Wednesday, May 05, 2004

[Sing Pao & Ta Kung Pao]

TVB series "Blossoming Hearts" was filming yesterday in Jordan and the two generation of 'housewife killers' Moses Chan and Michael Tao joined together in a scene. From the local response, Moses semmed to be more popular with the crowds, possibly due to Michael's recent absence. Michael also continuously supported his friend
Lawrence Ng on the matter of his recent negative press.

The show was filming in a local hawker stall and attracted a big group of locals who crowded round to watch. During the shoot, a man carrying a cigarette approached Moses and asked for his autograph before turning to Michael and saying: "You have to sign too!" Afterwards, an 80 year old lady appeared and as well as asking Moses for his autograph, she also praised him for being handsome and caused a few laughs.

Afterwards, the press joked with Moses, branding him 'granny killer' but he immediately laughed: "It was just by chance! (Your popularity seems to exceed that of Michael's?) Just a coincidence. I have actually learned a lot from Michael and his acting is excellent. I don't have to do anything when I am opposite him because you will very naturally fall into character. (Some people don't like other people instructing them though.) I don't mind because I am just looking to improve. Working with Michael is very happy and I have no pressure. (What do you feel that you are inferior to Michael in?) Lots of things, just in presence, I am way behind him."

Michael indicates he is not worried about the comparison between them and says that Moses is taller than him and more stylish than him. He laughs: "I am a really easy going person, but Moses is even more easy going and a good and compliant person, so we are always smiling as we work and are very happy." As for the earlier reports of good friend Lawrence Ng being rude to the press, Michael defends him, saying: "I havent read the reports, so I don't want to say too much, but the man I know is not rude. Maybe he was tired and gave the wrong impression. That's what he is like. (Some magazines suggest he has been to sleazy night clubs.) I don't think so, are your colleagues just giving him special treatment? Well Lawrence is single and not married, so you can't criticise him on this front. It is normal to go clubbing, I would do it if I was single. (But when he was in Beijing he has tried this when he wasn't single.) Maybe he had already split up then..."


[Ta Kung Pao, The Sun & Oriental Daily]

"Dreams of Colours" began airing last week, but the ratings have not been very good, so in order to push the promotion for this show, TVB sent Myolie Wu, rain Li, Sharon Chan and Lai Lok Yi to a local school to spraypaint a picture onto a wall together with the headmaster and teachers as a promotion. Just like the students, when the teachers saw the artistes, they lost control and fought to have their photos taken with them and the artistes became moving props. One teacher was heard to shout to her students: "Go and get your photo now, once you miss the chance then that's it!"

Rain Li says she was a little disappointed at the slow start to the show, but adds that maybe it was due to the public holiday last week and this would affect the ratings. However, she feels that the most important thing is that she has done her best and that her character is influential enough for fans to come to her in the streets and call her by her character's name. Rain is fairly pleased by her performance in the show. Since leaving school, she has not been back into a school for a while, so her visit yesterday brought back a lot of memories. The most memorable was a home economics class where she was learning to make a cake, but there was mess everywhere and eventually they were all given detention. However her school life was very happy.

Myolie Wu says that the reasons for the disappointing start for her show was the holiday and that there were other factors. Soon she will be heading out to Athens to report on the Olympics, but when it was mentioned that there had been reports of an explosion in the Greek capital and suspected terrorist activity, Myolie seemed rather shocked and said: "I didn't know about it, but I believe that the company will make the necessary arrangements. I believe in fate, I am lucky, but I am still a little scared. The company will take out insurance for me, but I have none of my own, so I will just have to be careful and stay away from crowded places."

TVB's external affairs director Tsang Sing Ming indicates that they will be looking into the issue of the explosion. As for whether they weill cancel the trip for the safety of their artistes, he says: "TVB always put safety first and are concerned for the safety of every member of staff. We had already sent some people to check things out in Athens and we have made calls after yesterday's explosion to make sure that everyone there is alright. The final decisions will be made when the team return from Athens on Sunday."

Also in response to the complaints received from viewers about the suicide scene in "Hard Fate", Tsang says that a meeting has been held internally and they have agreed that they must take into consideration the views of the audience and they hope that they can satisfy viewers without affect the drama of the show. TVB received a further four complaints yesterday and the day before taking the total number to 32.


[Ta Kung Pao, Sing Pao & Oriental Daily]

Steven Ma's new book "Steven Ma's Tales of Society - Turn for the better, Turn for the Worse" is in preparation for launch and in order to show support his former school's pledge to seek out artistic potential and personal expression, he has handed over the design for the cover of his new book to his successors at the school in the form of a design competition. Yesterday, Steven was invited back to the school for the awards ceremony and shared his creative inspirations with his young schoolmates.

Steven's competition attracted many students to take part and he received over thirty entries of a very high standard. Steven was very impressed with their creativity and after much deliberation, a winner was selected to be used as the cover for his book. Talking of why he offered the design of the cover to schoolchildren, Steven explains that the topic of his latest book is young people's issues and he feels that through the competition, he can get closer to the youth culture of today. He particularly liked the winning entrants use of many colours, inspiring thought from the readers.

Returning to his old school, Steven felt very warm and happy. He has strong feelings for his school and feels that it was strong in both the teaching staff and the facilities. Although it was affected by the earlier wave of 'violence in the schoolyard', Steven feels that all schools will have an element of young people's problems and laughs that he was once a student and there is no school where students don't fight. He also feels that every child will have a time when they become rebellious, but the school is a place to teach them and turn them to the good and we should not overlook the good work of the teachers. "However, I never hit anyone when I was at school and no-one wanted to hit me, I used to wear gold-rimmed glasses and looked very studious." He says.

Up to today, after leaving school for so many years, Steven still remembers the words of his teacher. Seeing that teacher again so dedicated to teaching, he says: "This school's standards of education really are excellent."


[Ta Kung Pao & Oriental Daily]

The third series of "Club House - Gourmet Express" will begin airing tonight and a press conference was held by the four female hosts Belinda Hamnett, Claire Yiu, Choi Kit Man and Cheung Mei Nei, who cooked up some dishes under the guidance of resident food expert Leung Man To.

Belinda stood out from the crowds at yesterday's event wearing a strappy top that showed off her great figure. In response to her popularity, she laughed: "Well I have to do this for the show! I did have another top over it, but when I arrived, the producer asked me if I could take it off. (Did you and the other hosts arrange to appear in strappy tops?) We just agreed to appear in Spring dress!"

For this show, Belinda has been to the goose farms in Guangzhou and eated worms and genetically modified pork. Talking of the recent reappearance of SARS, was she not afraid of filming at farms? Se says: "At the time, SARS had not yet been reported, but the company was very careful and cancelled a lot of filming after the SARS outbreak. Although there was the incident of chicken flu earlier, we missed it because of the reshuffle of this show." She indicates that the hygiene standards in the mainland are not bad and the goose farm was very clean as they had to be disinfected before they entered and wore protective clothing before being disinfected again when they left. Her most memorable incident on this trip was eating worms because although they looked 'wormy' on the outside, their texture was very much like that of shellfish. As for the GM pork, the meat texture was very firm and smooth and was very nice.

Although Claire also appeared in a sexy top, she still lost out to Belinda and afterwards she was asked if she minded the limelight being stolen. She laughed: "No matter how I dress I cannot compare to her! I really do feel so inferior, like when I do fashion shows and the others can wear a wedding dress and look great, but I have to add pads to make myself look better."

A great food lover herself, Claire has learned a lot of cooking tips from hosting this show and she has been practising her new found skills by cooking for boyfriend Thomas Lam. She laughs: "I have put on weight, but I don't have enough sleep and this makes me skinny, just a shame the weight comes off my chest!" Earlier she was eating puffer fish for the show and felt her mouth becoming a little numb afterwards. When she later heard that people had died from eating puffer fish, she was very shocked and frightened!

Claire is currently filming for "Fight for Every Moment" and will be heading out to Thailand to film on location next month. She says happily: "After three years at TVB, I finally get a non-comedic role and have a chance to display my talent, so I will work even harder. After all there are so many newcomers now that if I don't grasp every opportunity, I will lose it."


[Oriental Daily]


Nick Cheung and Gigi Leung were filming in Central for "Wandering Medic Heroes" in a reshoot of a car crash scene where Gigi's character is knocked over by a car and Nick has to try and resuscitate her, but she eventually dies. As it is an emergency, then of course there will be the obligatory chest compressions and Nick said afterwards that this scene was very difficult because he had to express his emotional acting as well as keep an eye on where he was placing his hands. Despite her squeaky clean image, Gigi did not mind at all and was very professional during the filming.

When asked whether he was afraid of being misunderstood when he was filming this scene, Nick says: "When male and female artistes are filming, then there will inevitably be some bodily contact but as long as there is no motive behind your actions, then you give your co-star that confidence. Of course when you act the scene, you have to be careful as you think about your expression, your position and your lines, it is quite difficult, but I have never been worried about the other person getting the wrong idea."

As for Gigi, she says that she has had first aid training and knows that CPR is a proper method, so she will not embarrassed. She adds: "It's just acting, why would I be embarrassed? I can't just change the position of the CPR just because I feel awkward! Anyway when we act these scenes, you will only press down on the other hand and never on the chest."

Also, when they were filming, although it was late at night, there were still a number of cars passing by and lying in the middle of the road left Gigi a little scared: "Yes, I was scared! If a car accidentally lost control then it would have been disastrous. This is the first time I have ever filmed a scene where I have been run over, so I have taken a lucky packet to put my mind at rest both times."


[Sing Pao Special Report]

Hui Siu Hung - a well known name and a green leaf on the screen, as we often see him appearing in all manner of characters on television and in movies and he is an experienced actor who has accompanied us as we have grown up. When he was young, he took a trip to the TV studio that began a journey into performing that was to last over thirty years.

Hui thinks back to when he was little over twenty years old and TVB was in its infancy. He was curious about the mysteries of television and at the time, the company was recruiting for a large number of artistes as it held auditions for its first actor training class. Hui filled in the application with just the intention of looking around the studios and he paid the $5 application fee as entry fee to go in and look around, but somehow he ended up being chosen for the class and after his training, he began what would be a career that would last over thirty years and still go strong. Hui Siu Hung recalls: "At the time I was working for my dad, I was young and had never been to the TV studios, so I just wanted to look around. Then they selected me to join all the good looking men and women such as Danny Lee Sau Yin and Meg Lam Kin Ming who were in my class." The first training class was joint between TVB and the Shaw Brother's movie empire and Hui remembers that he had to go five nights a week, two nights to Shaw Brothers and three nights to TVB and the classes included Kung Fu, acting and television theory. As for whether they were useful, Hui says this was down to the individual.

Apart from the four years he spent over at Lai Dik [Rediffusion Television, later ATV], Hui has spent the remaining thirty years or so in the service of TVB and his movie career has paralleled that of TV. Hui remembers that in 1978, he took part in a movie directed by Cheung Chit, where he played the school friend of John Chiang. In recent years, nearly half of the movies made in Hong Kong have his appearance and he has had offer after offer of work. However, behind the present glory, he can still remember when the film industry was at a low and there were no offers for work. However this did not dispel his ambition at the time: "I felt that making movies and making television was the same, it was just a job and I was quite lucky because I really love my job. If this was something I didn't enjoy then yes, it would have been hard."

Marrying quite late in life, Hui Siu Hung and his wife have a seven year old daughter and they have just moved from Singapore to Hong Kong to be with him. Hui says that although they have not lived together for so many years, they are often flying between Hong Kong and Singapore, so their love is by no means affected. As for being able to spend more time with his daughter, Hui shows a proud fatherly smile and says: "I have to see her now as I take her to school in Sai Kung every day and it is like going on a day trip every day!"

Hong Kong's movie industry relies heavily on the younger idols market and Hui reckons that this is not down to discrimination, but it is because Hong Kong is a rather odd market. He points out that for a movie to have a leading movie star above 40 years old is uncommon, he says: "Hong Kong movies will probably want an actor in his teens to play a CID, but in China they won't, as they will choose someone more mature and convincing, even someone who used to be a policeman to play the part." He criticises this odd casting as being bad and says it has been around for a long time, but in the competitive world of business, everything is controlled by the market. He says: "If I was the boss, I would make films that will sell, a dollar is a dollar after all." As for the young popular idols, they don't necessarily lack acting skills as Hui points out that many of the young people of today are very talented and are full of worldly experiences. The most important thing is their looks, internal emotions can be developed later.

Having worked at TVB for thirty years, Hui Siu Hung's contract will expire next year and despite to all the cutbacks and policy changes that have been happening at TVB, he is certainly not worried about a pay cut or even no contract renewal. He feels that the company will not change the contract for no reason and he believes that they will continue the spirit of co-operation. In contrast, he frowns upon those who criticise the company's changes because they should think about whether their own work has improved and not just 'do the job'. He does not agree with those artistes who make public disagreements with the company on the basis of rumours: "As an artiste, it is never a case of the more you work the more you earn. If your performance is poor, then never mind a next time, you don't even need to come back tomorrow. Working is all about performance and talent."

In Hui Siu Hung's new movie "The Beautiful Life", he plays a specialist opposite Tim Nau and Edwin Siu. This movie will be pressed into VCD's and sold to raise money for charity. Recetly he has also taken part in Joe Ma Wai Ho's new movie "Magnificent Trio" [Title directly translated] together with Michael Hui, Sean Lau and Miriam Yeung. Hui Siu Hung thinks back to the days when Michael Hui brought him into the movie world as he took part in the classic production "Two Lucky Stars".


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