The ins and outs of motion picture success

June 26, 2008

The ins and outs of motion picture success
14:12′ 17/06/2008 (GMT+7)

Actor and director Tran Luc

VietNamNet Bridge – VNS spoke with actor cum producer Tran Luc at Dong A Studios in Ha Noi about life, love and his latest projects.

Your first long-running television series, Chang Trai Da Cam (Modern Men – Modern Problems), was a big hit with film lovers during its 25-episode run. Now, it appears that you’ve gained some great success in your new position as film producer at Dong A Studios. Is this so?

It’s not that simple. Dong A Studios began in 2005, and was borne out of my great passion for the film industry. These days, the company is considered a pioneer in the North, and produces many socialised films. But this means that we also come upon many roadblocks and a lot of red tape.

This series’ broadcast date was postponed for four months because of some unexpected problems; however, it eventually plucked a few strings in film lovers’ hearts, mostly for its sentimentality and its soft comedic edge.

All of our lives are filled with sentimental moments and moments of exhaustion. The film focuses on these themes in modern society, but the real challenge is for the producer to let the audience relax for a moment.

Our two series, Dau Bep va Dai Gia (The Chief and the Wealthy Man) and Chang Trai Da Cam, have shown the various relationships people have in everyday life. Perhaps because of this, audiences have called our series civilised.

TV series that are kind of half comedy, half drama are Dong A Studios’ biggest strength. Will you continue to exploit this genre in your upcoming projects?

We’re on a roll right now. So why stop? Despite our limited budgets, the management and staff are always looking to explore new and strange topics. This is our strength.

We’ll begin shooting the 30-episode Tieng Duong Cam Tren Bien (The Piano on the Beach) in co-operation with HCM City’s Khang Viet Film Studios. We’ll also be filming an adaptation of the literary works of Tu Luc Van Doan.

For those who don’t know, Tu Luc Van Doan was a literature group established in 1933. They are considered to be great representatives of the romantic literature period in Viet Nam in the early half of the 20th century.

Two writers in the group, Tran Tieu, my grandfather, and Khai Hung, my grandfather’s brother, made a great impression on me when I was young. Their works have given me endless inspiration, including Chong Con (Husband and Child), Con Trau (The Buffaloes), Sau Luy Tre Lang (Behind the Bamboo of the Village).

A while ago, with the help of artist Tran Bang, my father, Le Cong Hoi, turned Chong Con into a 15-episode series and entrusted me to be the series’ director.

After an initial failure, Dong A Studios and I decided to carry out the project. I asked Trinh Thanh Nha, a talented scriptwriter, to string the stories together over the course of 60 episodes. The stories will all feature a Vietnamese woman, living in a traditional, historical town.

What makes you think that such an old series will attract modern day viewers?

I don’t think that the lifestyle from 70 years ago is so awkward or out-of-date. Maybe the relationships are more literal and admirable than those of today is. I believe the strange, simple, yet delicate characters will breathe new life into viewers.

Management has even discussed building our own studio for the film. The 5ha-wide studio will be built in a suburb of the city, and will look like a real, ancient miniature society, including landowner plantations, tile-roofed homes, thatched roof and ground-walled houses and lotus ponds next to banyan trees.

It will be a big expense, but perhaps the studio could become a tourist attraction after filming is completed.

What are your feelings about private film studios?

They may be formidable opponents, but they’re also good teachers. Many have endeared themselves to audiences by using professional film crews and working with new ideals. They play an important role in industry development, and I’m proud to be a part of it.

People say that you are a lady-killer. How is your life these days? Are you happy, after your two break-ups?

Not at all (laughing)! But I’m a real man. I don’t want to share my private life with the public. I will only say that I’m very happy with my small family.

My son is now a student at the Ha Noi University of Theatre and Cinema, studying to become a film director.

And my little daughter is well behaved and loves me very much. What more could I ask for?

How about asking for some strange vehicles?

Well, it is my hobby.

I love most Italian vehicles, like Vespa motorbikes, the two-seated Smart and Boplo cars, mostly because of their unique styles.

(Source: VNS)

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