Well known in the local film scene, actor Andrew Ng teamed up with director Alejandro Suarez Lozano to create The Fisherman. This short film shows Andrew playing said fisherman, trying to make a living on a typical Hong Kong junk. In dire straits, he sails out for one last catch, but on open sea things get strange.

The Fisherman is your first film as a lead actor, how was this experience?

When I was contacted by Alejandro, the idea of playing a lead role sounded very appealing to me. It was very interesting working so closely with the director, something that I’m not used to from playing minor roles on big budget films like I’ve done before. I think I spent more time with the director on this short film than during the entire filming of a feature film. It was very nice working with this crew as well, they were very organised.

I was also glad to break my typecast roles of ‘gangster’ and ‘monk’ from my previous roles. Don’t get me wrong, I like playing spiritual characters. It’s satisfying playing those roles. I’m kind of a spiritual person anyway so that also makes for some interesting ad libbing. For example when I played a monk in The Man With The Iron Fist, RZA (director & lead role) invited me to just go for a walk around the buddha. Now none of that footage made it to the final cut (RZA is still planning to release a four hour director’s cut), but RZA told me afterwards that was one of the greatest ad lib sessions he’d ever done.

Andrew Ng at TCFF 2016
Andrew Ng at TCFF 2016

Speaking of The Man with the Iron Fists, how was it working with big personalities like RZA?

Well I didn’t think RZA had such a big personality. Of course it was his directorial debut. I found working with Eli Roth much more impressive, or people like Gordon Liu. He’s like THE local star.

Are you local?

I do have a connection with this city

No, I’m from the United States. My family roots are actually from the Taishan area in southern China. My dad moved to the States in the ‘30s. My mum lived here in Hong Kong for a while, before moving to America. My oldest brother was born in China, my older brother was born in Hong Kong. The rest of my siblings were born in the USA. So, do I have Hong Kong roots? Not substantial roots, but I do have a connection with this city.

Your career kicked off pretty late, what did you do before?

I originally moved to Hong Kong for business purposes. I moved here in the 80’s to conduct business with China. I decided to try film some time after my small role in The Drummer (2007). It’s sort of on everyone’s bucket list in Hong Kong to be in a movie, so that was The Drummer for me. But after that, I couldn’t let it go. People kept asking me if I wanted to be in their projects. So 2 years after the drummer I decided to go for it and pursue a career in acting. It’s a totally different life. But you know, if you go through life without making changes, you might get that feeling of the “unturned stone”. So I turned the stone, and I’m happy I did.

I turned the stone, and I’m happy I did.

Andrew Ng on the set of The Fisherman with director Alejandro Suarez Lozano
Andrew Ng on the set of The Fisherman with director Alejandro Suarez Lozano

In the Q&A they briefly mentioned Cantonese is not your native tongue.

Exactly, my native tongue is English. I was taught Chinese by my mum. But since women weren’t very well educated back in those days, I only learnt very basic Taishan dialect. I probably shouldn’t make excuses though, I have been in this city for so long. I guess it’s just because of a lack of time that i never really picked up Cantonese. I was fortunate to have the help a voice coach to help me with the language for this film.

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