Thursday, February 12, 2004

[Extract from Oriental Daily]

Kelly Chen and Joe Ma will be working together again on a TVB Music Special, but there have been reports earlier that Joe has been playing up to Kelly, but met with a frosty reception. Yesterday at the press conference, Kelly denied this saying: "There was no such thing. (Did you turn him away?) No, I take a lot of notice of him, why else would I be appearing at so many events with him despite working through the night? I have taken four days out to make this special, but he has forced it all into two. When I hear him talk about the schedules he has for filming series, I am scared. It really is hard work, so don't ask me to make TV Series!"


[Ta Kung Pao]

Joe Ma, Jessica Hsuan, Kong Chi Nei and Shek Sau appeared on a radio programme to promote their new series "Lady Fan" yesterday. When Joe was asked if he felt pressure on his first leading male role, he says that this show was a low budget simple production, so he will not worry about the ratings. He has recently been filming for new show "Family of Five" and his wife is working overseas so he will not be able to spend it with her this year. When asked if he will be sending a gift across the seas, he laughs that he and his wife have a good relationship and do not need to give presents just for this occasion.

Talking of the recent cutbacks at TVB and the changes in policies, Joe replied carefully that he feels being an artiste is about doing your own job and not worrying too much about other things. Has he had a pay cut from the company? Joe says that he still has another year's contract with the company, so they have not yet discussed the matter of salary reduction. In response to the cutbacks, Kong Chi Nei says that she has moved to the drama team and although her workload is not as high as being a host, her salary has increased since starting to film dramas.

Jessica has also been filming for "Family of Five" and has been extremely busy. With her being so busy, how will she be spending Valentines Day? Jessica says she has to work on that day to film an advertisement for a skincare product. The reporters ask whether her boyfriend will be unhappy that she cannot be with him, but she laughs that he will not sulk and she has not even bought a present yet because she has no time. Jessica feels that for two people to get on, the most important thing is to be happy.

In the new show, Jessica will be playing Fan Lei Fa and she indicates that this show was filmed like a cartoon so the concept is quite fresh and she feels no pressure from ratings. With her repeat ad for the skincare sponsor, has she upped her fee? Jessica says that with the decoration work on her new home, the money has already been spent on her house. When asked if she has raised security on her house after her unwanted visitors, she says that there is no need as there are six dogs at her home and this makes it quite safe. When joked about having her boyfriend there would be even safer, Jessica refused to comment and just laughed instead.

Shek Sau has been married for many years and they have had an understanding for each other a long time ago, so there is no need to give flowers on Valentines Day. He laughs that this day is for the youngsters. When asked how his son Sam will be spending Valentines Day, Shek says indicated that his son has many female friends, but no girlfriend. As his son has come back from abroad, then often young people kissing and hugging is nothing unusual and this does not mean they are dating. When reporters suggest that someone was earlier referring to him as 'father-in-law', he says he does not mind people referring to him like this because he is an open-minded guy and he feels that rumours are not important, the most important thing is being aware of what you are doing.

[Em: Nice to hear some words of wisdom around for a change.]


[Ta Kung Pao]

Having shown a great interest in Chinese History, Steven Ma was invited by RTHK's Educational Programme Unit to appear in a series profiling Chinese historical figures. This show is aimed at primary school students and covers the lives of four characters from China's history books, including Xiang Yu, Emperor Tang Taizhong, Lin Zexu and Lu Xun. Steven will be playing the part of Lu Xun.

Taking part in Educational TV for the first time, Steven was very excited and said: "Lu Xun is a great patriotic literary hero in recent history and to be able to play him makes me very happy. Also as this is an educational show, there is a great meaning to it all that cannot be weighed up with money." The series will be aired from April.

Reports indicate that the ETV team asked Steven to play the part because they felt that his appearance and manner was very resemblant of Lu and when the photographs of his character were released, it caused some gasps from the educational inspectorate. Steven laughs: "At the new year, I had a flat top haircut and originally it was for convenience, but I never thought that this would cause the inspectors to think that I looked like Lu Xun, even without the make-up."

Steven will be playing Lu in his youth during his time studying in Japan and for realism, the director built a classroom set in a Japanese Shinto temple and borrowed an antique 8mm projector for the setting. The titles will show an older image of Lu and Steven will have to add a moustache. When he tried on the make up, everyone immediately called out how good it looked so this then became the image they used. With his recent interest in Chinese history, Steven admits that he has gained so much from this show, because he has been able to live the patriotism and spirit of Lu Xun and this has inspired him to learn more in his spare time.


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