Though he is best known for his hit horror films co-directed with his brother, Danny, Oxide Pang’s solo directorial career has been incredibly diverse. In addition to horror, Oxide has dabbled in mystery, teen comedies and romantic tearjerkers with films such as The Detective trilogy, Trick or Cheat and Basic Love.
This year, he tackles a serious social issue with crime thriller The Big Call. Filmed in China and Thailand, The Big Call follows a special police unit tasked with stopping telephone fraud in China.
Pang spoke to Discovery about the film.
What drew you to this topic?
We’re used to seeing typical cops-and-robbers films, but there hasn’t been a movie about anti-fraud units. We discovered that the methods that scammers use these days are far more sophisticated than we’d imagined. These fraud rings can earn 10, 20 million yuan with just a single call. We wanted to make a film that reveals these methods to the audience.
The film details the methods used by both the scammers and the police. What kind of research did you do to ensure accuracy?
The script is based on real cases from the Ministry of Public Security, so it already has an important social function. What we’ve done is reenact those real cases for the audience, and I believe that the film strikes a fine balance between realism and entertainment. For the home base of the fraud ring in Thailand, the art team conducted meticulous research to ensure accuracy. The audience can see a clear contrast between the two countries through that aspect.
Why did you pair Gwei Lun-mei and Joseph Chang again, and choose them to play the villains?
They’ve worked together many times, and I know people like to see them pair up. They share a similar performing style, and I think that they share good screen chemistry together. Joseph and Lun-mei play the ringleaders of the fraud ring who also happen to be lovers, so money is not the only thing that ties them together. That makes them very complicated villains. Lun-mei managed to convey her character’s complex emotions with great ease, and Joseph was perfect in expressing the psychology of a scammer.
You were also a co-editor on this film, something you haven’t done in some time. Why so?
Editing is one of the most important aspects because it’s done to tell a story in an efficient and logical manner. Since I was also involved in writing the script, I already had the visuals in mind during the creative process. Editing the film gives me more control over how I tell the story.
Many of your films are filmed in Thailand, where you started your career. Why do you like to film there?
Part of the team that I usually work with is based in Thailand. The film crews and post-production labs there are excellent, so there’s a technical advantage to shoot and do post-production there.
You’ve worked in many genres – horror, mystery, romance, disaster films, and police thriller. Any other genre you’d like to try?
I’m mainly interested in good scripts. I’ve touched on a lot of genres before, and I’ll continue trying out new genres. For example, I’m currently working on a war film, and that will be followed by a disaster film. They’re both new challenges for me.
Find The Big Call in Movies (Chinese Cinema) on the inflight entertainment system this month.