Bey Logan is a respected expert on Asian cinema, having written a book on Hong Kong action cinema (entitled – surprisingly – ‘Hong Kong Action Cinema’), and having worked in the HK industry itself as a screenwriter, producer and actor. Bey is probably most well known by Asian film fans for the many commentary tracks he’s recorded for the U.K. distributor Hong Kong Legends, and most recently for the the Dragon Dynasty label in the U.S.
We thought it would be a good time to collar Mr Logan and have a quick chat…
Martin Cleary: Hello Bey. According to the Dragon Dynasty website your job title is ‘Vice-president of Asian Acquisitions and Co-production’. Can you tell us what your job entails, are you the decision maker with regards to what films are bought and distributed by the DD label?
Bey Logan: I’m certainly one of the decision makers, but its very much a team effort with myself, Barry Gordon (our head of video) and brand manager Brian White. My job is to identify and track potential acquisition titles, and try to ensure we get the right films and the right price.
MC: When they were at Miramax the Weinstein brothers became one of the targets of anger from Asian film fans because of the repackaging – cutting and dubbing of their Asian film releases. How did you feel when you were approached about becoming involved with the Dragon Dynasty label – was addressing these concerns an important issue for you?
BL:I took this very seriously. I think Miramax got a bad rap, because I know for a fact my boss, Harvey Weinstein, is such a die hard kung fu fan. I think some previous business decisions were taken by other Miramax staff without taking on-board the wishes of our audience. With Dragon Dynasty, our aim is to make the films we are release the definitive versions for the established fans, and accessible to the mainstream audience.
MC: Dragon Dynasty has the rights to some impressive titles that are long overdue a decent release – from a personal point of view I can’t wait for original language versions of Fist of Legend and Tai Chi Master. Are there any personal favourites that you’re particularly looking forward to bringing out through the label?
BL: I agree with your choices! I enjoy working on all our releases, but the one I wish we could get most is Drunken Master 2.
MC: Dragon Dynasty is certainly distributing some strong titles. Does the company invest in new film productions, or is it a case of deciding if you’re interested in a particular film when you see the finished item?
BL: With our new film fund, we now have an increased capacity to invest in films, so we’re looking for more action projects to do. I’ve learned that there are so many great actors and directors out there, but hardly any great scripts. So keep ‘em coming!
MC: Do you know if D.D. have any plans for any High Definition dvd releases yet?
BL: We’re working on it!
MC: Can you tell us a bit about how you prepare to record a commentary track? Two hours must seem like a long time to fill…
BL: It used to! I’ve done so many now, its gotten a lot easier. The key is research. If you know a lot about the film, you don’t run out of things to say. The commentaries that don’t work are usually ones where the commentarian has been lazy, and there’s never an excuse for that.
MC: When you’re looking researching films do you check out views and comments on forums on the internet? Your blog on the Dragon Dynasty website is never short of comments.
BL: Absolutely. I get first hand comments from the film-makers and scour the Internet, my book collections and every other source for further information. You can never know too much!
MC: You’ve shared the commentary booth with several different filmmakers and actors. Can you single out one of these that you personally enjoyed the most?
BL: Gordon Chan is a wonderful co-commentarian, and I hope we can work together again in this capacity. I also enjoyed doing Seven Swords with Tsui Hark and look forward to doing another one with the always entertaining Christy Chung.
MC: What’s the best piece of footage that you’ve come across that would be perfect for a DVD ‘Special Feature’ but that you’ve been unable to get the rights to? I’ve heard you discuss all sorts of directors cuts of films and deleted scenes…
BL: We didn’t use all of the Protector deleted scenes we found, but that was more of a logistics error. There was a lot more of Dragon Heat, but the director deleted the deleted scenes. I’d love to see all the cut sequences from Drunken Master 2!
MC: So, who would your ideal commentary partner be – and over which film?
BL: Jackie Chan for Drunken Master 2!
MC: Previous to your work with Dragon Dynasty you’ve written a book, screenplays, produced and acted in films. Do you ever hope to direct a film?
BL: No immediate plans, but never say never! First, I’d have to find a project or project that really gets my motor running.
MC: How about returning to the writing side of things like another book on Hong Kong cinema?
BL: Definitely! I need to work out that whole 25 hours in a day thing and we’ll be set.
MC: What does the future hold for Bey Logan?
BL: Hopefully, health, happiness (for me and my family), good work, great friends and all the kung fu fighting (cinematic and real!) that I can handle.
KFCCinema.com would like to thank Bey Logan for his time and wish him luck with his future projects