After filming his new movie Lost And Love, Hong Kong actor Andy Lau went home to scrutinise his only daughter for distinguishing marks.
"It was as if I was afraid that should I lose her, I would not be able to describe the mark. To have a child kidnapped is so heartbreaking. It not only happens in China, but also all over the world," says Lau, who has a two-year-old daughter, Hanna, with former Malaysian beauty queen Carol Choo, 48. He was answering Life!'s questions in an e-mail interview.
In Lost And Love, Lau, 53, plays a desperate father on a 15-year search for his son, who was kidnapped as a toddler. His character hangs on to the memory of a scar on his son's foot as a means of identification. The movie opens in Singapore tomorrow.
Widespread child trafficking in China proved to be such a poignant issue that it also inspired the making of director Peter Chan's recent movie, the tearjerker Dearest (2014), for which China actress Vicki Zhao received a Best Actress nomination at next month's Hong Kong Film Awards.
Earlier this month, she won Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards for the role.
Despite the acclaim for Dearest, Lau does not feel pressured by comparisons between it and his movie.
"I have watched Dearest and it's a good movie. Having more movies to shed light on the issue is a good thing as it helps to raise awareness," he says.
"I hope this movie will be a source of strength to families who have had their children abducted. I want to tell them that as long as they persevere, there is hope."
Both films are based on true stories.
The real-life protagonist in Lost And Love is Guo Gangtang, a farmer from Shandong province who travelled around China on his motorbike in search of his son.
Lau, who had spoken to Guo on the telephone, said of the farmer: "He had a very positive attitude despite his situation. He had no complaints and showed much determination."
To transform himself into a likeness of a weather-beaten farmer like Guo, Lau paid special attention to his complexion.
Unsatisfied with his initial look, he requested to have more time to get a tan the natural way.
He says: "If I used a sun-tanning bed, the tan would have been too even. So I went out in the sun and didn't put on any skincare products."
The superstar, who is usually seen in dapper outfits, focused on clothing next.
"My character's clothing wore old outfits that used to belong to a production crew member's relative. When they spotted a suitable pair of pants on a passer-by, they even bought it off him."
Most importantly, Lau strived to erase all traces of himself in his portrayal of the role.
"I made it a point to ask the production crew to keep tabs on me. As long as they saw Andy Lau in my acting, we would do a retake."
Lost And Love opens in cinemas tomorrow.