Following up from his acclaimed 2013 martial arts flick Unbeatable, the award-winning Hong Kong director has turned his attention to the world of professional cycling.
First announced with a regrettable working title (English: Breaking Wind ) that has mercifully since been revised, To The Fore (??) will star Carlos Chan, Eddie Peng (who starred in Unbeatable) and Ethan Ruan big names in their region, but likely not familiar to western audiences. Although each of the actors speak a minimum of three languages, the film s dialogue will be in Mandarin (with English subtitles), which is the only shared language of the trio. Emperor Motion Pictures is the producer.
Reportedly inspired by Hong Kong cycling superstars Lee Wai Sze (Sarah Lee) and Wong Kam-po, Lam reached out to both to help inject authenticity into the sports action-romance (yes, there is such a genre) epic. Olympic bronze medallist Lee has been whipping the lead cast none of whom have a cycling background into shape on the track, while Wong alongside another famous name in Chinese cycling, super-coach Shen Jinkang occupies an advisory role. Production began in June 2014, with shooting held on location in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Italy. In the Lombardy region to shoot alpine scenes late last year, the lead actors met up with Rui Costa and his Lampre-Merida team:
Eddie Peng receives a momento from Rui Costa [Image: Merida China]
The meeting with Lampre-Merida was by no means a chance or arbitrary affair. Merida stepped in as a key sponsor of the film, supplying more than 300 bikes throughout the duration of the shoot. As part of the tie-up, the Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer will also release five commemorative models, comprising three road bikes and two mountain bikes. Champion System, another Lampre-Merida sponsor, supplied kits to the film s actors.
Eddie Peng astride his Merida Reacto 5000 bicycle in Shanghai. The bike will be available in May 2015 as a commemorative edition. [Image: Oriental Daily]
Throughout the history of motion pictures, cycling-themed documentaries and movies have hailed mostly from Europe or the US recent examples being The Armstrong Lie (2013) and The Flying Scotsman (2006). To The Fore follows Ami Chogbo (2013) as the latest film in this segment to come from Asia. However, the most recent To The Fore teaser (below) suggests that, apart from cycling, there will be little similarity in budget or production values with Ami Chogbo; while the latter was for the most part a cringe-worthy, low-budget, affair, Lam s upcoming movie promises to be more inline with a typical box-office blockbuster.