Sunday, April 18, 2004

[Sing Pao, Oriental Daily & The Sun]

Nick Cheung and Sonija Kwok were filming for TVB's new series "Wandering Hero Medics" yesterday in a scene where a car is upturned telling of a driver crashes into a truck knocking over a pedestrian as it is thrown onto the pavement. Playing doctors, Nick and Sonija happen to be on the scene and help with the emergency aid. As there were many extras playing all the emergency service workers, the scene was extremely realistic.

Afterwards, Sonija reveals that maybe because he had worked too hard whilst filming on the outlying islands, Nick missed a day of filming earlier. With Nick being so brave, she says that when she is ill, there is nothing she can do. Once when she was unable to get out of bed, this was due to severe lack of sleep and as long as she feels she is not doing it on purpose then this is okay.

Under TVB's new strict policies, Nick was asked about Sonija's revelation and he explained: "It was because I was working for a long time, TV work is like this. (Did you have a doctor's note?) No, the reason was lack of sleep. Many people (in the industry) do not understand why it is a 06-28 [6am - 4am] schedule every day, why can they not restructure this from day one? Missing work is unavoidable, you can't ask the doctor for a certificate that you did not have enough sleep, that's illegal! (How did you explain it?) I used run down as a reason, it's not that I didn't want to do it, but they will not accept it if I perform tired, it is a vicious circle."

Will you express a voice to change this situation? Nick says: "I don't have the power on my own, if it was to change, then Chow Yun Fat, Tony Leung and Andy Lau would have changed it. The way to improve it would be to revise the filming schedules for the leading actors. We don't want an easy life, but we don't live in hostels and we still need to go home for a shower and to read our scripts. These things take time and cannot be done at the push of a button. As a result the missed day could not be avoided, I couldn't come in looking like a corpse. Actually, if you go without sleep for a long time, you can't remember anything. It is nothing to do with a doctor's note, I needed sleep, I couldn't help it."

This scene required authorisation from the police to close the road, and during the filming, some police officers arrived to check the permits.


[Sing Pao]

Eileen Yeow charges her ammo to be the bad girl...

In 1995, Eileen Yeow left her home in Singapore and ventured alone to further her career in Hong Kong. Nine years later, she has faced many problems on her own and this has not been easy as heaven has given her many challenges to help her mature more quickly. She describes herself as 'a little child who knew nothing' when she first arrived from Singapore, having to learn to speak Cantonese from the very basic words, but her hard work has not been wasted and she laughs: "From kindergarten, I have reached Primary 6, but I still have Secondary school and university to get through!"

Eileen had worked as a model and in a legal firm in Singapore, but she found that office life was too dull and coupled with a boss who demanded her to wear short skirts to work, even offering to pay for her short skirts, Eileen decided it was time to hand in her resignation. When she first arrived in Hong Kong, she worked as a model, but afterwards Anita Yuen asked her to try a screen test giving her the chance to try acting. Her friendship with Anita has been very low profile because she does not want people to mistake her for using her friendship as promotion, but at this point, she would like to say to Anita: "Thank you!"

The first year that Eileen entered the showbiz scene was the hardest as on one hand, she was faced with having to adjust to her surroundings and on the other, she was stil learning to speak Cantonese. TVB arranged for her to host the show "Culture Square", and it took a year before a drama producer plucked up the courage to let her try acting. This person was Chik Kei Yi. Eileen smiles as she says: "As well as thanking him, I admire his bravery in casting me. He filmed 'The Criminal Investigator' and asked me to guest star in two episodes, then I did 'Files of Justice', 'Secret of the Heart'..."

To Eileen, Cantonese was a great obstacle to her career advancement in showbiz and at first, she couldn't even manage the words for 'badminton' or 'swimming'. She remembers clearly that when she first arrived in Hong Kong, a friend whom she didn't know very well turned to her and said: "I haven't seen you speak before, are you a mute?" This comment hurt her a lot, but drove her determination to learn to speak Cantonese. She said to herself: "Let them laugh, I must be brave and improve by listening and speaking it." The truth proves that her thinking was right and no matter whether you are learning Cantonese, Mandarin or English, the first step is to overcome the fear of speaking it and not be afraid of people laughing at you.

"After many years of hard work, the result is okay, but still not good... there are many things that I dream to do, such as making English series in Singapore like Dodo Cheng and Lydia Shum, because I can drop in on my family then. I remember many years ago, Gallen Lo said to me that every day you learn and build up your ammunition and when you have the chance to be noticed, then you can use the ammo you have saved up and not have to fire an empty gun. So I don't mind saving up my bullets for now."

Earlier, Eileen met with problems in the path of love and developed anorexia. Her friends around her were very worried, but after three or four years, the scars have healed and she is finally going on dates with men as she admits there are one or two male friends that she could build a relationship with. She says: "At first I did have a feeling of rejection, but time has let to the wounds being forgotten and if it is right then it is right, if not, then it cannot be forced. Also, we cannot tell what will happen tomorrow, so we should try to make each day a happy one!"

However, Eileen points out that she did not have anorexia in 2000 and although the split left her rather distressed, the real pressure came from filming for "A Step in the Past". She says: "My Cantonese is not very good to begin with and I had to remember some very complicated lines, so the stress coupled with lack of rest made me lose my appetite. When I felt better, I could eat a whole bowl of rice. My friends asked me if I wanted to clarify this, but I felt it would get even murkier, so I decided not to talk about it."

Now she is a spokesperson for a slimming company and has recently signed with a new manager, with her TVB contract up in May, the negotiations are now currently underway in the hands of her manager. She is naturally a person who likes to be led and she has always just taken everything that Heaven has dealt her. However, she has recently found that she can no longer just take what comes and she has been more driven to collect feedback. With the help of her manager, she can focus on her series as she still holds great hopes out for showbiz and would like to play a bad or evil character as well as take on some more representative roles.


[Oriental Daily]

Sammul Chan appeared at a promotional event for a Road Safety campaign yesterday and was appointed with the role of being "Star of Safety" for the South District. He laughs that he has never had any penalty points for his driving and he is the 'safe' type so he is very pleased at his appointment and hopes that people will follow the rules of the road to avoid accidents occurring. During the carnival, Sammul was arranged to hand out presents to some pensioners, but he was chased by young fans who wanted a photo with him. When they asked him for a gift, he refused and explained that they were for the old folks.

Sammul will be taking on this role for a year and earlier he shot some promotional ads in a uniform. Commenting on these posters, he says: "I look pretty smart, the uniform was made to measure and every time I appear at these events, I will be wearing it."

In response to reports that this year's Miss Hong Kong contestants were spotted chain smoking at the bus station, as a recruitment ambassador, Sammul says that they have the right to do this, but for their health's sake, it is better not to smoke. Sammul will soon be making a skincare ad and he says: "Although it is a skincare advertisement, the sponsors say that I will look better if my hair is a little longer, so they want to extend my hair for this shoot."


[Oriental Daily]

TVB's youth drama "Hearts of Fencing" gained some good results when it aired last year, so this year, TVB will be filming a sequel and yesterday, a recruitment campaign was launched in a shopping centre to try and find new stars to fill the two male and four female leading roles in the new show. The auditions attracted over 200 youths aged between 17 and 24 and producer Chin Kwok Wai revealed that as the show will be based on beach volleyball, then they are looking for the sporty type.

The quality of those taking part yesterday was very mediocre and after the auditions, Chin said: "One girl overacted terribly as she pretended to strangle herself, falling to the ground and then taking her clothes off. It turned out she was pretending her clothes were being tugged away by those trying to rescue her. Even though this is not suitable for 'HOF2', we will take note of her details and pass them to the Friday Variety show!"


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