Wednesday, November 24, 2004

[Sing Tao, 2004-11-24]

Mark Cheng lives in Malaysia, and rarely visits Hong Kong these days. He is currently promoting for ATV's "I Have A Date with Vampire III", and Sing Tao catches him for a quick interview.

During the filming of "Vampire III", Mark was rumored to be involved in a theft, and thus had a rather unpleasant time with ATV executives, but as he tells, he had a even worse relationship with TVB, and the grudge began in 1986.

"I still remember clearly. It was July 1986, and TVB was shooting "Dao Ma Dan" (note: there is also a movie with the same title, aka "Peking Opera Blues"). Originally, I was supposed to play Sunny Chan's role. I told the producer I needed four hours to practice baseball just one day out of a week. Guess what? He thought I had ethics problems and said no! I was serious. I didn't play baseball for fun! Later, Wong He came up to me and thanked me. He said if I hadn't given up the role, Sunny wouldn't have taken it, and he couldn't have had the chance to take Sunny's place in another project."

"I offended TVB again about three years ago, and looking back, I am sorry. If I can shoot TVB serials now, it should help my business in Malaysia (since TVB is so popular over there). Who would have guessed the movie industry could be in such a horrible state now?"

Mark confesses he shot "Vampire III" mainly to keep his popularity. He is currently a restaurant owner in Malaysia. Started out last year, the business is going well. He'll soon establish a fourth one within this year.

Asked if he has any friends in the entertainment industry, Mark said, "No! I don't like to make friends in this circle. As soon as I'm done with my scenes, I get into my car. I don't stay for one more minute in the make-up room. There are some things I really can't stand. For example, some employees throw swear words at their bosses like nobody's business. I know I'm an actor, but I have to say it. The TV and film industries in Hong Kong have always been like this for the past 40 plus years. People don't have the basic respect for others, and they never have the idea of "boss" or "subordinate". Just think about this in a company setting. Is it okay for a secretary to criticize a manager in foul language? There should be some ground rules on what is acceptable and what is not."

Mark's wife is expecting a child in November. Although pregnant, she is still playing tennis regularly. Looks like she does not need to worry about getting her figure back. The topic seems to have triggered Mark's unpleasant memories again, as he says, "What weight loss? What detoxification? Those commercials are all bad influences. Losing weight by eating those products is not the healthy way to do it. I'm thinking of writing a book on this. People should not be fooled."

Speaking of his wife and unborn child, Mark shows his sofe side. "I really like kids, and we probably will have some more. I hoped to have a daughter, and it's indeed going to be a daughter! When I go to bars these days, I make sure I'll get back home before 12. There are all kinds of people in bars, and it can be "dangerous time" after midnight."


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