Actor Daniel Wu (吳彥祖) revealed in an interview that he suffered from insomnia, had difficulty eating, neglected his wife, and lost almost 40 pounds during the two months of filming for director Dante Lam’s (林超賢) crime film That Demon Within <魔警>.
Recently screened at the Berlin International Film Festival to favorable reviews, That Demon Within is Daniel and Dante’s first collaboration since Hit Team <重裝警察> in 2001. The two were relatively new to the industry then – Dante directed his first film in 1997, while Daniel debuted a year later – but have since comfortably carved out a name for themselves.
“[Dante’s] preferences and style are completely different from before,” shared Daniel. “Everyone has matured a lot.”
Daniel’s growth as an actor is evident in That Demon Within, in which he plays a schizophrenic policeman. In order to show that his character suffers from insomnia, the makeup team drew heavy circles under Daniel’s eyes, which become darker and more pronounced as the film progresses.
According to Jayne Stars, Daniel revealed that he was so immersed in the role that he suffered from insomnia in real life as well, often sleeping only one to two hours each day. “I also lost 18 kilograms,” he said. “It could be because I wasn’t eating, so I didn’t have energy and couldn’t sleep.
“My entire state was completely different from how I normally am,” added Daniel. “It may have helped with the role, but it was of course very dangerous.”
Luckily for Daniel, his wife Lisa S. was extremely understanding of the situation, despite being pregnant with their daughter, Raven Wu (吳斐然), at the time.
Daniel admitted that when filming That Demon Within, he barely spoke to Lisa. Every day, he would return from work, eat dinner, and then either go to sleep or study the screenplay.
In order to make up for his neglect, Daniel arranged for he and his wife to go on a two-week vacation to South Africa after filming wrapped up.
But despite the difficulties in filming, he also sees the experience as rather exciting, remarking, “I thought it was very gratifying to be able to play this role well.”