press conference on Dragon Boat Festival (12th). From right: Jay Chou, Kenny Bee, Li Xinai, Tang Tsung-sheng
Li Xinai felt fortunate and was utterly flattered for being chosen to take the lead female role in a Jay Chou-directed film. She said, "Jay Chou is everyone's star, and I have to admit that I was worried at first about the expectations placed on me, but the director was nice to everyone and allowed us to complete our performance without stress." Li Xinai also said that she adores Taiwan's night market culture, and already knows some places like her own backyard. Jay Chou seemed to know her preference and offered her beef soup while shooting in Tainan, but with a joking remark to "watch your weight!" Li Xinai admitted that she did look a little plump at first and was nicknamed for it. She had worked hard to lose 5kg since the shooting ended, which gives her a noticeably slimmer look than on the RooFToP poster.
RooFToP features a talented cast from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In addition to award winner Wang Xueqi and long-time comedy actor Eric Tsang, Hong Kong actor Kenny Bee was also casted in RooFToP as Li Xinai's father, whose acting performance gave Jay Chou "quite a shock." Kenny Bee played the role of an uncompromising father in the film, and was determined to break apart the romantic affair between Jay Chou and Li Xinai. When being asked whether he had received a scolding from Jay Chou, Kenny Bee said that it is less common nowadays for directors to abuse workers on the set; besides, he was "too senior to be abused by Jay" given his elder age. Kenny Bee knew well the pressure endured by the director, considering that he had once directed and played his own film at the same time. He greatly admired Jay Chou for his persistence and for being able to juggle his time between exercises, creation, concert performance, and post-production. So what kind of interaction can we expect between Kenny Bee and Jay Chou? The both of them had uniformly replied: "Watch RooFToP on July 11 and you'll find out!"
Kenny Bee played Li Xinai's father in RooFToP, whose acting performance gave Jay Chou "quite a shock"
RooFToP is still in its post-production stage despite the fact that only one month remains until its premiere. Jay Chou revealed that he is still discussing details with the team about subtitles, trailers, and promotion from overseas whenever he has a break in his concert rehearsal. "I admit for being very meticulous about my work; some may even think of me as being obsessed with details. For example, I would insist using specific wording in the movie subtitle despite there are interchangeable words available, because they produce very different visual appearance," said Jay. Will Liu, who supervised the production schedule, was constantly on edge because of Jay Chou's obsession with perfection. He said, "Jay even asked for samples of sounds of sea waves to choose from. I advised him to ignore this detail out concerns about our production schedule, and the fact that the audience would never notice, but he insisted on it anyway!" Jay Chou made fun of his obsessions with work and said, "Sometimes I do regret getting myself involved in every detail, but the fact is that I asked for it!" With RooFToP, Jay Chou aims to introduce a new genre called "martial arts musical" that is unique to Mandarin films, and hopes for the success of RooFToP in other parts of the world. "If possible, I would invite the director of Les Miserables to come and watch RooFToP!" he joked.
The production company prepared a heavyweight rice dumpling as good omen of success for RooFToP
On the press conference, the production company prepared a heavyweight rice dumpling and asked Jay Chou, Li Xinai, and Kenny Bee to tie the red strings on this token of fortune. The event host Tang Tsung-sheng also guest-stars in RooFToP as a night market street seller. And to the three performers present on that day, Jay Chou gave them each a traditional rice dumpling as good omen of success for RooFToP.
RooFToP was jointly produced by Chuangying Film Production Co., Ltd., Evergrande Entertainment Co., Ltd., Talent International Media Co., Ltd., and Edko Films Ltd. Its premiere in Taiwan has been scheduled on July 11 (Thursday). For photos and stories behind-the-scene, please visit RooFToP's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/rooftop2013. (Article/Key Stone Corp.; photo/Chuangying Film Production)