Thursday, May 27, 2004
TVB's grand production "Proud Heroes of Chu and Han" are currently filming on location in Hengdian and among the cast members are some famous faces. With the expectations of some great technical effects and a rescue to TVB's falling ratings, it appears that a lack of resources are causing many problems as cast members are being injured as a result of the usual missing element of money.
TVB have ploughed much of their top artistes into this show, including Adam Cheng, Maggie Cheung and Kwong Wa and have planned for many scenes involving thousands of soldiers and horses to make every factor attractive. In order to make the first stand, the crew all stormed up to Hengdian in Hangzhou for the location shoot, creating quite a commotion.
However, the actual situation seems that all the grandeur is only on the surface and in less than a month since they have been there, several problems have already emerged. Reports suggest that as TVB put a lot of its budget into filming previous grand production ancient dramas such as "Blade Heart" and "War and Beauty", the money left for this show is limited and in order to tie in with the company-wide cutbacks, savings are being made wherever they can. With the lack of the more expensive experienced martial arts choreographers, having chosen to use the cheaper local option who have little knowledge of acting, the results are less than satisfactory and do not seem right when the playbacks are seen.
The cast do not want there to be imperfections in their performances, especially with the excellent scripting and the personal approach from producer Lee Tim Sing has touched many of the cast and crew. As a result they are pushing themselves in riskier situations by doing stunts themselves. From action scenes to riding horses, they want to do it themselves as Adam and Maggie mount up and injure themselves time and time again. Also Melissa Ng has fallen and injured herself, Kwong Wa was working despite illness and some cast members have even broken bones and torn ligaments. However, under these harsh conditions, the cast and crew are very united because they hope that if they can do a good job, the month will soon pass and they can all head back to Hong Kong again!
[Ta Kung Pao, Oriental Daily & The Sun]
The 18 Miss Hong Kong contestants were arranged to meet with the judges yesterday for the "Slimmed Beauty Award" who were Shirley Cheung, Joe Ngai Jan and Mandy Cho. The judges will have another inspection at the end of July to see their progress and choose a winner.
When Joe was asked why he was being a judge, he says that maybe his choice of girl is not bad. After meeting the contestants yesterday, he praises them for their high standard of education, their grace and elegance and their willingness to express themselves with a few who are very talkative and fresh. When asked how he would be choosing the winner, he says that he will see how their slimming programme comes along and take notes.
From Joe's observations, are there any who need special improvement? He says: "Most of them are okay and although some are being mocked for their big bums, I think that their figures are okay. However, the way men see women and the way women see women is different as women have higher expectations. (Maybe the contestants are full of confidence.) They are all very even and I have not seen one who is totally confident like Michelle Reis, but there are a few who are quite comfortable, so I hope they can build on their confidence. (Will you use your girlfriend [Vivian Chow] as a standard?) Why are you suddenly mentioning my girlfriend? (She is pretty!) A lot of stars' beauty emerges gradually." He adds that he usually has a gut feeling about the opposite sex and will not just look in one place.
When Mandy Cho was asked how she found the contestants' figures this year, she smiled: "They are all very fit, but still need to lose a little weight. (Have you noticed Lee Ying's daughter, her figure is rather full?) I have noticed every contestant and I don't want to put pressure on them because I have been in their position and even if they are recognised, it is still pressure." As for her standards of judging beauty, she will first look at the waist because that is what gives the hourglass figure.
As the current reigning Miss Hong Kong, Mandy shared some experiences with the contestants and reminded them not just to think about winning or losing, because this will just add to the pressure. The most important thing is to relax and have some fun and this will make it all easier. Talking of the hard work in rehearsals, Mandy returned with a question: "Really? Last year I was really scared about dance rehearsals, because I don't dance much and it was really hard work, but you get used to it eventually."
The girls were made to wear figure hugging clothes at the event and 5 Cecilia Yeung and 8 Winnie Shum were soon picked out as needing the slimming treatment the most.
Cecilia admitted that she would most like to lose fat from her arms, abdomen and thighs. Although she is only 102 lbs, she has a small frame so has plenty of flesh on her. She says: "My waist is actually only 25 inches, but because I am rather short, it is affecting the overall look. I hope I can lose two inches from my waist. (Do you think you are disadvantaged with a fuller figure?) I haven't slimmed yet, I am confident I will look better after the regime." When it was pointed out that she is leaving time short with them flying out to Kenya tomorrow for the location shoot, she says that she has already lost weight since the first meeting with the press and she is following the diet recommended, cutting out the fatty foods and then using the slimming machines when she returns from Kenya to try and get a much better figure in the least amount of time. Although she is still quite chubby, this does not affect her confidence.
When Winnie was asked which part she would most like to slim, she smiles: "The papers say I have a piggy belly, so I would like to lose that and the fat between my breast and my belly so I look better in a tube top." Although she is 120 lbs, she does not feel she is fat and says: "When you return from overseas, this is what you are like. I don't feel my figure is bad, but I will slim down. I don't hope to lose so much as long as my figure is proportionate. (Have some contestants are laughing at your bum being big?) I havent been laughed at."
2 Irene Yu weighs in at only 98 lbs, but says that her face looks a little chubby on camera and would like to retify this with the slimming regime.
Recently, TVB's sitcom "Virtues of Harmony" has found an Elaine Ng lookalike, but it turns out that she is the latest newcomer to be promoted, Linda Chung. It was later pointed out that she is more like Kristy Yang, especially her squeaky voice, but she doesn't mind being compared to others at all: "As well as being compared to Elaine and Kristy, people also say I look like Michelle Reis! Of course I am happy, because they are all beautiful and intelligent women."
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