Staci Layne Wilson, Horror.com: What was it about the role of Ling that made you want to play her?
Kar Yan Lam: She's so unexpected. You can't use words to describe her. She's so complex, yet simple. Most would think too complicated of her. I think her motives are simple; she needs money to support her mother, so she sells kidneys on the black market; she loves Waiman so she meets the woman that she 'can't be' ; she's jealous of the 'perfect' Ching, Waiman's girlfriend, so she scares her to gain some sort of satisfaction, etc... Then the game between two girls begins. I think that is a good enough reason to take on the role. It's complicated, daring, challenging, dark, mysterious, and scary!
SLW: Ling is a very complicated person, with many secrets -- how did you "find" her essence?
KYL: By letting my dark side out of me slowly and surely. (evil smile)
SLW: What was it like to play 'the other woman' and to be so downright mean at times?
KYL: Terrible! I was reminded how much I hated Waiman, his girlfriend and myself each time we get intimate. He never treated me with any respect whatsoever. Complex feelings like these are good motives for me to be downright mean.
SLW: In this movie you portray a character with ailing, comatose mother; her tragic state is in part responsible for Ling's actions. Were you able to relate to that yourself?
KYL: I've had personal experiences taking care of my grandmother(diagnosed with colon cancer) in the hospital. It was a tough time, but I don't regret it. I never left her side.
SLW: Did you learn anything new about human nature by exploring this complex role?
KYL: All this drama is apart of human nature. I learned that nothing is only in black or white. sometimes, we cross the line or challenge morals; but does that make us "bad" or "evil"? I sympathize ling because she's had a tough life...She's lonely and she's just trying to survive in her own ways.
SLW: In this movie, you have to run, wield a butcher knife and get sprayed with blood (hopefully fake blood!) How do approach such physically demanding movie shoots like this?
KYL: In the month of shooting Koma I picked up a bad habit in my sleep. I would always grind my teeth. During dubbing, my jaw would always make these cracking sounds. Lo asked, "What is that sound?" I said, "This is the consequence of shooting Koma." I enjoy it each time...I don't know why I put myself into situations like these.... that's the charm about films. It's a love/hate relationship.
SLW: You and your costar, Sinje Lee, go through so much together in this movie. Had the two of you worked together before, or known each other?
KYL: No, I was never officially introduced to Sinje until the fitting for Koma. It was interesting how much we learned about each other. We have such similar backgrounds and so much in common. She is one of my best friends now. It's always great that her and I are so serious about films and performing. We would meet off set, but on set it's like we have this mutual understanding for each other...On set we would always be on one end of the room from each other. We distanced our real-selves and would get right back into our characters. There's this tension and good-competition spirit. It's a good drive for us two. It's great! I hope to work with her again.
One particular scene that made us closer was the scene at the police station, when I found out my mother had died I went hysterical. It was the last scene for the night. After the good take, the crew members went along packing up and leaving, I forced myself not to cry by biting on my lip and holding it in because I thought it was the only way to do. Sinje came up to me and told me to cry it all out, not to hold it in, it's bad for me. So, I held her real tightly and cried my heart out. It felt good. She understood me as an actress...it's tough...for the viewers they feel like, "she's acting! It's her job! It's her profession!" Sinje knew that each time we go through a character or an emotional scene a bit of us go along with it.
SLW: What was it like to work with your director, Lo Chi-leung?
KYL: During the making of Koma, Lo Chi-leung and I would have this mutual understanding. Probably because this is our second time working together (prior is Inner Senses). he's very cool on the set. I remember I used to be so scared on the set of Inner Senses because he was so cool, quiet, and, even… hard to read. You would never know what's on his mind which can be intimidating at times. From the start, I have much trust in him and trusted myself with him. It's cool to work with directors you respect, trust yourself with, and enjoy being manipulated by. It is okay for me because I know it's for the best of the film, character, and to trigger certain emotions for me. Yes, at times it can be real difficult for me, but it is so real.
I remember there was this one scene shot in a public washroom where I was kept as hostage by my best friend, played by A Keung. During rehearsal A Keung (Raymond) didn't want to hurt me so he pulled my hair very lightly, but it wasn't real enough for Lo and too courteous. So, Lo came around to show Raymond how to do it. He really pulled my hair from behind... I was in shock! During the real take, I was scared, confused, and just about in tears, but it was an okay take. So, Lo will sacrifice his actors/actresses for a good take. And we allow it. Quite interesting, isn't it?
SLW: What is your favorite scary movie of all time?
KYL: To be honest, I never watch scary movies. I haven't even seen the famous Ringu. It's weird...I can deal shooting them, but I can't watch them.
SLW: What are some of your upcoming projects?
KYL: Currently, I am promoting new romance comedy, It Had to be You, releasing in March 2005. My co-star is Ekin Cheng from Hong Kong.
Be sure and read Horror.com's review of Koma.