When you’ve seen buildings or automobiles blown as much as smithereens on native motion blockbusters, likelihood is you’ve come throughout the work of stunt director Wong Choon Meng.
Wong, or fondly known as Ameng by his colleagues, is believed to be the one stunt director within the nation geared up to hold out stunt explosions.
That’s not all. Keep in mind the struggle sequences on combined martial arts (MMA) movie Sangkar? That was Wong. The skirmish that came about within the forest throughout World Conflict II in Pulang? That was Wong, too.
Whether or not it’s a MMA match or the complicated depictions of warfare, the 56-year-old is a grasp at choreographing all manners of motion stunts.
Wong’s journey into the world of stunts began in his early 20s when he joined an area acrobatic troupe.
“I met the favored Koong brothers (a household of acrobats comprising Robert, Danny and Robin Koong) sooner or later by means of a mutual buddy and determined to hitch them only for enjoyable initially,” he remembers.
“This was the place I picked up the fundamentals and realized to do my first flip.”
However the expertise lit a hearth in Wong, who was serving to his father’s small-scale residence renovation enterprise on the time.
He formally forayed into stunt work just a few years later within the mid 1980s, becoming a member of an area manufacturing firm. Wong carried out easy stunts from falling off stairs to sophisticated ones like touchdown on a transferring automobile.
“I bear in mind one time my father got here to look at me on set. The scene required me to throw myself in opposition to a automobile window with such power that the glass shattered. I needed to do it just a few instances earlier than succeeding. After the scene, my father saved very quiet.
“I feel he knew what I used to be doing was harmful however he additionally knew he couldn’t cease me from doing what I like.”
After the corporate closed, Wong labored as a stuntman on a contract foundation, supplementing his earnings with numerous part-time jobs to make ends meet.
“I’ve accomplished all types of jobs. I’ve pushed taxis, I’ve offered ice-creams, I’ve renovated homes, ” he seems again.
Whereas stunt jobs have been exhausting to return by again then, those who did come supplied invaluable experiences.
“When worldwide productions come to movie in Malaysia, they might often search out native stunt individuals to help of their stunt work. My very first time engaged on a global movie was within the 1992 Hollywood movie Fifty/Fifty.”
He has gone on to help in numerous Hong Kong productions too together with Skyline Cruisers (2000) starring Leon Lai, The Viral Issue (2012) starring Nicholas Tse and Conspirators (2013) starring Aaron Kwok.
Wong made probably the most out of those experiences, taking down notes and absorbing all his colleagues needed to provide.
“Whether or not it’s a global or native stunt crew, I at all times make it some extent to look at and be taught as a lot as I can. I might ask them how do they do that and that. Then I might do my very own analysis and see how I can incorporate what I’ve realized, ” he says.
Little by little, Wong amassed all kinds of stunt work, together with stunt rigging (putting in a wiring system for aerial acts), automobile stunts, combating stunts in addition to creating managed explosions.
In 1994, Wong lastly skilled some semblance of stability when he signed with HVD Movie Manufacturing. Nevertheless, after six years, across the flip of the millennium, Wong left the corporate and started making it on his personal.
Having assembled a community of contacts over time, he progressively grew to become the go-to individual each time motion pictures required stunt work, a lot so he established his personal firm in 2008.
“As a result of I’m very in tune with the native stunt neighborhood, filmmakers will interact me and I’ll outsource the work to stunt people who find themselves suited to the job.”
He additionally slowed down on work as a stuntman and channelled his years of expertise to stunt directing.
Wong describes his work as a stunt director: “So I’ll ask the movie director what does she or he need the motion sequence to be like? The place does the struggle start and the place does it finish?
“Then I’ll design it. I’ll counsel to take the struggle from one place to a different. If the director is OK with it, we’ll go forward. If not, I’ll make some adjustments.”
As a stunt director, Wong can also be accountable for the protection of his crew members.
“At any time when I do know we’re doing a dangerous stunt, I ensure that it is vitally secure earlier than I’ll enable my stunt individual to do it. I don’t need any accidents, ” he says.
Technological development like computer-generated imagery (CGI) additionally makes performing stunts safer at present.
“Consider that scene the place you will have somebody operating away from an exploding constructing. With CGI, you don’t want anybody close to the explosion.
“We simply movie the explosion alone in a separate shot. After which we movie the character operating in one other shot. We then splice the 2 collectively.”
Wong has acquired quite a few recognitions over time for his excellence in stunt work.
He was named Finest Stuntman for Songlap in 2012 and Finest Stunt Director for Gila Child in 2017 by the Skilled Movie Staff Affiliation Of Malaysia (Profima).
Wong makes it some extent to cross the baton to the youthful era, coaching a brand new crop of stunt women and men yr after yr.
“I get lots of martial artists making an attempt out for stunts. You could be a actually good martial artist however if you happen to don’t know the place the digicam is, there’s no level. So I’ll observe their strikes and I’ll alter them to swimsuit the digicam, ” he provides.
Wong will proceed to boost the requirements of Malaysia’s stunt choreography.
His upcoming works might be seen subsequent yr in J Retribusi and Sumpahan Jerunei.
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