Shang-Chi star Tony Leung Chiu Wai once wanted to retire at 36

HONG KONG • Had Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu Wai followed through on a promise he made many years ago, he might never have appeared in the latest Marvel movie, Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings.

On Monday, Leung, 59, appeared on the Hong Kong radio show When I Was Young I Listen To The Radio to promote the movie, in which he plays the villain, Wenwu.

Bloomberg reported that the movie dominated the North American weekend box office with an all-time record for a film opening over Labour Day.

The Walt Disney movie made US$94.7 million (S$127.5 million) in American and Canadian cinemas over the four-day weekend, according to data from Comscore.

The result exceeded an initial forecast of about US$63 million by researcher Boxoffice Pro.

While recording the radio show, host Carol Cheng, 63, mentioned an interview she had done with Leung almost 30 years ago, when he was a leading star at Hong Kong television station TVB.

At the time, he had vowed to retire at the age of 36.

Leung said he had forgotten about his declaration, but admitted that he had previously contemplated retiring before 30, due to his busy workload.

"I wouldn't be where I am today without the tough work in the past," he said. "A person's values will change when he grows older, and he will learn to relax and not have such extreme ideas."

Leung - who has won Best Actor at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards and the Hong Kong Film Awards - said he has no plans to retire now and will take a break from acting if he is tired.

He added that he will accept acting jobs again if he has had sufficient rest and there are good roles to be had.

He also described working 10 hours a day while filming Shang-Chi, with little time for rest or meals.

The intensity, he said, reminded him of the days when he was filming TV serials.

However, he added, filming for Shang-Chi had gone smoothly.

He had even tried to do some of the action scenes himself, but was not allowed to attempt the more dangerous stunts due to fears that any injuries would affect filming.

After Shang-Chi, he returned to Hong Kong to film the upcoming crime thriller Once Upon A Time In Hong Kong, and will head to Shanghai soon to film another movie.

He disclosed that he will also travel to Vancouver, Canada, next year to film a TV serial - his first since the period drama Ode To Gallantry in 1989.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2021, with the headline 'Shang-Chi star Tony Leung Chiu Wai once wanted to retire at 36'. Subscribe