Wu Mengda: After 100 years of performance, I hope the audience can still remember me

1905 movie network feature At the premiere press conference, Wu Mengda picked up his guitar and sang "Kiss Goodbye" on the stage, recreating the classic scenes of the old version of "Oolong Courtyard".

He was still in his exuberant, funny and nonsensical appearance. What had changed was that he was now a white-haired old man who was nearly 70 years old. It was even more hard to imagine that a few years ago, he had been repeatedly reported to have died due to rapid heart failure.


At the end of the press conference, Wu Mengda’s 45-year role collection appeared on the big screen, which was really a wave of memories full of feelings. He said on the stage that he was grateful to the audience for their willingness to give him a meal. Acting is the greatest meaning of his survival. He will not retire and will play for another 50 years!

After the press conference, Uncle Da accepted our exclusive interview, and he once again talked about how much he loves performing.


"I can’t live without my acting, and I love acting very much. Many people ask me, I’m almost 70, why do you love acting? Although I was sick a few years ago and my heart was not good, I have been following movies and the development of Chinese movies. I really like being an actor. In fact, I can be a director or a backstage very early, but I just don’t want to go."

Yes, 65-year-old Uncle Da will continue to play.


"The mainland has a lot of room, and Hong Kong people can’t make deep comedies"

In the early 1990s, Wu Mengda and Chow Xingchi were so popular in Taiwan that they attracted the attention of the director Zhu Yanping. He traveled from Taiwan to Hong Kong to find Wu Mengda, which led to their first collaboration -.

Stills from "Truant"

Zhu Yanping is Taiwan’s version of "Wang Jing", and the production speed is fast enough to release up to five films a year. Wu Mengda never even saw Lin Zhiying from the beginning to the end of the filming of "truancy". It took only four and a half days to film all his scenes.


"I was startled, and the effect was pretty good."After that, Wu Mengda collaborated with Zhu Yanping again. This was their second collaboration, and it also launched the "Oolong Academy" series of films that became popular in the video hall era.

"Laughing Forest Kid 2: New Oolong Courtyard" stills

"Oolong Court" was launched that year, in Taiwan whirlwind won 100 million Taiwan dollars box office, breaking records."There were a lot of Hong Kong dramas in Taiwan back then, and I was almost the one who broke the record.", Wu Mengda recalled,"But the’Oolong Courtyard ‘I played with Hao Xiwen and Shi Xiaolong ranked first, higher than my cooperation with Zhou Xingchi!"


The next year, they struck while the iron was hot and then pushed the sequel, which was a big hit. Not only in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, but also in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and other South East Asia regions, as long as the TV station aired, the audience ratings were very high.

"Invincible R-Star" stills

More than 20 years later, the Chinese film landscape has changed dramatically, and going north to co-produce is the general trend. At this time, the "Oolongyuan" series has ushered in the third installment. In the face of the current market context, we must first face such questions: Is it selling feelings, is it frying cold rice?


Uncle Da explained it like this."Although it is old wine in a new bottle, every movie must have its new creation and new classic every time."In his eyes, "a movie is a huge dream factory, and it is fun to have constant creativity with the changes of the times."

So, in "New Oolong Courtyard", where is Uncle Da’s "fun"?

This time, he is no longer playing the old version of the big brother who is infatuated and honest, but the abbot of the Oolong Hospital, Master Changmei. This character is an Internet celebrity live streaming host in the play, who picks up his mobile phone from time to time to engage in live broadcasts. Uncle Da is very interested in these new and popular things. Douyin, Kuaishou, he said he understands it now.

The other was a re-creation of a series of characters. "In the past, when he was in his prime, he played the role of the eldest senior brother who was confused and pretended to be smart. He didn’t know anything, so he pretended to be great.


Therefore, we can see such a Wu Mengda in the movie, which is also the Wu Mengda we are most familiar with: from beginning to end, he looks smiling, and when he is angry, he should also smile.

Zhu Yanping, Wu Mengda, and Hao Xiwen were the old version of the team, and the new version added mainland comedians such as Wang Ning, Kong Lianshun, and Song Xiaobao. Happy Twist + Wanhe Tianyi + Benshan Media, the IP of "New Oolong Courtyard" almost brought together the most popular and down-to-earth comedy team in the Chinese film industry.


Uncle Da said that he had been following Northeast comedians for a long time and was deeply impressed by "Country Love". He was very familiar with Zhao Si and Xie Dazu.

He believes that there is no difference between Hong Kong comedy, Taiwanese comedy and mainland comedy, and the language of comedy is common all over the world. "The best thing about comedy is that it doesn’t even need dialogue, it may be just a look. Like Charlie Chaplin, in an era without dialogue, it is performed by body language. This is the most lovely and precious aspect of comedy."


As an important member of the once glorious era of Hong Kong comedy, he also lamented in the face of the decline of Hong Kong films:


"Our Chinese mainland now has a lot of space, everything is more advanced than Hong Kong, and the production cost is higher than Hong Kong. The whole market is thousands of times larger than Hong Kong, tens of thousands of times. Hong Kong is too small, and what we know is limited to Hong Kong culture, real history, classical culture. In fact, we Hong Kong people are not very deep in it. So we have always emphasized making commercial films,Those more in-depth comedies and dramas cannot be filmed by Hong Kong people."


"At the craziest time, I read a script 200 times"

In 1973, Wu Mengda applied for the Hong Kong TVB artist training class. The reason for applying for the exam was that he felt very handsome. Of course, his mother’s strong encouragement was also the main reason. After that, he entered the training class with Zhou Yun-fat, Lin Lingdong and others.


After graduation, Wu Mengda and Zhou Yun-fa worked together as extras. It was not until the TV series "The Legend of Chu Liuxiang" that he first tasted the popularity of "Hu Tiehua". On the contrary, Zhou Yun-fa, because of his height, could only continue to play tricks on the set.

Wu Mengda played "Hu Tiehua" in "The Legend of Chu Liuxiang"

Soon after his debut, Wu Mengda became a big hit, and during that period, he was completely bloated. He spent every day with his boss, and he described his life at that time as "gambling, smoking, alcohol, and women." The result of erosion was that he owed a lot of debt and was frozen by TVB for four years.


There was no drama to shoot, and when he was at his worst, he only had money left to buy a pack of cigarettes. He once thought of suicide. Even his junior brother Du Qifeng criticized him at that time as "a piece of mud that can’t support the wall".


After experiencing ups and downs, we must also usher in a change of heart.

Wu Mengda used this time to immerse himself in acting. He watched movies, read books, and studied scripts. After that, he finally turned around with "Sequel to Senior Brother Xinja".


He starred in the drama as an instructor opposite Tony Leung. According to him, there was a two-page play that he watched 200 times just to play when he reprimanded Tony Leung in the play"The mouth is scolding him, but the eyes are hurting him"The feeling.

"The Sequel to the New Zha Senior Brother" plays with Tony Leung

"200 times", Wu Mengda mentioned "200 times" again in this interview.

"Every play, every line of dialogue, I may have watched more than 50 times. In the craziest time before, I watched it 200 times.Why did I watch it for so long? Do I have a bad memory? No. Basically watching it five or six times, I can remember most of it, but I have to keep interpreting it from other angles, so I have to keep reading the script and keep giving it more vitality. "

Now, he has developed a habit of reading the script carefully the night before filming, and not bringing the script to the scene on the day of filming. He said that when he was filming "New Oolong Academy", when he worked with Zhou Xingchi in the past, he was even more, "It’s not for the camera, it’s not for the plot, and it’s not for the dialogue. I just eat it all, and then see what can spark each other on the scene, play some fun with the opponent, play tricks on the object, and suddenly come, and the opponent can’t react."


The collaboration with Stephen Chow began with "He Came From the Jianghu" and "Hero of the World". At that time, they were father, son and mentor in the play, and they were neighbors who lived across the street outside the play. They were brothers who always discussed performances together in the car before going to the set.

"He Came From The World" Stills

"Gambling Saint" was their true starting point, and likewise, they also achieved "Gambling Saint".


In the movie, Wu Mengda was mistakenly beaten by Zhou Xingchi. He was wearing women’s clothes while foaming at the mouth and saying, "It’s alright", "Then let’s go". This funny scene is his temporary design. There is also the classic image of "Third Uncle". When Zhou Xingchi shouted "Third Uncle", he had a seizure like a convulsion, and his whole body trembled. This is not groundless, but his own performance style, and he also named it "Congenital Uncontrolled Disorder".

"Gambling Saint" stills

With improvisation and tacit cooperation, they have crossed the world in one song and one relaxation, becoming the most classic screen partner in Hong Kong film history.


In the eyes of the public, Wu Mengda may be the "little follower" next to Zhou Xingchi in the movie. Since the movie, he has hardly played a male lead. He doesn’t mind the light and heavy scenes at all."I treat the protagonist and the supporting actor the same, and I pay the same. I won’t say that the protagonist is more nervous or that I will play the supporting role casually. No, absolutely not."


Some time ago, he made another cameo appearance in a big movie "Sir Wei", where he played Hai Gong again. In the TV series "Xiaobao and Kangxi" and the movie "Lu Ding Ji Ji", Wu Mengda has played Hai Dafu twice, both of which are funny and crazy. This time, he seems to be reinterpreting in the opposite direction of insidious and fierce.

"Hai Dafu" in "Lu Ding Ji"

"Comedy, farce, tragedy, drama, I have filmed all kinds of dramas, what else can I do?"He said that he didn’t want to do repetitions, but he had no choice but to play too many roles. Even if it was a new production, a reenactment, or a cameo, he believed that there was still a lot of scope and space to complete better performances.

"Sorry for not acting 

And influence me the most "

Uncle Da was very honest, saying that he really couldn’t do without acting, and even when he was hospitalized and sick before, he was concerned about the movie and the set.


"I keep wanting to act, and I keep hoping to create, which will make me younger. Living in the film and television industry, there is a group of people who accompany you to play and chat every day, and respect you very much. This is the greatest pleasure in life, and it is also the job I like."


When it comes to the most satisfying roles, he listed four:The third uncle in "Gambling Saint", Li Sucan’s father, Hai Dafu in "Lu Ding Ji", and Taibao in "Heaven Ruoyou Love".


He has created a lot of classic comedy roles, but so far, it is this tragic little character in "Heaven Ruoyou" that has won him the only Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Supporting Actor.

"If there is love in the sky" stills

Similarly, in this interview, we also found a Wu Mengda who is completely different from the stereotype of "comedian".


He said that the biggest regret in his life was not being in "The Wrong Ride," and that he wanted to play the sad, mute father so much. In his opinion, the performances of the movie version of Sun Yue and the TV version of Li Xuejian are great, but from the body language to the eye details, he believes that there is a different way of acting from them.


In 2006, in the variety show "Operation Style", he passed the addiction of "Riding the Wrong Car". But it was just a small segment of the show’s acting, and he had to get into the play and get lost in it. Although his easy-to-put acting skills were not realized in the "Riding the Wrong Car", they were in "Heaven If You Love", and later football coaches, more visible.

Wu Mengda performed "The Wrong Ride" in a variety show.

The movies that influenced him the most were not comedies, but Chen Kaige’s "Yellow Earth" and Hou Xiaoxian’s "Love and Dust"."I’ve watched these two more than 50 times, and they both have videotapes. I watch them almost every day when I have time, and learn something from them."


Two literary films, two literary films with the same sense of loneliness.


"If you don’t like it or worry, what are you singing?"In the dialogue in "The Yellow Earth", he said he would always remember it."That tone is really lonely and wandering, but it will hit your heart. The whole atmosphere is too painful."


And "Love the Wind and Dust", born in Xiamen, he may have aroused his memories and nostalgia for southern Fujian in the local atmosphere of this Taiwanese film.


I watched Uncle Da’s "congenital disorder" in comedy movies, but I forgot that he was so calm and peaceful in the audience, and even willing to embrace loneliness and loneliness.

"Stephen Chow’s golden partner" and "the all-purpose supporting actor of Hong Kong movies," Wang Jing also described him as "a good actor who can act in big comedies and big tragedies, and a really good actor with acting skills." Some people even said that he is "China’s Morgan Freeman."


"In 50 years, in 100 years, how do you want the audience to evaluate you?"


At the end of the interview, we threw this life summary question to him, and he quickly put away his smiling face, thought for a few seconds and said,"I hope the audience can still remember me, I hope the audience still has the impression of’Wu Mengda ‘"


As soon as he finished speaking, he asked again without reason."Huh? 50 years from now, 100 years from now, I’ll still be here, ask again then!"


After calming down, he laughed and teased again. Well, this is Wu Mengda.


Photo/Yang Nan

Video/Teacher Meow