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Pierre Tremblay

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Pierre Tremblay (page 2)


1982 brought a big change in my professional life : I was recruited as a film dubber. It was 'earphone dubbing', for those who know, and it was full time. Six, sometimes seven days a week, eight to ten hours a day, we sometimes slept in the studios ! We all made a good salary at the end of the month. I was able to save enough cash to do my first round-the-planet trip in 1983-1984: back to Montreal, then Europe, South Asia, and then back to work in Hong Kong. Our dubbing team was working for the big Hong Kong Film Studios of the day : Shaw Brothers, Golden Harvest and... IFD and Godfrey Ho. A little fact that not too many people knew : Stuart Onslow-Smyth, myself and other more anonymous foreign actors had all worked for Godfrey Ho as dubbers long before we ever had roles in his films. In the 1980s all Chinese films from Shaw Brothers, Golden Harvest, IFD and others were dubbed into English for the Indonesian market, because Chinese was then illegal there. And as well as movies, we were also dubbing TV series, it was really mass production dubbing !

Godfrey was always present in the dubbing studio, with an amused smile, distant, but always very clear about what he wanted, and he always payed on time. So he had a good reputation. When he started inviting dubbers to act in his films in 1986-1987, none refused. And since we were told that it was going to the Indonesian market, far from the eyes of our close ones in North America, Europe and Australia, we all agreed. It was only in 1992 that a friend in Los Angeles told me he bought a VHS with me as ninja at his corner store ! I laughed and he send me a copy.

In Hong Kong, even today, one rarely sign contracts, you're paid once and after that the owners can do whatever they want with your work. Unions and syndicates in Hong Kong either don't exist or have no powers. So I thought Godfrey later must've found a way to sell in the US, and in Hong Kong that was his right. I must also clarify that I wasn't seriously looking for a career in cinema. I was open to any new experience and if I was invited I'd say yes, but I was not actively looking for work as an actor. Which wasn't the case with other dubbers, those other 'more anonymous foreign actors' in Godfrey's movies who were professional thespians in Hong Kong theatres, or Stuart Onslow-Smyth, who afterwards was able to get a few choice roles in reputable movies. For me it was around 2 days filming for each of Godfrey's films. We were dubbing them, so Godfrey was shooting without sound, in public parks or private homes to cut costs (a real art in Hong Kong).

I also filmed 2 days with Bruce Barron in an area I never knew before in Kowloon Park in Tsim Sha Tsui. Of course we only did our own Kung Fu moves in those scenes where you can see our faces, in all others they're Chinese stuntmen. We talked a bit during breaks, fixing the lighting always took the most time. He liked to talk about sex (he liked it "hot and wet"), money (to make sure Godfrey wasn't paying me more than him), and to go over our dialogue. That was it. I heard him speak his Chinese but I have to admit I didn't understand much. I was some distance away when he had his altercation with the Chinese stuntmen. Godfrey had to physically intervene to separate him from the other two. One thing for sure, at that moment Mr. Barron was pronouncing his Chinese swearwords very well. I also had a 2-3 day shoot with Richard Harrison, who was professional, courteous and with whom I spoke very little. He got along very well with Godfrey during these few days of filming, you could even say he was treated with the greatest respect.

You were asking me about Filmark, I never knew them ; you mentionned Alphonse Beni, Grant Temple, never knew nor met them ; and your scene of me dubbed by Marc Malloy (another member of our dubbing group), was done because I wasn't in Hong Kong at the time and Godfrey asked Marc to dub me. We only rarely saw the big boss Mr. Lai.

That's it for my acting career which will take a break till my last films in 2001 and 2003, and the TV series a few years before.

In 1986 I started work as a radio presenter, and also doing voice-overs for TV commercials. Two activities I'm still doing today. It's also the time I met 'Fat Goh' again. He had just re-married and that day came in with his new wife to the studio in the heart of Mongkok where I was working on a 35mm Steenbeck putting the finishing touches to the subtitles on his new film (I forget which one, sorry). After all those years he immediately recognized me, said hi and asked how I was. He was already a big star in Hong Kong, but his fame had rather converted him into a saint ! He was super nice with everyone, he even massaged the feet of the doorman (!), and then invited us to a new restaurant that just opened not far from the old airport. A real good guy !


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