Saturday, May 15, 2004

[Sing Pao Special Report]

Nick Cheung seeks different performance perspectives

You can never just look at things from the surface. A year ago when Nick Cheung cut down his productions on the movie scene, it was widely thought that his little comedic characters were no longer popular with the audience. Later when he returned to TVB to film series, it seemed to be confirmed that he was no longer of use in the movie industry, but in fact, he was merely biding his time and waiting for an opportunity. He did not want to keep doing the same type of character and was willing to make the cruel detachment. In his love life, he has lived with Esther Kwan for many years and after their marriage at the end of last year, it is thought that they are just gaining the titles with no other changes, but he can say to everyone with great definition that his feelings towards his wife are different after their wedding because they love each other even more now!

After a long rest, when it was announced that Nick would be taking a role in Johnnie To's movie "Breaking News" (Dai Si Geen) he admitted that he had been waiting a long time for this opportunity. Working with To for the first time, on the surface it seems that this is due to his new management company being the main investor in the new film, but Nick has had other chances to work with To in the past, but he had to turn them down due to clashes in his schedule. As well as being serious in his work, To has also given Nick a greater insight into him after this co-operation. "His requirements are very detailed, I never would have thought him to be so clear about the attitudes of the actors and this was a great partnership experience. At first, we had to slowly adapt as this was the first time working together, but when we finished, it was very satisfying to achieve what we had strived for and to gain the recognition for this makes me very happy."

The recognition that Nick refers to is for the movie to have been selected to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival. However, despite the honour, he is not the first male lead, but Nick has a different insight into this: "From my perspective, any part in the show is a main role. You cannot let a ranking affect your performance in the show. I feel that to make a good production, you should not think about these pointless things and whether or not I am the male lead, i will still do my best. If you give me a show to do on my own, it would be meaningless if it was no good. I only seeks a good show and to do my best in the show."

Nick has his own principles in accepting film scripts and in television series, he also has a choice. From returning to TVB to film "Ups and Downs in the Sea of Love" to this year's "Wandering Hero Medics" he has always calculated the freshness of his characters. "My demands for film and television are no different, if not, then I cannot satisfy myself because I am always looking to play many different characters."

With the suggestion that he has fallen from the peak to the lowest point when he returne to TVB, Nick responds rather strongly, proving he is very agitated by this remark. "If you made me film twenty movies if the same genre in a year, then no matter how high you are, you will be unhappy. I know what I am doing and to turn down so many offers, it is because I want to make the films that I want to. Even if 'Breaking News' takes me to a new movie high, I will still make TV series, provided the script and the character are right."

Being mistaken by the outside in the pursuit of his ambitions, Nick took on the 'ostrich' tactic [Em: burying his head in the sand and hiding away] but this period of time was hard to bear. He knows that his interaction with other people was not the best as he does not like socialising, so he had prepared for the worst that no-one would offer him any more work. With any less determination or confidence to place his career on the line like this, he would have been sent back to square one. "In the past, I didn't have the choice and made one show after another without stopping and I didn't know what I wanted to do. Doing the same type of film time after time made me very tired and when one gets tired, then one needs to rest. At the time I felt that I couldn't carry on and I knew I had to start to choose what direction I wanted to go in. I had no support and no guarantees that I could do anything, so I feel that I was very brave."

Nick started out in the movies, but jumping between the big screen and the little screen over the years, for him it is all still acting and so it has had little change on his life and work. The only change that has affected him is that taken place since he got married. Of course, marriage is an important event in life, but it should be that their lives should carry on in the same way as before their wedding. So what has changed for them?

"The feeling is different, in the past as boyfriend and girlfriend, there was still a lot of space to move, but now I have a wife and I am a husband and in comparison, I love my wife a lot more." As he says this, Nick bursts out laughing because he is happy that such as chauvinist as himself can speak about the love for his wife so openly. He laughs a little awkwardly, but with the feeling of fortune. "It's true, in the past I didn't love her as much. I don't know why, after we got married, I really love her more and this feeling is very real."


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