Thursday, 20 September 2018

Strictly Ballroom with a stabbing

When I first lobbed in Hong Kong way back in the early 1990s, someone I knew roped me into doing some ballroom dancing classes in deepest Causeway Bay at Paul Bishop's sprawling dance school. Imagine my surprise a few years later when I was back there as the feature writer for the South China Morning Post's Postmagazine, on the scent of a drama that made Baz Luhrmann's sequinned epic look tame.

LIFE mirrors art. Truth is stranger than fiction. And in Hong Kong, a further general rule applies - any confluence of arty life and weird truth will quickly find its way onto the big screen.

Strictly ballroom: Or is there, in those pants?
It is almost certain that, even as you read, script writers are scribbling, casting directors are casting and celluloid is whirring as a host of low-rent Shamshuipo production houses jostle to be first to bring the twisted Terpsichorean tale of Scott Todd and Chan Ming-ming to a cinema near you.

The plot is equal parts Strictly Ballroom, sordidly bedroom and sadly courtroom; just your average boy-meets-girl, boy-dances-with-girl, boy-dumps-girl, girl-stabs-boy kind of story.

Quirky uber-waif Faye Wong would be perfect for the part of Chan Ming-ming, the tall, slim divorced mother-of-one who was quick-stepped off her feet by the oily charm of her teenage dance instructor. Perhaps Chris Bale could be tempted from television to the silver screen to play Paul Bishop, the balding dance instructor to the rich and famous who plucked Todd from obscurity in Manchester to unleash him on Hong Kong's light-footed ladies-who-lunch.

Scott Todd: Blood on the dancefloor
Lydia 'Fei Fei' Shum seems tailor-made for the role of the mystery matron named in court as Jenny Choi, a dumpy but loaded businesswoman who, dance insiders say, won Todd's affections with a fat wad of cash to bankroll his new dance school.

And for the starring role as the snake-hipped, slick-coiffed Don Juan of the dance floor, why not . . . Scott Todd? With his taste for the high-life, his smooth-talking self-confidence and talent for the tango, he seems a natural for the movie business. Let us blur the boundaries between art and life a bit further and ask him to play himself.