When Chow Yun Fat, Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung and Nick Cheung get together, reporters are irrelevant

(From left) Jacky Cheung, Carina Lau and Chow Yun Fat at the premiere of From Vegas To Macau III in Hong Kong on Jan 31. PHOTO: SHAW

Chow Yun Fat air-kisses Carina Lau and asks, one celebrity hiking enthusiast to another, "Have you gone to the mountains today?"

"No, I just got off a plane."

"You're a fairy come down to earth, you don't have to go."

This is not a moment from their latest Chinese New Year comedy, From Vegas To Macau III, though it would not be entirely out of place there.

Rather, it is a scene from their press conference in Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday, a gathering where five of Hong Kong's biggest stars, including Andy Lau, Jacky Cheung and Nick Cheung, horsed around like old friends at a high school reunion.

And this really is a reunion. The movie is Chow's first with Jacky Cheung since The Eighth Happiness, the 1988 Chinese New Year comedy, and his first with Andy Lau since God Of Gamblers, the 1989 drama that remains a classic of Hong Kong commercial cinema. And the two Cheungs are close friends who co-starred in the actioner Helios last year.

Last Friday, Lau and the two Cheungs picked up Best Actor nominations for other movies at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Of the three, Jacky Cheung has never won the prize.

In a theatre in the convention centre, before the world premiere of From Vegas To Macau III, the stars spoke and joked about many things, including whom they would put their money on for Best Actor.

A reporter: Will there be From Vegas To Macau IV?

Chow Yun Fat: I'd make Episode 400 if I could. What is it to me when there're so many old friends here, and it's so fun? (To Andy Lau) Speak, brother, you're next.

Andy Lau: I, of course, hold the same view as you.

Nick Cheung: Of course I'm with the majority.

Jacky Cheung: I can't because I'm dead.

NC: There'll certainly be a way. You can be a robot.

Carina Lau: Hey, I died in the last episode too.

CYF: (To JC) Brother, if you get Best Actor and you don't increase your fee, they'll get you back for sure.

CL: Honestly, who do you think will win?

CYF: Jacky Cheung.

CL: Jacky Cheung will win? What's the movie you're in?

JC: My movie (Heaven In The Dark, which has not opened in Hong Kong), no one has seen it.

AL: I've seen it. I've seen it.

CYF: Is it okay?

AL: I've seen it.

JC: Luckily I've seen your movie (Lost And Love) too. Let's see what you say about mine.

CYF: (To NC) Honestly, your 'older brother' has never won the award, you've won it two, three times. Let him win.

NC: I've been avoiding talking to him about this and putting pressure on him.

JC: I'm not under pressure, don't worry, I'm old.

AL: We're the same age.

JC: True, true.

CL: Give it to Jacky, give it to Jacky.

JC: I'm really so pitiful. Everyone's saying, "Give it to him, give it to him, he's never won."

CL: No, no, but you have to win once, don't you understand?

JC: I've won in India. You can't say I haven't felt this feeling. I was so happy.

CYF: So did you go there to accept the award?

JC: Because India's economy wasn't so good, they decided not to hold a ceremony, and they just informed us. (Everyone laughs)

CYF: (To the press) Actually you don't have to ask anything. We're chit-chatting here and then we'll watch the movie.

NC: The boss is here.

CYF: The boss is here? Let's be a little more serious.

A reporter: Would Andy Lau let Jacky Cheung have his Best Actor Award?

CYF: He wouldn't. This guy is ruthless.

AL: I haven't won it yet, how do I give it to someone? But if he wins, he deserves to. If I were on the jury, I'd vote for him.

JC: Really?

AL: But sorry, I'm not.

CL: Then who's the other nominee?

AL, JC, NC: Aaron Kwok. Leung Ka Fai.

AL: (To CL) There're five nominees. You're an outsider now, right?

CYF: She's doing business.

AL: Movies don't matter to you, right?

CL: They matter! How can they not? I've always been present in the film business.

From Vegas To Macau III opens in Singapore on Friday (Feb 5).

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