China Diary

Day 125: Lazy days

‘T was the fabled day off, and like so often, I spent most of it lazying around in a bed and practically doing nothing much but recovering from last night’s farewell dinner. The sun was shining outside and it was a beautiful day, but I couldn’t find enough strength to gather my bones to go out. I was also scanning through Qingdao services to find a decent massage parlor, but couldn’t get to that, either. In the end, I just ended up watching a movie (Internal Affairs, with Andy Garcia on it), until David called me and told that Mr. Duan and his wife had invited me and some people of the cast for a dinner.

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Rhydian and his agent, Max and Mr. Duan’s wife listening to Mr. Duan giving a thank-you speech over a plentiful dinner table.

It was already pretty late when we arrived there; in addition to mr. Duan, there was Andy, Vivienne, Andy’s assistant Joe, Max, Rhydian and his agent and Lei. We enjoyed some great seafood and heard nice speeches from mr. Duan, where he went through the trouble of thanking personally everyone for their efforts and appraising the collaboration we had. It was really nice to hear he enjoys my directing, and although sometimes we go very deep into the character, he loves the process. I’m of course very happy hearing that. He thanked Andy for the lessons he has give to all of us.

Then, it was Andy’s show for the rest of the evening: he told us a selection of amazing stories over the dinner and wine and a fat Cuban cigar he was puffing, stories from sets of different movies, Godfather and many others, described in detail (with Joe’s assistance) on how many iconic films and scenes had been made (I can tell you, it’s amazing in what kind of conditions and situations some of the best things I’ve seen on a big screen have happened). He told us about his encounters with Marlon Brando and his friendship with Al Pacino and many others, imitating them impeccably. We were laughing in tears, but he always had also some very important lessons he shared with us, about acting and filmmaking in general. One simple but good general advice was that the deeper the respect and friendship between two actors is, the better they’ll be able to portray enemies on screen.

Storytime with Andy; Mr. Duan on the left.

In the evening, mr. Duan gave us a bottle of nice wine and bowed for goodnight. I went home and had a great sleep after an hour chat with my lovely wife, feeling rested and awake the next morning.

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