"The pets in this story resemble humans in many ways, specifically our craving for love and care"

An interview with John Y | MILLION LOVES IN ME | VMA21 BEST DRAMA | March Edition | By Silvia Nittoli


An old rich lady and her daughter Katy live in a fancy building in Hong Kong and they spend their days shopping for jewelry and puppies and eating in expensive restaurants. From the outside, the duo looks just like an odd and quirky family, but just a few minutes into the movie, it becomes clear that their not-so-ordinary relationship is deeply toxic.


The main characters are Katy's mother (played by Hong Kong actress Lo Koon-Lan) who suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and her daughter Katy (played by producer/writer John Y in his first movie role) who lives with her domineering mother since childhood and therefore she is completely unable to live an independent life as a normal and grown-up person.

Katy will be eventually charged with animal cruelty after the police discover more than a hundred dogs and cats being hoarded in her apartment and their controversial private lives will be exposed to the public.


Million Loves in Me is inspired by a true story and a headline case in Hong Kong.

The movie, which is a Malaysian production in Cantonese and Mandarin, is directed by Sampson Yuen.

• John, congratulations on your award at the Vegas Movie Awards™! The movie is inspired by a true case that happened in Hong Kong. What made this fact so popular and interesting in your opinion?

I think it was an unprecedented case of suing someone for keeping over 100 pets in a small apartment that was specifically purchased for housing them. For other legal cases of keeping an excessive number of pets in confined spaces, they are more related to abandoned animals. In this case, the animals were mainly bought as pets. I think the pets in this story resemble us as humans in many ways, specifically our craving for love and care.

You were involved in the true fact when you were practicing as a lawyer in Hong Kong. What struck you the most about this story?

There were a number of matters that struck me in this story but the one that struck me the most was how the media and public portrayed this case and made it very political. It made me empathize more with the lady in the case more than anything else.


I think all major actors including supporting actors are victims. You will understand that if you watch the film. It is a dramedy on the front but an actual tragedy when you look at it closely.

You play the main character of this story. Both as a writer and actor, how did you prepare to get to know Katy in order to write and play her?

At the time of representing the real-life Katy, I have not thought of writing the story and play her role at all and I was just doing my best to protect her interests as my client.

As a writer of the movie, how close to the true fact did you want to be?

I was in a very special position when I wrote the script. On the one hand, I was the lawyer representing Katy and I have the duty of confidentiality which means I cannot disclose that privileged information to the public. On the other hand, I have to maintain a certain original flavor as it is after all a true story. In that regard, I have to strike a balance by writing the information already disclosed in the public domain while adding in some symbolic and metaphoric expressions to convey the messages that we as screenplay writers want to convey.



• Katy and her mom are two very peculiar characters. Katy's clothes convey a lot about her teenagery personality while her mom's colorful outfits don't really match with her disturbed personality. What were your choices as a writer about their appearance?

I think their appearances go mainly to the character of the mom. As she is a well-off lady with a flamboyant lifestyle, she likes to be in quirky and colorful outfits. She doesn’t care how people see her or comment on her outfits which don’t match her age or personality. The outfits give us an idea of how Katy was raised and shaped by her mother.


• There are some dialogues in the movie in which protagonists confront each other about money and interest in being loyal and helpful with others.

What is the universal message that you wanted to convey with this story?

While a lot of people think money is everything, there is always the dark side behind glamour which people may not realize. When people have a "hole" in them, they need love, care, and respect. Actually, everyone is just being trapped in a cage that each of us creates for ourselves.


We watched the US version of the movie. What are the differences with the original and what in particular did you have to change for the US audience?

For the US version, we have got an editor from the States to do the cut. He, in particular, changed most of the music scores in the film and he edited off some of the parts in order to make the whole film more compact and more thrilling for the audience to follow.


This movie is built on so many levels that unravel love, obsession, cheating, pain. Who is the real victim in this scenario in your opinion?


I think all major actors including supporting actors are victims. You will understand that if you watch the film. It is a dramedy on the front but an actual tragedy when you look at it closely.


While a lot of people think money is everything, there is always the dark side behind glamour which people may not realize. When people have a "hole" in them, they need love, care, and respect.

What did you enjoy the most doing this movie, being a writer or an actor?


I enjoy my different roles in this film but the acting part is definitely the most memorable. To me, it’s the most valuable gift to be an actor and can touch people with this story from around the world.


What are your future projects, John?

I have a few projects on hand and I am in the process of polishing the two scripts, one in Chinese and the other one in English. I love scriptwriting, producing, and acting and will be involved in all these parts in the upcoming projects.





OFFICIAL TRAILER:


LINKS:

IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6951518

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/millionlovesinme


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