Hong Kong Actor Nick Cheung to Make Directorial Debut With 'Yu Lan Magic'

Cheung hopes the film, a supernatural thriller co-starring Annie Liu and set in Malaysia, will help revive the once great ghost story genre of Hong Kong cinema.

HONG KONG – Award-winning Hong Kong actor Nick Cheung will make his directorial debut with ghost story Yu Lan Magic, set to begin filming in Malaysia in June.

Backed by Kuala Lumpur-based Asia Tropical Films and produced by The Wedding Diary helmer Adrian Teh, the film will star Cheung alongside Taiwanese actress Annie Liu (Floating City) and Hong Kong Film Award and Golden Horse Award-winning acting veteran Carrie Ng (Remains of a Woman, The Kid), according to Malaysia’s Sin Chew Daily.

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The film revolves around a Cantonese opera troupe’s supernatural encounters during the month of Yu Lan, or the Hungry Ghost Festival, which takes place on the 14th day of the seventh Lunar month of the traditional Chinese calendar. Nighttime live performances of Cantonese opera, believed to be entertainment for local ghosts, are traditionally held. 

The Beast Stalker actor revealed to Sin Chew Daily that his choice of a ghost story stems from the fact that ghost stories used to be a staple of Hong Kong cinema, and he'd like to kick off his directorial career with a localized film that recalls the best of the ghost films of the 1990s.

Yu Lan Magic will mark the return of Cheung to Malaysia, as his recent starrer, the Oxide Pang-directed Conspirators, was partly set and filmed there. The country was also the filming location for several other Hong Kong productions, including the Nicholas Tse vehicle The Viral Factor (2012) and director Patrick Tam’s After This Our Exile (2006), starring Aaron Kwok.