In explaining his motives behind choosing “At Café 6” as the story to adapt from his vast bibliography, Wu revealed that a simple Yahoo search took him to a review site where his readers almost unanimously clamored for “At Café 6” to be adapted into a movie, inspiring him to repay his longtime fans with the film.
In order to produce a truly authentic look at Taiwan’s “coffee shop culture,” and to weave a romantic narrative around it, Wu drew on him own personal history. When he was a high school senior, Wu spent much of his time in what then was a relatively new phenomenon: internet cafés. He humorously recalled the beginnings of his humorous, romantic coming-of-age novellas as largely comprising “things I wanted to say to my girlfriend.”
In the vein of other artists like Adele and Taylor Swift, driven by the tumultuous emotions of youth, Wu penned “At Café 6,” drawing inspiration from his surroundings, making for a convincing and relatable setting. “Before I knew it,” he said, “I’d written over 80,000 characters. I figured this is already essentially a book. Why not get it published?”
As one of the few authors in the world with the opportunity to direct the movie adaptation of their own work, Wu provides great insight into the intricacies of the adaptation process. “When I was casting actors, I had a very clear idea of what my characters looked like in my book. However, nobody can look exactly like the picture in my head,” he continued.
Forced to make sacrifices in order to skillfully produce the film, Wu found the solution: “I just chose the actors who looked the most natural with themselves. After all, the story is about human experiences. I wanted to choose people that looked human, and not like they were acting.”
Overall very satisfied with the performances of his actors, Wu praised their professionalism and their willingness to accept instruction. “I sometimes correct very small things, things in my mind that I see in my writing, but those are sometimes things that the actors couldn’t possibly know that they are doing wrong.”
Despite overcoming the conflicts between literary and directorial vision with apparent ease, Wu noted that he would hesitate before subjecting another one of his novels to the battering of a film adaptation, citing the rigmarole and red tape of the film industry as highly restrictive.
The cultural relevance and personal voice of “At Café 6” are on full display in the film adaptation, and Wu achieves the adaptation with astounding grace and cinematic know-how.