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Prison on Fire

Chow Yun Fat and Tony Leung as prison inmates in Prison on Fire

Director Ringo Lam on Prison on Fire
"Prison on Fire is based on real-life experience. My friend Nam Yin, who wrote the script of the film,told me many stories about prison life: how prisoners have their "unit leaders", how one time a triad leader called a hunger strike,the gang fights,how one survives in prison,all based on Nam Yin's own experiences.
He told me of one incident in detail: he found a note: "Endure, and the sea is calm;retreat and the sky is wide." I liked that expression and began to sketch the characters and the plot.Although the Hong Kong television series Common Sense has discussed prison life, I can say that my film is totally faithful to reality. Nam Yin was present throughout the shooting to make sure that the details were correct and faithfully rendered;Nam Yin had never been a scriptwriter before. He finished a draft for Prison on Fire in seven days.
It was a good script with lots of detail,but the plot line was weak.I gave him some suggestions and after one rewrite,it was almost ready as a shooting script.Writing a script is not difficult-all you need is experience in real life.The only question is how to arrange the material.All we did was tighten up the script.Shooting took only about 20 days."
(Taken from Hong Kong Film Magazine #4)

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