Thursday, September 30, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao, Oriental Daily & The Sun 01/10/04]

"War and Beauty" reaches a climax this week and the finale will be aired on Saturday. As the show has stirred up quite a frenzy, TVB has arranged a special charity presentation that will be attended by the cast members. After the news of their arguments have broken, Charmaine Sheh and Maggie Cheung will met again for the first time at this event and this will surely become the focus for the evening.

Charmaine appeared at a cosmetics promotional event yesterday and she says that she will be supporting her own show and has bought tickets for a table to hand out to her own friends. She says that she can also do something for charity at the same time. Charmaine indicates that she wanted to buy a few tables worth, but the ticket sales were so strong that they had all been sold beforehand and she was not even able to reserve another table. She laughs that those she has invited are female friends because women are more assertive and they are all leaving their men at home.

When asked about her meeting with Maggie, Charmaine says that she will not feel awkward: "We were only written about in this way, but it is not as exaggerated as that. (Will you not be speaking to each other?) Ai! If we don't speak then you say there is something going on, if we do speak then you say we are pretending to be friendly, so whatever we do, someone will write about it, so we'll just go with the flow."

Charmaine has had two series aired this year, but with the rave reviews of "War" and the great audience reactions, there is more concern about whether the four female leads will become the favourite female lead this year. However, no-one knows the nominations as yet, so speculation is still a little early.

Charmaine returned from Beijing on mid-autumn festival and when asked why she did not stay that day and spend it with 'good friend' Benny Chan, she says rather coldly: "What does it have to do with him? Spending the festival on th plane was quite unusual, because they handed out mooncakes on the plane and when I left Beijing, some local fans gave me a lantern."


"War" will be airing episode 29 tonight and the story tells of Hung Mo urging On Sin not to be used by Yu Yuet, Suen Ching Wah taking his son to bid leave from the Empress and Fuk Nga finding out that Lau Sik Chun has committed suicide after the torture received during the investigation into Tsiu Man Tin. For Yee Shun's safety, Fuk Nga pleads with Pak Yeung to take Yee Shun away from the palace, while she commits suicide. On the other hand, Yuk Ying's maid tells the Empress of Yuk Ying's secret and the Empress tells the Emperor about all the evildoings of the women, but the Emperor is more troubled by the rebels in his land and reprimands the Empress, whilst Yu Yuet and On Sin adopt each other as sisters.


[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 01/10/04]

TVB's youth drama "Prints on Red Sands" (Hearts of Fencing 2) will begin airing on Sunday and a promotion was held in a shopping mall yesterday with cast members such as Vivien Yeo, Charmaine Lee, Yoyo Chan, Charles Szeto, Vin Choi, Jenny Cheung and Monie Tung taking part.

Producer Chin Kwok Wai indicated that the show has twelve episodes and will finish filming completely in two days time. Airing will be until the beginning of next year. Later, there will be a final scene shot at a swimming pool and the female stars will be wearing their swimming costumes. When asked if they will film another episode if the ratings do well, he laughs that they will not because he has used all the production budget when they flew to Australia for the location filming.

This is Vivien's first appearance in a series and she is quite nervous because her Cantonese is not very fluent, so she is worried about the viewers not understanding what she is saying: "My Cantonese has actually improved greatly, but this made the producer feel that there was a continuation problem, because I was so bad at the beginning. Beforehand I continually asked in Cantonese and rehearsed my lined and even spoke to myself, so everyone thought I was pretty mad at first."

As for the last swimming scene, with the producer making the girls appear in their swimsuits, Vivien says awkwardly: "I am so fat and the other girls are so slim, so I really daren't wear a swimsuit. If I have to, then I will have to do some keep fit and sport, but I will not diet because the last time I did that, I fainted during filming and everyone felt it was due to my dieting." After this incident, TVB arranged for Linda Chung's housemate Carlene Aguilar to stay with Vivien to look after her. She laughs: "Carlene is very westernised and cute, she even cooked for me herself."

Shawn Yu will making a guest appearance in the show in a blood donation scene and he says that he has given blood all along and even fainted once whilst donating!


[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 01/10/04]

"War and Beauty" will finish airing on Saturday and the next series to air will be the TVB and Thai joint production "Split Second". The show's cast, including Patrick Tam, Kevin Cheng, Moses Chan, Mandy Cho, Lai Lok Yi and Marco Ngai took part in a war game promotion for the show yesterday where they were split into two games for a paintball match. Eventually Mandy, Kevin and Lok Yi's team lost and had to give up their backs as a target for the winning team to fire at them. Afterwards, Mandy indicated that her legs and thighs were hurting but she dare not turn around for fear of being hit in the face.

This is Mandy's first appearance in a series and although she does not have a very big part, she still hopes for good ratings. Kevin and Lok Yi really looked after her whilst filming and this made her very happy indeed as she felt very fortunate.

As for the show being aired straight after the highly popular "War", Kevin admits that he feels some pressure, but he will just have to see how the ratings go. He says: "After all the two shows are very different, one is very feminine and the other is more masculine. We all had a very happy time filming and we enjoyed the experience, so we feel we have already won." Talking of there being a lot of gossip in the female shows, but there being no gossip in this 'masculine' show, will this mean they lose out on the promotional stakes? Kevin says: "Men fight more openly! They wouldn't be so jealous or devious because that just looks bad!"

Patrick Tam has just finished filming the new Jackie Chan movie "King Tin Juen Kei" (Direct Translation: "Amazing Legend") and he says that Jackie arranged for a fast food trailer on the set for them, just like they do in Hollywood and this opened his eyes because he has never been treated this well. Later, Patrick will be heading back to the mainland to film CCTV production "Yang Nai Wu and Xiao Bai Cai" where he will star opposite Christy Chung in the title roles. It will be at least next year before he returns to film for TVB again.

Talking of the recent incident of 'acting becoming reality' [Ref: Dicky Cheung and Nicholas Tse were accused of beating up some Mainland actors off camera.], Patrick indicates that he will would like to see how Dicky is and as for one of the victims Wang Bai Zhao feeling that their apology was insincere and insisting on taking the incident to court, Patrick says: "As a friend, I would urge Dicky to write another notice because there is no point in ruining one's career in the mainland. There are often injuries during filming and as for whether it was intentional or not, then this is hard to tell because as an actor, you do not wish for NG's (retakes), otherwise you will be be even more injured with the extra blows. (Some people feel that Dicky does not respect Mainland actors?) I have worked with Dicky before in 'Duke of Mount Deer 2000' and from what I know of him, he is not that kind of person. He is very friendly to even the actors playing the smallest roles."

Also, with his role in "Split Second", Patrick says that he does have hopes for each show that is aired and this time, his hopes are even greater because he has quite a large role. Talking of the audience seemingly preferring the more feminine shows, he laughs: "I believe that the company will have calculated it correctly, after all series have to be varied and I hope that the men will not let us down. (Do you feel pressure from what can be gained?) Of course, I hope it will not be far off the ratings for 'War and Beauty'."


[The Sun 01/10/04]

Yoyo Mung and Alex Fong (Chung Sun) took part in the opening of an ice cream parlour in Macau yesterday and Yoyo revealed that she received this job thanks to Alex: "He does not treat me as badly as the rumours suggest!" Talking of the promotion for "Split Second" that was going on at the same time over in Hong Kong, Yoyo says: "We are promoting the show over in Macau!"

As for "Split Second" airing straight after "War and Beauty", Yoyo says: "I am so scared that any good ratings will be put down to the show beforehand... in the past, I rarely watch the series that I make, but this time I will try and make it home to tune in." As for Alex, for whom Macau is his home, he says that if he has time, he will go home to visit his parents as well as take Yoyo for a massage.


[Oriental Daily 01/10/04]


Today is China National Day and it is also the birthday of 'Lady Yuk Ying' Gigi Lai and for her, this year is especially happy, because of the success of "War and Beauty" and this becoming a turning point in her career. As a result, Gigi is very grateful to TVB for giving her such a wonderful birthday present.

Originally, the final episode of the series was due to be aired today and the story tells that 'Yuk Ying' dies in the end. When Gigi found out that the scene where her character died was to be aired on her birthday, she felt that this was rather unlucky and had to comfort herself by saying it was just a character and it was not reality. Luckily the arrival of the Chinese Olympic athletes in Hong Kong meant that the show was not aired on one evening and the ending was therefore pushed to tomorrow, allowing Gigi to breathe a sigh of relief and offering the notion that good luck really does come hand in hand with popularity.

Although Gigi has been busy filming recently for "Healing Hands III", she has been given the day off on her birthday by producer Chik Kei Yi, making her very happy indeed. However, she will not be having a crazy party for her birthday, just taking a rest at home with a quiet celebration. Gigi says: "Although 'War and Beauty' is so successful and I am very happy, I have been busy filming recently and also having to attend so many promotions for 'War', I am very very tired and exhausted both physically and mentally, so I would really like to do absolutely nothing and take a good rest."

Pretty girls have lots of men chasing them and many have invited her out for her birthday, but she has declined them all. She smiles: "I have had a lot of offers, but not one of them have touched me and there is no point in wasting their time. I have said that I want a 'Suen Pak Yeung', so I am waiting for his appearance." Gigi does not let go of any opportunity to promote her show, little wonder she is being valued by TVB.

Also, the tickets for the special banquet and presentation airing the last episode of "War and Beauty" went on sale on Tuesday at 8pm. With tickets on sale at $100 each and a limit of four tickets per person, they were all sold out within an hour and at least $100,000 was raised for charity. However, there have been reports of ticket touts re-selling the tickets in the local shopping malls for as much as $300 and TVB External Affairs Department Assistant Director Tsang Sing Ming indicates his shock at people making a profit from this, but unfortunately it is difficult for TVB to avoid this happening.


[Oriental Daily 01/10/04]

Frankie Lam and Kenix Kwok's home in Sai Kung's Marina Cove has recently been broken into with thieves taking cash and items totalling over $1 million. As the loss was quite serious, the police are putting a lot of emphasis on the crime, with the case being passed to a special task force to investigate with the help of the CID. However, the strange thing is that the case has been identified as a secret case that is not allowed to be revealed to the public, making it a little different from an ordinary burglary.

Frankie and Kenix were married six months ago and moved to their new home, which is a garden villa measuring about 2000 square feet. The garden backs onto a little river that has a private jetty for a yacht. It is believed that the thieves climbed in over the wall from the riverbank before breaking into the house through a window.

Frankie and Kenix were quizzed by press yesterday and confirmed that they had suffered a burglary. Frankie indicated that the thieves broke in at around 9pm when he and his wife were both filming at TVB City and there was just a Filipino maid at home. When the couple returned home at around 1pm, they found that their bedroom had been turned upside down and a locked drawer had been forced open. The maid was asleep in her room and did not realise what had happened.

Frankie added that the stolen items include cash, watches, diamond rings and jewellery that totals around $1 million. Although some of the items were of a sentimental significance, he is glad that the more valuable items were kept in his bank safety deposit box and not taken away by the robber.

Kenix revealed that among the stolen items were their wedding rings, a diamond that Frankie had given her nine years ago, a 4-carat engagement ring and a limited edition Christian Dior watch. These were of a great sentimental value to her and so she is very hurt by this. Kenix also says that she was lucky not to be at home that night otherwise she may have come to harm as well. As for the police marking the case as top secret, Kenix was not aware of this.

Frankie and Kenix have installed a complete anti-theft device at their home now and asked the estate security guards to patrol the area along the river more often. They have also installed a huge in-wall safe to protect their items in the home. Kenix also reveals that they had bought a home contents insurance policy worth $1.2 million so they should know the results of their claim shortly.

Marina Cove, where Frankie and Kenix live is popular among stars, with Ekin Cheng, Gigi Leung, Wong Ha Wai and Liza Wang owning properties in the area.


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