“Do you believe in Ghosts?”
written & directed by Chao-Pin Su
STARRING CHEN CHANG YOSUKE EGUCHI KARENA LAM BARBIE HSU
BERLIN CHEN CHUN-NING CHANG
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY ARTHUR WONG, HKSC
PRODUCTION DESIGNER YOHEI TANEDA
EDITOR KAI-FAI CHEUNG
MUSIC BY PETER KAM
VISUAL EFFECTS PRODUCTION BY MENFOND
VISUAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR SING CHOONG FOO
VISUAL EFFECTS CONSULTANTS VICTOR WONG AND EDDY WONG
ACTION CHOREOGRAPHER STEPHEN TUNG WAI
SPECIAL MAKE-UP EFFECTS DESIGNED AND CREATED BY PAUL KATTE AND NICK NICOLAOU
SOUND DESIGN BY SOUNDFIRM
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS CHIN-WEN HUANG AND JIMMY HUANG
ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS JUFENG YEH and DAVID TANG
PRODUCED BY MING TU
“Do you believe in Ghosts?”
If they exist, can you prove it? A crippled scientist invents the world’s first ghost trap – the “Menger Sponge,” and captures the world’s first ghost.
Everything began because of the “Menger Sponge.”
One day in March 2004, director Chao-Pin Su came across a fascinating newspaper article. The article talked about a group of scientists from Osaka, Japan led by a man named Miyamoto who invented a three-dimensional cube object with multiple square holes in it called the “Menger Sponge.” They claimed that this invention could capture the frequency of a certain electromagnetic wave for up to ten millionth of a second. This interesting article captured his imagination and he couldn’t help but wonder if it could capture the spirit and energy of ghosts?
Led by his curiosity, director and screenwriter Chao-Pin Su opened the doorway to his imagination and created a screenplay that captures people’s hearts with elements of suspense, science fiction, horror and mysteriousness.
Not only did this screenplay win the first prize from Taiwan’s Department of Motion Picture, Government Information Office in 2004 for Outstanding Screenplay, but it also won the Best Professional Screenplay the same year.
It is surprising that someone who doesn’t believe in ghosts would write a story about ghosts. Receiving his master’s degree in the Industrial Technology Research Institute
from Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University, Chao-Pin Su used logic born out of academic and scientific studies to write this fascinating ghost story. Whether or not you believe in ghosts isn’t important. What’s important is that the writer of the box office blockbuster Double Vision (2002)and Golden Horse winner for best screenplay in the movie Three: Going Home (2002), Director Su says, “I am confident that you will find a movie with a story like no other.”
The film is about a group of scientists led by a physically disabled Japanese scientist Hashimoto that creates the “Menger Sponge,” an invention that can capture the energy of a ghost’s soul and uses it to capture the world’s first ghost. The ghost is an unidentified thirteen-year-old boy. Who is this ghost? Why does it kill people? Lead scientist Hashimoto enlists the help of Chi-Tung Ye, a detective with superhuman eyesight to investigate the child’s death. During the investigation process, he sees a thin thread of silk so thin he can barely see it, connecting to an unknown and mysterious force. Everyone involved with the research begins to die mysteriously, one by one falling to the dangers of death coming from the other world.
Soon and in a rather timely fashion, the screenplay attracted the full participation of some of the best personnel in film production from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. In a mercilessly hot summer of June 2005, the film began shooting on the streets of Taipei, on its way it broke the record of the most expensive Taiwanese film production. For Jimmy and Chao-Pin, not only was this an incredible challenge, but it was the continuation and realization of their dreams.
First cooperating together in the 2001 Taiwanese film produced by Columbia Pictures Double Vision, Chao-Pin Su was the screenwriter while Jimmy Huang was one of the film’s producers. Jimmy Huang said, “I felt that Director Su matured, whether it was the technique or the combination of genres, he was much better than he was before. Just like he told me, Double Vision was more of an amateur film for him. When we got to this project, many things became more mature, the story was much more complicated. The biggest difference was the “scope” of the project. It was the scale of the project that made the story more complicated. In fact there were many things that were new experiences for me since filming Double Vision.”
Combining Taiwanese filmmaking, unique screenwriting with professional film production, Double Vision was both shocking and successful. Building upon their successful experience and education, both of them faced this challenging project with a bolder plan and a greater vision. After countless travels, they put together a group of production personnel made up of the best in Asia. In Hong Kong, they looked up Director of Photography, Arthur Wong, who also worked in Double Vision. Through him, he introduced them to who he felt was the “Best in Asia” set designer Yohei Taneda, with whom he got to know and had a wonderful working relation in the film Sleepless Town (1998). Mr. Taneda brought with him exceptional international experience, including having worked in Kill Bill’s (2003) Japanese team set designer. As for special effects, the were able to acquire the talents of Sing Foo, who works at American based Columbia Pictures and was instrumental in the film Spiderman (2002). Impressed with their work in Double Vision, they enlisted the help of Makeup Effects Group, an Australian special makeup company that has worked on many Hollywood films.
Simply stated, instead of calling this a Taiwanese film, we should call it an Asian film; a “Filmed in Taiwan” Asian film. Creating a new branding ideology, this is a new theory and experiment in Taiwanese filmmaking. All of the actors that play the main roles come from Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan; all of the main production personnel come from Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Australia. Using the blueprint carefully planned out by Director Chao-Pin Su and Executive Producer Jimmy Huang, they were able to pull together Asia’s best talent, creating a team that is both exciting and a breath of fresh air.
“What we wanted to create was a quality film, and hoped to capture the best quality at every segment of the movie.” says Director Chao-Bin Su, “Previously, in regards to Taiwanese movies, when people go to the theater; they usually feel that the movie is dark and the pacing slow. However, I believe a lot of limitations are created by different general views by the creative talent. Whether or not this is due to the lack of creativity or lack of talent, this time we were lucky to have CMC Entertainment’s support for this film. From this support we were able to create, what I would call a film in which everyone that walks in will be very satisfied with. I believe the quality will set this film apart from previous Taiwanese films.”
“From the beginning we planned for this film to be not only a Taiwanese film, but a film that represents Asia. This also means that whether foreigners or people from other Asian countries see this film, they will all find a little something that represents the Asian ideals and beliefs. Keeping this in mind, we approached actors that had more of an international appeal,” said Director Chao-Pin Su on the theory of finding actors. Soon, popular actor Yosuke Eguchi, The Great White Tower and Under One Roof as well as Chen Chang, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000), 2046 (2004), and Eros (2004) joined the cast to become the spellbinding characters.
“From the beginning we decided that we wanted a Japanese actor. After talking to Eguchi, we found him to be a very professional actor. When we met them in Japan we quickly decided on Eguchi because we found that they were very committed – they even offered many new ideas. As for Barbie Hsu, we were looking to cast a sultry vixen type for this sexy role, but in the end Barbie’s test screenings convinced us to go with her for her confidence and acting talent on screen. As for Berlin Chen and Chin-Ning Chang, they were a natural “couple”. I constantly joke that if there was a sequel I would cast them. Karena’s character has an important relationship with Chi-Tung Ye and we needed to find someone that Chi-Tung Ye has deep feelings for. Whether it is because of his job, his personality, or his mother, he isn’t able to confess his love to her, so she can’t be too straightforward and has to be a bit shy. From the beginning Karena was our top candidate, and although there were some scheduling issues, in the end she finally agreed,” explains Jimmy Huang.
Chen Chang plays the role of Taiwanese detective Chi-Tung Ye and found himself immediately and deeply attracted to the screenplay. He says, “Once I got the screenplay, I couldn’t stop reading it and read the whole thing in one sitting. Because the screenplay contained elements of suspense and action, it forces you to keep reading. Of course, I found that the most interesting and important thing in the story is the “SILK,” exactly what did ghosts use to communicate with each other?” Then does he believe in ghosts? He answered, “Half and half. There have always been lots of things in the world that cannot be explained by science.”
Chi-Tung Ye, this character, started off with some minor casting difficulties. The director and I went to Hong Kong and Taiwan to find the right candidate. In the end we decided on Chen Chang. “I feel that in this movie, Chen Chang is more mature than his previous films.” Producer Jimmy Huang said.
What about Yosuke Eguchi? Director Su says, “In this film, Yosuke Eguchi plays a person who grew up suffering the pains of diabetes to the point that he lost his leg. He had a very unhappy life starting from childhood. That’s why when he found out that it’s possible to become a ghost after death, he became very obsessed with the idea.” Flying in to meet with him several times, Director Su soon decided on Eguchi due to his enjoyment of the screenplay as well as his superb image and acting ability. “He plays his part very well in the film.” Director Su said with great satisfaction.
This is the first time Yosuke Eguchi left Japan to shoot a film overseas and feels an excited anticipation for this film, viewing it as the next break in his acting career. He says, “This movie has a cinematographer that used to shoot Jackie Chan’s martial art films, and if you add Director Su to the mix, you find yourself on a very strong team. The hardest part was to memorize Chinese dialogue. After receiving the screenplay, I spent a lot of time by myself listening to Chinese on my MD, rehearsing endlessly. When it came time to face the camera, I felt it was still difficult to say. After working with everyone, I felt that the production team was very talented. The whole process left me with a unique feeling of attraction. Hopefully after this film I will find greater challenges in movies.”
Besides Chen Chang and Yosuke Eguchi’s excellent performance, the heroine played by Barbie Hsu is a fan of Yosuke Eguchi. Someone who is scared of watching horror films, she was excited to accept this role in “the legendary most expensive film in Taiwan” and of playing the role of Su Yuen, the success driven assistant that seeks fame from the research.
“I personally believe that ghosts exist in this world. What attracted and interested me in regards to this project was mainly the fact that Director Su’s previous screenplays were all well received, this made me want to cooperate with him. The other big reason was because I wanted to work with Yosuke Eguchi, because I’ve seen all his Japanese dramas and am a very big fan of his.” Barbie said.
“Barbie told me that this was her second commercial film. Her first film, a film from China called The Ghost Inside (2005), wasn’t shown in Taiwan. I feel that she is a very gifted actress. First of all, she demands perfection from herself. In the movie, almost half her dialogue is in Japanese, but her Japanese sounded so convincing that even real Japanese people couldn’t find anything to correct. All that Japanese was memorized. The second thing was when you tell her something on the set, if there was some action that needed to be fixed, without exception she could always fix it. That’s why I believe she is an actress with lots of potential,” said Director Chao-Pin Su.
The other heroine in the film, Jia-Wei Du, is played by Karena Lam and is the innocent and bright character of the film. Previously, she was cast in Director Su’s screenplay Three: Going Home.
“The first time I saw the script for SILK, I felt it was an intense commercial film. Director’s Su’s previous screenplays Three: Going Home and Double Vision as well as this screenplay SILK, all reflected the fact that he understood how to create this feeling of suspense. You read it and you become anxious and want to read the ending. So I thought this would be fun, if it could catch me, then audiences would feel it as well, so I agreed immediately!”
As to why they chose Karen to play this part, Director Su said this, “This film is a frightening, suspenseful film. All the characters, in some capacity have some kind of darkness within them except Karena Lam. She is the sun in the movie, and represents truth, happiness, joy, the side of the sun. We wanted her because her exterior looks gave off that kind of image!”
In the movie there are two other important roles played by Berlin Chen and Chin-Ning Chung. They play the part of Yosuke Eguchi’s ssistants, and are a pair of young scientists. As a contrast to Eguchi’s character who is obsessed by death and Barbie’s obsession for success, these two characters are more of the I-don’t-really-believe in ghosts, more stubborn type of characters. Because they are too young to think about death, they treat the concept of ghosts in the same lighthearted manner. Of course this light hearted manner will eventually pay a price in this movie….” Director Chao-Pin Su describes these two young characters that are vastly different from the other more complex characters.
In the movie, Berlin Chen plays Shou Ren, “a genius scientist who specializes in physics and chemistry. He believes in ghosts but believe that they are a ‘spiritual body’ that can be explained by science…. In the movie he often talks about different scientific numbers and theories and is a young scientist devoted to studying and learning. This character is very stubborn, it’s that ‘There can’t be ghosts, it must be a spiritual body, it must have some reason for appearing’ attitude that makes him so cute” says Berlin.
As for Chin-ning Chang and her first experience acting in a horror movie, she says, “I feel that the hardest part is imagination. You have to imagine you are scared, because you definitely won’t see that kind of thing appear, you have to use your imagination. And when people are at their most frightened point, their whole body will shake, acting this out is very tiring…. So are the parts where you pretend to be calm.” In the movie she plays the part of an easily scared assistant scientist; anything scary that happens, she’s the first to scream. “I feel that she is a really smart but timid girl, and yet in certain situations she doesn’t catch on as fast. Like, even though she’s really scared of something, but she still feels that probably nothing will happen…: as she describes her role in the movie.
BEHIND THE SCENE
Starting its production in June of 2005 and finishing in August of the same year, the majority of Silk’s scenes were shot in the swelter heat of Taiwan. Under the direction of Set Designer Yohei Taneda, the set design team created a seemingly tourist attractive interior design of Building 17 as well as making each and every flower in the grandiose exterior scene of the Flower Fields. Combine that with the various scenes of the city streets of Taipei as well as other interior and exterior scenes, Yohei Taneda, through the beautiful cinematography of Arthur Wong, the wonderful acting of the actors as well as the fast paced story, brings us into a Taipei that seems so familiar and yet remains decidedly different. In order to create a completely different feeling, this new Taipei is beautiful in an eerie and frightening way. Challenged by a city that is hard to shoot, the production team worked diligently led by their strong will to create the best quality film possible.
Producer Jimmy Huang says, “The ‘big’ in the big production of Silk actually made the film extremely complicated. Some of these complications not even I had experience with. I also feel that the basics of genre films are different. There are some things you have to do enough of or that you must capture on film. Certain elements must appear. Upholding the quality of these sets is the biggest challenge. Everyday on set, we needed to think of new ways to overcome our surroundings, since the difficulties of shooting in Taiwan aren’t something commonly known by outsiders.”
“For instance, we wanted to shoot a scene that happened on the MRT subway, besides shooting in the MRT, we also had to spend a million NT to create a section of the MRT subway to edit into the movie. Why did we do this? Because this scene was one of the last scenes in the movie, the scenes preceding this were all action and special effects based. In the end of the movie, we still have to come back to resolve the emotional factors of the main characters. You can’t just leave that part of the movie unresolved; otherwise it will be like a suspenseful horror or sci-fi movie. In order to achieve that aspect, we spent two days shooting the ending. Armed with determination, I felt strongly that no matter where the movie took us, we had to capture it completely, and that’s why we spent so much time and effort in the last scenes.
The film’s visual appeal is created by cinematographer Arthur Wong and set designer Yohei Taneda, who worked on Kill Bill, while the action was directed by Hong Kong’s most experienced action choreographer Dong Wei.
The two biggest, most important sets in the movie are “Building 17” and the “Daylily Field.”
“Building 17” is perhaps the most important interior set in Silk and was built from scratch by Mr. Taneda at Arrow Studios in Taiwan.
Set Director Mr. Taneda placed extra attention and care into “Building 17” since it was so special and played such a big part in the movie.
Mr. Taneda said, “‘Building 17’ is a mysterious and frightening building, so we had to make it seem like it held a mystery. Inside this ‘Building 17’ is the captured spirit of a young boy called Yao who is really the main character of this movie.” People may have expected Mr. Taneda to search for ideas for the set of “Building 17” from other horror movies, but instead, Mr. Taneda looked through albums of artwork that centered on children. He finally found his inspiration through the observation of these children centered artwork.
“When I was thinking about ‘Building 17,’ I thought about the drawings of fairy tales I saw when I was a child. For example, I wanted to create a fairy tale like space similar to the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales’ Little Red Riding Hood. There is a key to creating a frightening place; that is to create a scary but beautiful place. A scary place that’s also attractive enough to pull you in, like the Gingerbread House in Hansel and Gretel, in which even though you could tell it was a trap, but you couldn’t help yourself but to go forward and take a look.”
“The thing I most wanted to convey was that in this old place there is a shiny object. To create a space that is independent from the rest of Taiwan, so that it teases people’s curiosity enough for them to want to go into this mysterious place. I designed ‘Building 17’ the way it was because I wanted to create a place that leaves the impression of foreshadowing.”
Cinematographer Arthur Wong says, “Mr. Taneda combined a slightly European blue and green together to create an image that is like an European oil painting. The sets that he created, especially the colors of ‘Building 17,’ have never been seen before in locally made films. Everyone enjoyed working together. Karena Lam’s flower shop uses mostly white and colorful background setting, gives people a feeling of safety and innocence. As for ‘Building 17,’ I used a Cuban Havana style. I found a similarity not from Japan but more from Spanish styles for this movie. I felt this was the style that was closer to what I wanted, with the humidity, the bricks of the floor, and the wall all seemed to reflect that style. I felt from this angle, we could make a style that gives off a special aura of Taiwan for this movie.
In Mr. Taneda’s mind, “Building 17” is the entrance to the movie while the other most important set was the flower field, which he thought of as the exit.
“In the movie, the flower field represents an exit. It is in the flower fields that the little boy Yao was buried and in the end was dug up again, which represents a kind of exit. All of the set designs in the film were planned according to how much we would spend on the flower field. In the whole movie we incorporated a lot of “flowers” in our set design, and if you don’t look closely you might miss the “flower” in different places. For example, next to the hospital bed we had “flowers” and other flower shaped items. Or in the building that explodes, the design of the wall paper contains “flowers.” Perhaps the most evident set is “Du Jia Wei’s flower shop.” So we used many different ways to hint about the importance of the flower field, and in the end we were able to connect everything to that one big flower field.” Taneda talked about using flowers in bringing together the theme of the movie.
Mr. Taneda also said, “This ‘Flower Field’ is really a much too beautiful world view, so I discussed with the director many times what kind of flower we should use. In the end, we decided in using Daylily flowers. For me, the kind of flower in the field isn’t important, what’s important is that you capture the mood and the feeling in the movie. The color contrast that cinematographer Tai used was more cool colored. That is, colors that lean more toward blue and green, so flowers are the opposite, using warm colors such as red, white and yellow. So I imagined having the scenes with these strong images of flowers floating against a blue color palette.”
In regards to designing the set of Taipei city for Silk, Taneda said, “Nine years ago, I worked on a film in Japan called Swallowtail Butterfly (1996). At the time, I went to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and many others to survey the locations. In the movie, Swallowtail Butterfly, I made a fantasy Japan. When Japanese went to see the movie, they saw a Japan that seemed like Japan, and yet didn’t quite feel like it was Japan. The art design of the set made it so like it didn’t seem like it was Japan. This time, I tried to accomplish the same thing, I wanted Taiwanese people to see this movie and know that it was Taiwan and yet feel like it wasn’t Taiwan. Give it a foreign feeling. Just because we shot this in Taipei it doesn’t have to be this Taipei. I wanted to portray a special Taipei for this movie. I wanted to create a fantastical Taipei.”
The cinematographer in this movie is Arthur Wong from Hong Kong, whom everyone likes to call Tai. One of the most experienced professional cinematographer in Hong Kong, he has won many Golden Horse awards and as well as a Hong Kong Film Award for best Cinematography. Silk is his one hundred twenty second film that he has worked in.
“This is my third film in Taiwan after Director Yang De Chang’s A Confucian Confusion (1994), there was Double Vision, and then there’s this movie, Silk. Before I accepted this movie, there was a total of four movies recruiting me. Besides Silk, there was a Hong Kong movie, an American movie and a Chinese movie, but I ended up choosing Silk. The main reason for choosing Silk was because I was attracted to the plot of the screenplay. For a cinematographer, this is the most important thing, I felt this movie game me a better chance to use my skills and so I chose this movie.” Arthur happily explained about how he felt about this movie.
“From a color, color balance, and mood standpoint, it’s very different from other horror movies. It doesn’t look like it’s planned, but you will realize, that that’s what makes it so difficult!” Arthur explained about Silk.
During the shooting period, Arthur spent a lot of time communicating with the director and set director Yohei Taneda, in order to find the movie’s visual theme and uniqueness. They also wanted to find the most perfect and exact techniques. In order for them to achieve such high standards and demand for perfection, they paid a pretty big price as well as put in a lot of hard work.
Director Su said about this film’s visual aspects, “I didn’t want to shoot a dark horror or suspense movie. Instead, I wanted to shoot a generally bright, very realistic suspense film. Even though there are ghosts in the film, when the spirits come out, I didn’t want them to seem dark and shadowy. Since we wanted the film to look very bright and very clear, it raised the difficulty in shooting this film by many levels. For example, when we were shooting exterior scenes, we usually had to light up the whole city streets to get that effect of being able to see everything clearly that I asked from them. After we studied many films, we decided to use a special color as this film’s visual basis, which also caused many problems in post shooting.”
Arthur also continued to say, “Director Su is a very famous screenwriter, and actually, just being able to meet his standards is very difficult. He already created and divided the world into the tiniest details; I only offered the images to help him tell his story. He said that he liked my movements, so I would add more movement in the movie. The camera movements are so important in this film, because in a lot of scenes, the characters don’t move a lot, and movement is found through camera movements. How do we move in the studio? We decide the movements in studio through the mood and beat, following the actors’ emotions.”
Director Su had the utmost trust towards Arthur and his professionalism and extensive experience, he said, “Arthur really helped a lot toward this movie, especially in regards to the many special effects shots in the film. Taiwanese films don’t have much experience in these kinds of things, especially when we are shooting image over image, opposite positions and scenes with lots of filter work. He was very knowledgeable in these areas, and we were able to avoid lots of troubles. He is also very quick in what he does, a lot of times when we had problems with change of weather or lighting, he would be able to quickly adapt to those changes. I’m very impressed by him!”
Working together with Arthur Wong is set director Yohei Taneda, whom worked together before in the movie Sleepless Town.
Arthur Wong says, “Among all the Asian friends that I’ve worked with, Mr. Taneda is the most talented artist. His ability in art directing, certainly qualifies him to be a production designer, because all his designs are realistic and unique, as well as detailed. Everything he designs goes through a long thought process before he actually begins his designs. His designs fit well with every actors’ personalities, and the uses of color are also very unique. All the scenes in the movie, he cooperated with us using lots of blue and green. Since all the colors in a film come from a combination of red, blue and green, we used a lot of blue and green and not much red. I felt like I wouldn’t use a lot of red lighting, since the director didn’t like it, so from an artistic stand point, we used a lot of little red items. For example, on a street scene, I will especially use a traffic light, and have the red light blinking. This way, even if a red item is placed far away it can be seen. Mr. Taneda is very accustomed in working in these types of designs.”
Mr. Taneda looks up to Arthur Wong, whom he views almost as an older brother, “There are three cinematographers that I’ve worked with whom I respect. One is Japanese Noboru Shinoda, who was the cinematographer who did Swallowtail Butterfly and Love Letter. Another one is Bob Richardson, whom I worked with in Kill Bill, he really had a good understanding of what I wanted to accomplish, and even though we had a language barrier, he was still able to shoot the things that I imagined. Finally, I worked with Arthur in Sleepless City and now in this movie, Silk.”
SPECIAL EFFECTS MAKEUP
Makeup Effects Group (“MEG”), an Australian company that has done numerous works for Hollywood movies were the people that were in charge of Special Effects Makeup. The team was headed by Nick and Paul. This is a group that shouldn’t be strangers to the Taiwanese audience as their makeup and models work in Double Vision was so realistic and detailed that it created quite a stir with the Taiwanese audience. Especially the model of the baby in that movie became one of the hot topics at the time.
“We turned to Australian company MEG for the special effects makeup, whom we got to know in the movie Double Vision. At the time, we felt that they did a terrific job, and yet they only improved their work in the last few years working for Hollywood projects, especially in regards to dead bodies and makeup that reflects dead people. So after watching a lot of other things they did, we decided to work with them again. After watching the film and the special effects they provided, we felt we made the right decision and felt they were worth every penny. The two corpses they provided us was exceptionally realistic, everyone who saw them thought they were real corpses. It certainly added a lot to our movie!” Director Su said.
This special effects makeup team spent a long time in Taiwan during the shoot, at first spending 10 weeks of endless hours each day creating the two corpses. During this time, the workshop seemingly became a tourist attraction for the crew. They would sneak in to watch the development of these two corpses created out of scratch out of so many different materials. Everyone who watched the development walked away in awe and wonder.
So were they able to create something seemingly so natural? Paul and Nick explain, “During the process, we had to examine a lot of pictures, and had the actors simulate themselves as they would in the movie. For example, the cameraman in the movie had to simulate him death in the movie on the autopsy table. Then we created the model according to his body’s position. At the same time, we had to take a lot of pictures as samples, and did some work to give the corpse its best look under the camera. There are so many variables in emotions with just the face. The position of the boy’s corpse is lying down, with his eyes closed, and for that model we created a lot of models with various facial expressions. When we found the one we liked, we sculpted out his eyes and created the expression that would bring shock value to the audiences watching. After that, we would then go and work on the smaller details like the wrinkles in the skin before we finally create a cast for the final product that everyone sees in the movie!”
Paul says, “We actually had to deal with a lot of levels of different techniques, and wanted to also touch the audience, which is one of the goals of movie making. When an audience first sees our work, we feel that we’ve accomplished something if our work comes out very realistic. When we sampled some pictures of autopsies, we tried to find ways to make it look even more realistic. We’d say to ourselves, ‘Ok, we’re going to create a realistic corpse.’ ‘What color, what materials would work best?’ These are all things that are very technical, and when you step back to see the finished product, you want to think ‘This is a corpse created according to real corpses.’ After we leave our workshop and see the corpse with the audience for the first time, we’ll think, ‘It looks so great, on the silver screen it will shock the audience.’ At this time you feel a bit emotional, but when we are working, we have to make sure that this is right or that is right, and how we should make this part….etc. All this is very technical, you wouldn’t think that you are creating a realistic corpse; the final impact is built from many technical levels.”
All of the death makeup also took them nearly six to seven weeks to complete. Even the actors said that their own makeup scared them, and yet because they were so intricate and detailed, they were reluctant to take it off. That’s how good the makeup was!
“Our first idea was to create makeup reflecting dead people, that feeling that life was sucked away. So, we made the skin look pale, basically giving the audience the feeling that life was extracted out, sucked out, leaving just and empty shell of a body. Veins and the eyeballs all had to look scary, because these dead people no matter from the outside or the inside all had to look like there was no sign of life. The director told us he hoped that when the ghost came close to killing people, the victims had to have a dry, pale feeling. He wanted an unnatural effect, almost to the extreme, in that you can see the blood and the blood vessels on the outside. So we strived to create something that was natural and not overly excessive, while still remaining unusual and frightening. This all helped to reflect that this is a different kind of horror movie.” Nick and Paul explained their motivation for their hard work toward their special effects makeup for this project.
Nick and Paul state, “The reason why we loved this film was, as we said before, the deepness of the emotional levels. Sometimes you look at a big Hollywood horror production and you find that they have huge amounts of special effects, huge amounts of money invested, and yet they don’t have the support of a strong story. This is the difference that we got out of Silk and Double Vision;the characters in the screenplay of Silk, all have deep emotions, and so that’s one of the main reasons why we liked this movie.”
Awards & Nomination:
2004 Best Movie Screenplay SILK (Taiwan)
2003 Best Movie Screenplay TUNNEL (Taiwan)
2000 Nominated by Golden Horse Award (Taiwan) for Best Screenplay THE CABBIE