SINGAPORE - Action flick Wolf Warrior II, the all-time top-grossing film in China with 4.5 billion yuan (S$919 million) earned thus far, has some Singaporean involvement - former Channel 8 actor Ix Shen, 46, was its executive director.
"My job was to present whatever you see on screen. If the car chase in this scene called for a jeep to be speeding down an alley with bullets flying around and two other vehicles chasing, my job was to execute all that," he told The Straits Times over the phone from Phuket, where he was taking a vacation.
The position of executive director, which he said is unique to the Chinese movie industry, is a cross between associate producer and assistant director.
Among his responsibilities was yelling "Action" and "Cut", which proved to be quite a challenge when they were shooting underwater. "There's no way I could give hand signals and speech was inaudible. I had to devise a way of using an aluminium pipe and hammer so I could do two clanks for 'action' and three for 'cut'."
Shen, the male champion of talent hunt Star Search 1995, ventured to China in 2009 to further his career and acted in some films and television series.
He said that Wu Jing, the star, writer and director of Wolf Warrior II, was looking for someone who could communicate in English, Mandarin and Cantonese as the cast was mainly from China, the crew included Africans and Europeans and one of the stunt directors was from Hong Kong.
Shen met the criteria but he was quick to emphasise: "Just because a fellow Singaporean can understand your English doesn't mean that a native English speaker can understand your English. Same goes for Mandarin."
The success of Wolf Warrior II has meant that offers have started coming in for him. Projects which have been talked about include a Wolf Warrior sequel, for which he helped with the trailer shot in Iceland. Hollywood has also approached Wu, who has kept Shen in the loop about his plans.
"We're all taking our vacation right now and will probably sit down for a meeting after," said Shen, who added that he intends to remain in China for the time being. "This is where the industry is really booming. If you're in the movie business, if you're not in Hollywood and you're not in Bollywood, you have to be in Beijing."
In Singapore alone, Wolf Warrior II has grossed more than $1 million since its release on July 28.
It is no wonder Shen said: "Everyone (involved with the movie) is feeling on top of the moon right now."