And while Wong's quirky films are a clear departure from the largely formulaic Hong Kong film industry, that was his leaping-off point. He cut his teeth in production at the Hong Kong commercial television station TVB and spent much of the '80s churning out comedy and action scripts for Cinema City, one of the colony's most successful film studios.
The writer-as-chameleon pose still suits Wong, who is making a musical and hankering after horror and science fiction.
His first two films were eclectic as well: "As Tears Go By" (1988), spiked with harsh light and neon, drew heavily on Martin Scorsese's "Mean Streets." His 1990 film "Days of Being Wild" was its visually colorless opposite, a meditation on loneliness and regret set in the 1960s nightclub scene.