Sammo Hung was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the 16th Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong this past Sunday.
During Hung’s nearly 60-year career, he has produced and directed numerous films, starred alongside legends like Bruce Lee and helped choreograph fight sequences for Jackie Chan. Hung has appeared in 75 films and worked on over 230.
Raised in Hong Kong by his grandmother, martial arts master Chin Tsi-ang, and his grandfather, film director Hung Chung-ho, Hung was destined to join the film industry.
At the age of 9, he joined the famed Chinese Drama Academy, where he later met and established a friendly rivalry with the younger Chan.
Hung worked his way up from stuntman to action director under the Shaw Brothers, and later became a key figure in the martial arts genre during the 1980s Hong Kong New Wave film movement, creating the jiangshi genre — involving reanimated corpses — and directing and starring in a number of prominent films.
In 1981, “The Prodigal Son,” a film Hung both directed and starred in, won Best Action Choreography at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
The following year, Hung received the Best Actor award for his film “Carry On Pickpocket,” which he also directed and starred in.
Hung has also played an important role in helping to establish the careers of many other prominent actors — most notably Michelle Yeoh, who recently became the first Asian woman to receive a Best Actress award at the Oscars.
“Cinema’s existence is so wonderful. The biggest reward I’ve gotten in my 50-year career is to see my hard work affirmed by others,” Hung said after receiving his Lifetime Achievement award on Sunday, according to Variety.
When asked about what the award means to him, Hung told the Hollywood Reporter:
You know when I started out in film I never thought of a “lifetime achievement award.” I didn’t think of any awards. Every day in my work I just thought about doing the best I could do, and about how I could do really good things. That’s what I have done every day since I started.
At 71 years old, Hung says that he is still willing and open to any acting opportunities.
“I would even film sex scenes if they’ve got enough courage to ask,” he said, according to HK01.
At the end of the day, Hung just wants to continue entertaining audiences, adding, “I like hearing laughter and applause from the audience, I really enjoy it. I don’t know how to act or film tragedies, because I find it very boring when everyone starts crying.”
Hung concluded with hope that audiences would slowly return to theaters and some advice for aspiring filmmakers: “The first thing is you have to be hard-working. The second thing is don’t give up easily. And the third thing is if you see anything – any idea, any inspiration – please grab it.”