Emotional Tony Leung wins lifetime award at Venice

VENICE (Reuters) – Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai received a Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday, brushing away his tears as he was given a prolonged standing ovation.

“It is like a dream come true,” Leung told Reuters TV.

Leung gained international recognition for his roles in movies made by Wong Kar-wai, such as “In the Mood for Love”, which came out in 2000, and “2046”, which hit the screens four years later.

He also appeared in a trio of movies that won the top Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival — “A City of Sadness” (1989), “Cyclo” (1995) and “Lust, Caution” (2007), directed by Ang Lee, who handed him his award on Saturday.

Talking to reporters ahead of the ceremony, the 61-year-old Leung said acting had helped him become less shy. “I used to suppress all the feelings inside. I didn’t show all my feelings in front of others,” he said.

He also discussed his upcoming work, including the Hong Kong crime thriller, “The Goldfinger”, which opens at the end of the year and will reunite him with Andy Lau, his co-star from the 2002 hit “Infernal Affairs”.

On that occasion, Leung played the hero, while Lau was the baddie. This time their roles are reversed. “I think it’s very challenging to me to play the bad guy,” he told reporters.

In another major challenge, Leung said he was about to make his first European film, “Silent Friend”, directed by Hungary’s Ildik├│ Enyedi.

“I plan to spend like eight months (preparing for it) because I’m playing a neuroscientist. I have no idea about what neuroscience is. So I have to read a lot of books and I have to do a lot of university hopping,” he said.

(Reporting by Hanna Rantala and Crispian Balmer; Editing by Ros Russell)