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Mike Abbott

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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Mike Abbott (page 4)

You did some TV commercials too?

Yes, I can't exactly remember them all, but I remember that in 1986 I did a Sapporo beer commercial, and that was paid like US$35 a day. More recently, about in 2001, I went to Taiwan and did a motorcar commercial (I think it was for Camaro). I worked for only a day and a half, and earned US$1500. That was good extra money, unusually good I would say (actually, that was one of the best paid jobs I ever had, but there were so few like that one!). There's also another one I did in 2000 I think, in Guangzhou (Canton), and for which I got paid about US$1000 for one day's work. Not bad too.

I have been killed in a lot of ways, some of them rather bizarre. I have been shot with pistol, rifle, shotgun and machinegun. I have been punched and kicked to death. I have been stabbed, blown up and impaled. There was one IFD movie where I had bright colored powders packed in my ninja suite at chest level. When it was my turn to die, somebody threw a sword at me. The sword hit me in the chest, the explosive charges under the powder were fired, then my chest exploded into a rainbow of colors... how ridiculous! I have had over 100 bullet-squibs on me during my career. In one movie (I think it was "Angel Enforcers"), I was machinegunned by about 3 or 4 guys and had no less than 10 squibs fixed to me (only 9 went off though). The bullets blasted from my knees to my chest... what a way to go! In Indonesia, Chris Mitchum blew me up with a hand grenade while I was in a helicopter. In another Indo movie, Bill Superfoot Wallace kicks me to death... I'm left floating face down in the swimming pool. I was impaled in "Fatal Termination", and have been shot to death in one way or another in about 15 movies. I get to live in only a few films. It's all in a day's work for an action movie star! Ha ha!!

How was it to be a gweilo in HK? For instance, which way were you considered by Chinese actors?

Joey Wong

Well, on IFD movies, there were no Chinese actors (or very few) and only gweilos most of the time. Now, on movies like "Casino Raiders" or "City Hunter", it was of course a bit different. For instance, Chinese women can be very snobbish: they would never talk to foreigners. I remember there was a girl on "City Hunter" named Joey Wong... God, she was just horrible, nobody liked her! Richard Norton and Gary Daniels couldn't stand her neither, I remember Richard told things about her you just couldn't print in this interview...

"Purple Storm", that Teddy Chan directed in 1999, stands as the last film in your filmography. Did your career in films took an end because of a lack of opportunities? Didn't you try to go on working, in a way or another, in the film industry, and if no, would you work again as an extra if you were granted that opportunity?

Well I tried, of course, but there just have been nothing around. However, I got a list of agents; I now have to get a couple of new photos done, and plan to sort of "re-launch" myself. I have kept myself in good shape, and with my hair looking really long now, I got a bit of style to it (even if that also limits my opportunities, as so many foreigners are used as CIA agents or gangsters of one kind or another, which often don't need long hair - actually my hair is right down to my waist!).

At the present time, you work in kids' entertainment, running your own company - you even appeared on TV. Could you tell us a bit about it? You also work as a fitness trainer, right?

Actually, I've been entertaining kids in HK since 1986, but I got my own company going in 1989. I don't do a lot of business nowadays, though. I used to do loads but I got a lot of competition now, because there are so many companies doing this... but my show is excellent, it really is! I work with puppets, as a magician, as a professional balloon tier, etc. I appeared on TV three times, first in 1993, then (I think) in 1997 and again for another show in 1998, appearing for about 5 minutes as a guest.

I'm also a personal trainer, that's right, but that's another thing for which there's not a lot of business at the moment (right now, I got only one client!)... nothing much exciting to talk about, though...

Apparently, you also have a genuine and vivid passion for photography and travels, describing yourself as a "seasoned photo hobbyist" and making exhibitions. Could you tell us a bit more about it too?

"Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is a Hindu / Buddhist temple
built on tiny islands on Lake Bratan, Bali Island.
The temple was founded in the 17th Century
and is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the Goddess of the Waters.
The temple, the lake and the cloudy mountain backdrop
make this a truly beautiful place..."

Yes, I like to take photos and have exhibitions. You can take a look at my work here.

So far, I've had about 4 exhibitions; I've only sold a few things, but it doesn't matter as long as you have somebody appreciate what you do (and it's great knowing that some half a dozen houses around HK have got my photographs hanging on their wall).

With the hindsight, what look do you take at your career in cinema? Did you ever have a keen interest in it, or was it just one more job among many others?

Doing films wasn't quite like another job, because it was special. This is something that I really would have liked to work out harder if the opportunities were there... From 1986 to 1999, I have been featured in about 24 movies as an actor with quite a lot of dialogue and screen time, in about 8 more movies as an extra, and in about 5 TV commercials. I really did enjoy it and would have loved to have done more.

What are your best and your worst memories as an actor or an extra?

I think the best memory I have was when I went to Indonesia to do my first movie there, "Final Score", because the sets were really big, there was studio work, I've met Chris Mitchum who's famous, we were staying at a beautiful hotel in a lovely place... everything was just so much better than what I have been working on before... IFD was fine, but they were low budgets, very low budgets, and then I find myself working on this quite big movie, with Chris Mitchum who was really a good guy... it was just great. That's my fondest memory, I will never forget.

I don't have any really bad memories, I have never been injured, I mean I have never experienced anything serious to complain about. The only thing, maybe, was with IFD. We often shot in the summer, and were often given quite heavy clothes to wear, so it was very, very hot. And also there were long days, 10 to 14 hours a day, so it was very uncomfortable, and made work extremely hard sometimes.

Has life changed for Westerners living in HK like you, from what it was in the 80's?

Yes, it's very difficult here now, there is less money around, the economy is not so good... of course, the retrocession of Hong Kong to China probably has a lot to do with it, it has made this city different. Honestly, I never really got into politics, but I believe that if the British were still here, Hong Kong would be a better place to cope with... However, HK has been my home place for many years now, and I wouldn't live anywhere else.

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