Director Ann Hui says pretty faces in her war movie Our Time Will Come can act

The cast of Our Time Will Come, directed by Ann Hui, includes Eddie Peng (above) and Zhou Xun.
The cast of Our Time Will Come, directed by Ann Hui, includes Eddie Peng (above) and Zhou Xun.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES
The cast of Our Time Will Come, directed by Ann Hui (above, in a 2015 photograph), includes Eddie Peng and Zhou Xun.
The cast of Our Time Will Come, directed by Ann Hui (above, in a 2015 photograph), includes Eddie Peng and Zhou Xun.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES
The cast of Our Time Will Come, directed by Ann Hui, includes Eddie Peng and Zhou Xun (right).
The cast of Our Time Will Come, directed by Ann Hui, includes Eddie Peng and Zhou Xun (right).PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES

Director Ann Hui says the actors in her film, Our Time Will Come, not only look good, but can also act

Celebrated Hong Kong director Ann Hui stands by her decision to cast stars who are much better-looking than the historical figures they portray in her latest movie, Our Time Will Come.

It has been labelled in the media as "the war movie that features the best-looking heroes".

About a group of regular folk living in 1940s Japanese-occupied Hong Kong, the film features the likes of Chinese actress Zhou Xun and Taiwanese hunks Eddie Peng and Wallace Huo.

The 70-year-old film-maker admits: "Zhou Xun is much prettier than the real woman, Fang Lan, whom she plays, but I think that's okay for a movie.

"There are no stock photos of Lee Kum Wing, but I think Wallace Huo portrayed him well. Some people say good-looking stars cannot act, but my cast can do a lot more than just act - they are very professional too."

It was of Peng, 35, in particular, whom she could not stop singing the praises.

"Eddie is one of the most promising young actors I have worked with in recent years. He's very hardworking and puts in a lot of effort in thinking about how to play his role.

"He would always offer suggestions, so it was great collaborating with him. He is an idol with many fans, but he has no airs about him at all."

Our Time Will Come, now showing in cinemas, is centred on the story of Fang Lan, a Hong Kong school teacher who becomes a tough anti- Japanese resistance fighter in the Dongjiang guerilla unit. Aiding her is sharpshooter Blackie Lau (Peng), as well as her childhood sweetheart Lee (Huo), who becomes a double agent working in the Japanese army headquarters.

Hui - who has directed critically acclaimed social realist films such as Boat People (1982) and A Simple Life (2011) - learnt about the story four years ago from the producer of the film, Stephen Lam.

She says: "I didn't even know that Hong Kong had a guerilla fighting unit and I was fascinated. I didn't have to think twice about making a movie about this topic."

Although the film is categorised as a war movie, it highlights emotions rather than bloodshed, she says.

"I didn't want this to be a typical war movie because it will either be overly violent or it will be completely unmemorable as audiences have seen too many of these films.

"Instead, I wanted to show that a war movie can also have very delicate emotions."

She adds: "This is a story about regular people who never intended to be war heroes. They worked together on this mission without asking for anything in return. I was very touched by that."

•Our Time Will Come is showing in cinemas.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2017, with the headline 'Pretty faces for a war movie'. Print Edition | Subscribe