Monday, October 11, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao, The Sun & Oriental Daily 12/10/04]

TVB's ancient drama "War and Beauty" has had excellent ratings and the airing of the final episode reached a massive 40 points that tops all records since 1998 for a weekend finale screening. To celebrate these good results and to show gratitude to the cast and crew, TVB held a celebratory party in a Tsimshatsui hotel yesterday, attended by cast and crew as well as a number of TVB executives, including Deputy Administrative Chairman Leung Nai Pang, General Manager Chan Chi Wan, Deputy Production Department Chief Lok Yik Ling and Drama Department Deputy Chief Catherine Tsang.

This is the first celebratory party attended by Mr Leung since he assumed his current position, but he is also a fan of the show and he knows each character very well and congratulated each cast member in turn. He said: "I am acting on behalf of the board as I chat to and support everyone. 'War' is the hot topic of conversation at the moemnt and I am very pleased to be here. (Will there be a sequel or prequel to 'War'?) The most important thing is to have more of these events and more good series, not necessarily a sequel. (will you be offering bonuses to reward your staff?) This is an administrative decision, I am only representing the board of directors."

Mr Chan responded to constantly being asked about a follow up to the hit series and said quite firmly yesterday that there would not be a prequel or sequel to the show because they want to leave it on a high. However, there will be a special edition DVD release of the series soon. As for the ratings for the following series "Split Second" achieving an average of 28 points in its first week, Mr Chan says that this is not bad, but there will always be pressure after a good predecessor. As for "Split" being accused of copying storylines from other sources, Mr Chan admits that there has been some research into the other productions, but "Split" is a grand production and even the music is specially composed to give it the feeling of a movie.

Bowie Lam and Moses Chan had previously agreed to dress up as palace maids if the ratings for "War" went to forty points and yesterday they kept to their word as Bowie appeared dressed as Yu Fei and Moses took the guise of the Empress. The female stars also did a character swap as Gigi became the Emperor and Charmaine took on the identity of Suen Pak Yeung. As for Sheren Tang, she became her maid in the show Bo Sim. As the five stars performed a short sketch on the stage, Mr Chan also caught the acting bug as he joined in playing Suen Pak Yeung's father.

When Bowie and Moses appeared, everyone present called out how ugly they were and Mr Chan even referred to Moses as a Filipino, but Moses said confidently: "Of course I am prettier, I am just too attractive! (Someone feels that your look is frightening.) Yes, we are so beautiful that it is frightening. (You are too tall, you don't look like a woman.) Models can be this tall." This is the second time that Moses has appeared as a woman, after his performance as Pan Jinlian in last year's anniversary show left people feeling rather queasy. When asked why he flutters his eyelids and pouts so much, he laughs: "This is my flirting, it makes me look pretty. I also have to breathe in to enhance my breasts!" After saying this, he pulls away his cloak to demonstrate and nearly bursts out of his costume.

Bowie responds to the harsh criticisms of him and Moses, saying helplessly: "It can't be helped, men dressed as women do look horrific. (Who is more horrendous of you both?) He is more scary, because his face is very square, whereas mine is a little rounder, but we both do look ugly." Bowie's make up took nearly two hours to put on and he complained that he nearly couldn't handle it.

Bowie will be releasing an album this weekend that includes the theme songs for "War and Beauty", "Vigilante Force" and "Invisible Journey". He has also invited Gigi Lai, Kenix Kwok, Bobby Au Yeung, Yoyo Mung and Maggie Siu to duet with him. As he has not released an album for two years, he hopes that the sales will be satisfactory. Talking of whether he is rushing to make the Jade Solid Gold awards for this year and whether he is in a better position as a TVB artiste, he says that he is not releasing his album in the capacity of an actor or a newcomer.

Charmaine did not mind having the limelight stolen by Moses and Bowie, saying that she feels they could have been even more outstanding and worn camisoles instead. As for the rumours that Maggie Cheung has no confidence of winning an award this year because Charmaine has three nominations and a bigger chance, Charmaine says: "This has nothing to do with it. (But Maggie probably will not be at the anniversary celebration.) It is all a fair contest. (Are you confident?) I don't know, because there are a lot of strong competitors this year and I feel that Gigi and Sheren did a great job too."

When Sheren was asked why she did not turn her role around and dress as a man, she laughs: "I was just following orders. The producer says that I am nasty enough in the show, so I should serve others this time. (Someone says that they look like ladyboys.) They have tried their best to look beautiful. (Bowie is playing your role in the show, have you showed him how to do it?) I taught him to responde to people with his nose and not to look at anyone. Also to slightly curve the little finger." As for the decision not to film a follow up to the show, Sheren agrees that they should leave it on a high because a sequel would inevitably be compared and this would be unfair. Also trends have to be fresh and not dwell too much on the past. They could always bring back the original cast and spirit of "War" to make another drama topic.

Gigi played the Emperor, but she lost her braid on the stage and although she immediately hid backstage to fix it, it was to no avail. As for the men stealing the show, she says she does not mind as long as everyone had fun and actually the results were very good. In the past, Gigi cross-dressed whilst filming for "Heaven Sword Dragon Sabre" and she says that she has thick eyebrows and large eyes, so she can definitely pose as a man. But she will have to wrap her chest, she laughs: "I don't mind, I have lost a lot of weight through exhaustion lately, so there isn't much to see." Also Rebecca Chan was asked for her comments on Moses's appearance and she smiles: "I was a little shocked, but he still looks good, better than me even!"


[Oriental Daily & The Sun 12/10/04]

TVB has started filming a series of clips for next year's sales presentation recently and those being filmed yesterday included "Jong Chi Ling Wan" (Determination in the Clouds), "Ngo Yiu Go Fei" (I Want to Fly High) and "Jau Dim Fung Wan" (Hotel Wars). Among these, "Determination" is the most eyecatching as it is building on the success of Francis Ng, Flora Chan and Ron Ng in "Triumph in the Skies" and the stars taking part in the filming include Ekin Cheng, Bosco Wong, Kenneth Ma, Lai Lok Yi and Vivien Yeo.

Playing his part yesterday, Bosco said happily: "I don't know if I will be part of it when they come to film, because the sales presentation for 'Triumph' last year had Miriam and Twins in it, but I do hope I can be part of it because the story talks about flying services crew and they will come into contact with helicopters, which will be very different from the light aircraft we flew last time. The story tells of Ekin who plays a team leader, taking us on a tour of Chek Lap Kok and motivating the newcomers to join in the team. (Do you have a wish to join in this team?) Although flying services is very stylish and heroic, it is too far from my reach. When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming a firefighter so I could service the community."

Also, Shirley Yeung, Bernice Liu and Patrick Tang were filming the clip for "I Want to Fly High" that tells of three young people who pursue their interests in mime, dance and singing. For her performance, Shirley had to take a class in mime and she reveals that when they were filming a mime act in Central, there was a large group of foreign tourists there photographing her. Bernice is taking the opportunity to practice her dancing in preparation for the anniversary performance.

The third team filming for "Hotel" included Ron Ng and Linda Chung, where Linda revealed that she will be giving up two firsts, including her first screen kiss to Ron and her first suicide scene, so she is rather nervous about this.


[Ta Kung Pao 12/10/04]

Hacken Lee has invited this year's Miss Hong Kong winner Kate Tsui to take part in his new music video for "Flying Person" and Kate presented Hacken with her first screen kiss in the video. As Kate is this year's Miss Hong Kong, then they had to look after her image and integrity, so before filming, the director had consulted Miss Hong Kong Co-ordinator Rosa Chan to make sure she approved. However, Hacken has always had a healthy image and of course there is no problem and so Kate was allowed to give him her first screen kiss.

During the shoot, Kate was only required to give Hacken a very small peck on the cheek and it was nothing very serious at all. Hacken laughs that he understand that Miss Hong Kong have to keep their gracious image intact, so a small kiss on the cheek is enough to get the message across. The reporters laughed at him, asking if he felt a special affection being kissed by a Miss Hong Kong [Ref: Hacken's girlfriend and former Miss Hong Kong Emily Lo] and he responded by pointing and calling the reporter 'crazy' for looking at things from this angle.

In the video, Kate plays a ballet dancer who injures her leg and has to sit in a wheelchair and in one scene, Hacken has to join her in a wheelchair to show his affection for her. For Hacken, the most difficult thing was for them both to control the direction of the chair because it was very confusing and they were left rather puzzled. Hacken laughs: "With just one pair of hands, we had to hold hands and this meant we could not control the chair. Finally we had to ask the crew to help us turn the wheels and we finally managed to complete the scene." He praises Kate for giving a very professional standard in her performance.

As for giving her first screen kiss, Kate says it was just a peck on the cheek and when she was living in America, this was just a normal social gesture and in any case, Hacken's image is very positive, so she did not feel embarrassed at all whilst filming.


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