Production company Edko Films has recently released Anita, a biographical film about the life of late Hong Kong Cantopop singer and actress Anita Mui.
The Cantonese film – directed by Longman Leung (Cold War) and produced by Bill Kong (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) – depicts Anita’s life from childhood, her career in entertainment, to her last moments before her incurable death suffering from cervical cancer in 2003.
Although Leung had members of his crew dedicated to obtaining the rights to Mui’s music from the company that held them, he still found difficulty finding existing masters of her recordings and was only able to locate four originals. Taking inspiration from the recording process of Queen’s biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, Leung’s audio team blended vocal tracks of Mui, Wong, and a session singer in order to recreate Mui’s singing style.
The film features a forceful Cantonese-speaking cast including Fish Liew, Gordon Lam and Louis Koo. Louise Wong, a model turns actor, plays Anita Mui. Complimenting Louise is Terrance Lau who plays her best friend Leslie Cheung. Written especially to commemorate Mui’s legacy, Jack Ng and Leung took a year co-writing the script. Casting, thereafter, took an equally long duration due to the tough process of selecting the actress that will eventually play Anita. Louise Wong was carefully selected to play the role after over 3,000 actors went through open castings.
Production of the film began in 2018, with principal shooting lasting eighty days. Hong Kong landmarks chosen for the film include the Hong Kong Coliseum before its renovation and Hong Kong Stadium. Many areas that no longer exist were recreated through CGI.
Anita had its world premiere as the last film shown at the 2021 Busan International Film Festival. The film was released on 12 November 2021 in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Distributed via Sony Pictures International Productions, the film is gradually making its way to cinemas across Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Anita debuted second at the Chinese box office with $6.3 million in ticket sales.
Anita (2021 film) credit:
Directed by Longman Leung
Written by Longman Leung and Jack Ng
Produced by Bill Kong, Ivy Ho & Tang Wai-But
Starring Louise Wong, Terrance Lau, Fish Liew, Gordon Lam, Louis Koo
Cinematography by Anthony Pun
Music by Chiu Tsang-Hei and Cheung Yan-Kit
Production companies: Edko Films, Irresistable Films (HK), PCCW Media, One Cool Film Production
Distributed by Edko Films, Sony Pictures
Box office: US$8.28 million
Country: Hong Kong