Stephen Fung on a possible ‘Gen-X Cops’ reunion

Reta Lee
Editor-in-Chief, Lifestyle
Stephen Fung at Star Search 2019. (PHOTO: Mediacorp)

Singapore – Actor/director Stephen Fung was in town to lend his star power as a judge in Star Search 2019. He shared insights as a director on AMC’s Into The Badlands and Netflix’s Wu’s Assassins, as well as his hope for a possible Gen-X Cops reunion.

It’s been 20 years since Hong-Kong actor Stephen Fung starred in the hit drama film Gen-X Cops, which catapulted his name to fame. Together with some of the cast members of the film - Daniel Wu, Stephen Fung, Nicholas Tse and Sam Lee - the group congregated at the Hong Kong Film Awards held on 14 April to present two awards, to much fanfare. Was that a planned idea?

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Fung laughed: “Well, that was the idea to test the water during the award ceremony to see how people react to it (reunion). And it seems like people are (feeling) quite positive about it. There are some producers that we're talking to and also a director. And you know, the next thing could very possibly be a script. So, let's see how it goes. But I'm quite confident that investors are quite interested.”

A possible Gen-X Cops sequel? Yes, please! But don’t assume Fung to be writing the script anytime. “No, it would be highly biased if I were to write it,” he added with a twinkly eye.

Did Fung anticipate the crowd’s response because of the sense of nostalgia to the reunion? 20 years seems like a long time, but the roaring crowd proved to be a sweet testament. “There’s definitely nostalgic feelings. It's been 20 years and at that time, before the Gen-X Cops happened, there were films which were more or less, (acted) by the same big actors of that time. So when we came out in the year, I think 2000, there were a lot of fresh faces. It's been 20 years, and it's a good idea to get together and have some fun. Actually, it's more about having fun,” Fung stressed.

Stephen Fung backstage at Star Search 2019. (PHOTO: Reta Lee/Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore)

Born into a family of showbiz (his mom, Julie Sek Yin, was an actress tied to the Shaw Brothers film production company), Fung made his acting debut in Forbidden Nights in 1990 and went on to star in the successful Gen-X franchise. The baby-faced actor also dabbled in a singing career and even launched a solo album, Not Enough Love. He’s also the husband of award-winning actress Shu Qi, whom they wed in 2016.

Fung moved to Los Angeles in early 2000s to pursue an acting career, but he also found time to write a script, which eventually became the basis for his film, Enter The Phoenix. The film was released in 2004. He followed up with another martial arts film the following year, House of Fury.

Breaking into Hollywood is no easy feat, but Fung recently made waves with his work as a director on AMC’s Into The Badlands which premiered in 2016 (the same American pay television channel that carries The Walking Dead). The series made headway for its first Asian lead, Daniel Wu, on an American series in 40 years. Last year, Fung signed on Netflix’s first martial arts series, Wu’s Assassins, which stars Iko Uwais, a prominent Indonesian actor and stuntman. If there’s something that Fung is doing right, that is increasing the diversity and representation of Asian cast and crew members in Hollywood. We wonder if this was a deciding factor for his works.

Daniel Wu, Stephen Fung at AMC's 'Into the Badlands' panel at New York Comic Con at Jacob Javits Center on October 10, 2015 in New York City.

“I think it depends on each individual and where you're from; if you’re from the US, I think that the Asian representation in Hollywood is specifically important because that's where the home is, and that's where their market is. But if you're talking about an actor who's based in Hong Kong or Singapore, because there is an entertainment business here already (sic) it's not so much dependent on the Asian representation in Hollywood for media. For the American-born Chinese it's very important especially now these days, after films like Crazy Rich Asians, I see a lot more Asian representation in the US,” Fung acknowledged.

Fans may not know this but Fung often travels to Singapore when he can, as he visits his friend who lives here. Should we anticipate a Singapore-Hong-Kong collaboration soon then? Fung is open to the idea: “I would absolutely be delighted to, I love Singapore! One of my best buddies lives here. So whenever I come here, I always go and see him, and he takes me to places. Even though I don't think I've really worked here, like in terms of shooting but I've heard a lot of good things, and I love the food and all that.”

With Wu’s Assassins wrapped up, Fung is hoping Netflix will sign on Season 2, but meanwhile, he is mum on other projects under his sleeves: “There are a couple of projects in the pipeline, but each has a lot of moving parts somewhere in the script stage, like, looking for actors, so I don't have anything specific to disclose right now. But definitely there are things that are in the works; last year I did Wu’s Assassins and I'm still waiting for the decision on Season Two. That could be something coming up soon.”

We shall wait with bated breath.

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