Saturday, October 09, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao 10/10/04]

"Split Second" is following on from "War and Beauty" and after its first week of airing, it does not seem to be attracting the same volume of viewers as "War" and is being accused of copying plotlines from "Infernal Affairs" and "24" as many scenes look vaguely familiar. At a promotional event held in a shopping mall yesterday, cast members Kevin Cheng, Yoyo Mung and Patrick Tam strongly defended the show, saying any similarities are coincidental and if people are discussing the show, then it proves that they have been watching, so it is a good thing.

Kevin says he is not worried about the ratings, after all it has only been airing for a week and it is difficult to compare with "War". As for the allegations that the show is a copycat of "Infernal Affairs" and "24", he feels that maybe the show has some very similar background and storyline, in particular when it comes to characters and the emphasis on time, so this makes it easy for people to compare, but it is in no way a direct copy, merely a show of the same genre.

Patrick also indicates that the show is not a copy, but does bear some shadows of the other shows. With the suggestion that this show will not be able to attract the housewife viewers, Patrick feels that to attract male viewers is a good thing because this means that the men can go home earlier. Also, an original soundtrack has been released for the show, but Patrick does not appear on the cover. He explains that this is because the record was released about six months ago and he was still contracted to Chinastar and due to copyright issues, he was not able to appear on the cover of this album and he feels rather helpless and disappointed about it.

Yoyo says she has heard some accusations of the show being a copy and feels that this is just people looking for something to talk about, but this is better than the show having no gossip at all. It also proves that the television industry is very great and has many viewers supporting it. Since the show has aired, she has not had many scenes so far, but she indicates that she does play a major part in the series because if it was not then she would not have taken it on. Her scenes have just not emerged as yet. There were some reports yesterday that Charmaine Sheh has three series in the nominations for "My Favourite Female Lead" and a higher chance than anyone else to win the award. Yoyo says that she has never pinned any hopes on winning the award and she is more bothered about the ratings that the show receives.


[Ta Kung Pao 10/10/04]

There have been reports recently that Bernice Liu had originally wanted to reveal her love affair with Moses Chan, but was stopped by the company and forced to take a low key approach to the matter. Appearing at a fashion show earlier, Bernice denied this, saying that she and Moses are both signed to TVB management and they have never asked her about the matter. She indicates that they are currently filming together for "Healing Hands III" and have more opportunity to see each other, but they have a lot of press following them around the she needs to be careful of road safety.


[Ta Kung Pao 10/10/04]

Jessica Hsuan was at an event promoting education to the public about mood disorders yesterday. She says she has never been bothered by her moods because she knows how to balance her emotions, but she knows that in Hong Kong, mood disorders are becoming more and more common because the stresses in life are so high. She says openly that everyone can meet with pressure and it is down to whether or not you know how to handle it. She will talk over things with her friends and to have someone who will listen is very important. She also feels that Hong Kong people put too much emphasis on money, but it is not everything.

Talking of a bank that destroyed some of its client's safety deposit box, Jessica reveals that she has put her "My Favourite Female Lead" award in a safety deposit box because items with such great sentimental value cannot be bought with money.

"War and Beauty" has been very popular recently and the female leads are hot favourites to win the award this year. Jessica indicates that she will be entering the contest without any expectations because she has only had one series "A Handful of Love" this year and did not have any special breakthroughs in her performance. She agrees that "War" was outstanding and she does not know who to vote for. As for the male lead award, she feels that Dayo Wong did an excellent job in "To Catch the Uncatchable".


[Ta Kung Pao Special Report 10/10/04]

The Real Reason for the Success of "War and Beauty"

As the saying goes, "Humans avoid popularity like pigs avoid fat" but in the world of showbusiness, the opposite is true as the greatest fear is that no-one knows your name and so many plans are hatched by stars to have their name in the limelight and despite knowing that the amount of negative press is part of the package of fame, this is a price worth paying and it is all part of the plans.

Recently, the buzz of the town has been on "War and Beauty" and after the fans reluctantly finish watching the last episode and begin to pine for more of the show, the gossip and rumour surrounding the leading stars has been rife, regardless of whether it is true or not, with the most important thing being its attraction to the public.

Stories such as Gigi Lai's previous relationship with Wong Yuk Long and her family background in the arts, Charmaine Sheh's ostracising of Benny Chan, Maggie Cheung's sexual orientation with a member of the upper class, Sheren Tang's most beloved and Moses Chan's secret affair have all re-emerged, with old stories from a new perspective, new stories from an old angle all proving attractive to the fans.

Even if there is a negative element to the news, in this current state of celebration for the show's results, the people at the centre are slow to anger and do not bother to clarify the situation as the public are left to guess. They even go as far as to openly drop their own little hints. Take for example Moses Chan and his 'Little Bernice', who publicly hold hands and Rebecca Chan who rarely discusses her son is happy to bring their relationship into conversation and show off his appearance to the public.

A successful serial has its successful elemnents and the quality of production is obviously important, but the promotional tactics cannot be overlooked. If there are plotlines in real life for the stars that the public can follow in parallel, then it becomes even more irresistable. With open battles, then the contests are clean and there is nothing underhanded about it.

In the past, examples of successful drama series that have caused a wave of popularities have been a victim of their own promotions as the conflicts off screen step over the line and have a negative effect on ratings and reviews. Luckily for "War", everything has been kept within the bounds and with the viewers wanting to keep track of the 'whole' story, then even details of Sheren Tang's forthcoming series and stories of a temple desacration has taken up plenty of print space in the papers as the "War" trend is set to linger.

TVB does not mind riding the waves as it promotes some of its forthcoming series. The fresh management teams have changed the old thoughts of resting on past laurels to keep the markets moving and are working hard to stop their oppositions from closing the gap on them, looking only for the best in their fields. Even with the high ratings, the promotion for "War" still kept coming to try and break more records and allow the new team to show off the fruits of their labours.

Reporter: Chow Yan


[The Sun 10/10/04]

After meeting on the set of "Shine on You" and becoming good friends, Cerina De Graca and Helena Ma from Cookies have become good friends and were spotted in the early hours of yesterday morning out on the prowl as they visited four different venues. Maybe they have both lived overseas, so they were dressed rather invitingly as Helena revealed her legs in a mini skirt whilst Cerina showed off her belly. Without a male escort so late in the evening, were they looking to find some guys?

At around 1am, Helena picked up Cerina in a car and headed out to the party district of Lan Kwai Fong where they first went to a bar. Leaving shortly afterwards, they headed into a club called Drop, but as it was Friday evening and rather packed, they couldn't get in! Then they went off to C Club where they attracted the attention of several foreign males, but Helena and Cerina only stayed for around ten minutes before leaving. They finally drove out to Wanchai for their fourth venue where they stayed for the longest time. Eventually, Helena left with a young male dressed in Hip Hop attire to get her car and leave, appearing to have left Cerina behind to continue partying.


Friday, October 08, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao 09/10/04]

TVB's youth drama "Sunshine Heartbeat" has finally finished filming and the cast members held a poolside party at a hotel yesterday to celebrate. As well as cutting a cake, they also sprayed each other with water and threw people into the pool. Among them, Kwan Chun Wing was thrown in as a punishment for being a pain during filming and Lam Cheuk Kin was thrown in for being the nicest person on set. Yoyo Chan was also picked up by Bond Chan and thrown into the water and finally the producer Chin Kwok Wai and a male TVB PR person also met with a watery fate. As for the other female stars, they each made their excuses not to enter the water.

After cutting the cake, Charles Szeto immediately picked up the water pistol and started spraying and the target headed towards Cheung Wing Yin, leaving her rather impatient and aggressive. Afterwards she insisted that she does not swear usually and the other cast members can vouch for her. Vivien Yeo has received complaints from TVB for getting too much of a tan, so she is currently working hard at whitening. When asked about Wing Yin being forced to become violent, she laughed that she was lucky because she is quite young, everyone looks out for her. As she will be heading back to Malaysia next month to crown the new Miss Malaysia, she indicates that she will not miss her realm because she is happier working on her career in Hong Kong now.

As for Yoyo who was thrown into the water by Bond, she admits that maybe she is a lot of fun, so she does not get mad easily and this caused Bond to play with her. She was actually prepared for this because she says it is all about having fun. As for the filming finally being completed, she says she will miss everyone.


[Ta Kung Pao 09/10/04]

When TVB's new series "Shine on You" was released, a creative writing competition entitled "A Good Teacher in my Heart" was held for secondary school children and nearly ten thousand entries were received from an enthusiastic audience. Yesterday, cast members Michael Tao, Kenix Kwok and Shirley Yeung were asked to read through some of the entries in preparation for the prize giving ceremony on 18th.

Michael indicates that nowadays, there are fewer and fewer people now who write with a pen as the computer becomes the preferred media for communication, so seeing these students taking pen to paper to write about their thoughts, he feels that this is a very rare sincerity. As there will only be awards for the top three and five consolation prizes, Michael immediately suggests adding more prizes to encourage the entrants. When asked whether he likes to write in his spare time, Michael says that he does not write very much because his handwriting is terrible and so he has never written any love letters to his wife and would rather call her instead.

Kenix says that she is pleased that this series can convey a positive message and although she has never taken part in an external composition competition when she was at school, she did once get the highest mark in her class for English Composition and was praised by her teacher, making her very happy. She says: "When I was younger, I used to mark my brother and sister's compositions and it was good fun. Before entering the industry, I used to keep a diary and although I have stopped writing in it now, I still like to write letters. Usually I will drop notes to communicate with Frankie, especially text messages because they are very warming." Also, Shirley feels that with entries coming from Form 1 to Form 7, the standard of the writing is too varied and she suggests that they should be grouped for judging.


[Ta Kung Pao 09/10/04]

Steven Ma, Julian Cheung and Gigi Lai were filming a clip for next year's sales presentation. The new series "Juet Sai Mo Seung" (Ultimate Unequalled) is adapted from a computer game, so there will be a lot of special effects and wire scenes. Steven feels that this is quite a fresh idea, so he hopes that this show will be filmed for real and he can be part of it.

Steven will soon be heading into the mainland to film several series, so he will not be taking part in the TVB anniversary celebrations this year. This will be the first time he has missed the show since joining TVB. He is currently filming for "Virtues of Harmony" and he says he is having a good time because there is no gossip in this series and all the cast members are very friendly. Although he has just joined, they are all looking after him and buy him breakfast nearly every day, so he often pays for food too.

Gigi plays a Tang Princess for this clip and she says that as her exterior is quite tough, she often plays concubines and princess roles, so the producer has suggested that she tries some other characters. She has been busy filming recently as well as taking part in promotions, so she would most like to take a long holiday in the near future to recharge her batteries before launching back into her work after the new year.

Julian has never liked filming ancient period dramas where he has to wear a wig, but he does not mind shooting this presentation clip. When asked if he has discussed any new series with TVB, he says that he has been in constant negotiations and if there is a suitable role, then he will definitely accept it.


[Ta Kung Pao 09/10/04]

Carol Cheng will be partnering Tang Chi Fung and Winnie Yeung for the AIDS charity show next Saturday and this event will be supporting the China AIDS Prevention Campaign with performances from guests such as Deanie Yip, Kelly Chen, Andy Hui, Hacken Lee, Joey Yung, Gigi Leung, Cookies, Tang Wing Chi, Bowie Lam and Sheren Tang.

In yesterday's press conference, the witty Carol said modestly that she has two other hosts to share her responsibility so she can breathe a sigh of relief, because her attitude is different now and work is just a home for the spirit and so she is always very happy when there is someone to share the stage with her. She also hopes that the company can give more opportunities to the younger generation and take some of the responsibilities from her.

Carol's earlier series with Dayo Wong "War of the Genders" received good ratings results and recently "War and Beauty" has also created a television frenzy to challenge her, but she refuses to join forces with Dayo again to make another TV legend. Carole says that she is very out (of fashion) and not watched "War" but she does miss Sheren Tang: "I remember when I first met her, she had just graduated from the artiste class and she played my little sister in a sereis. I am pleased to see that her acting talent has become so mature now."


Thursday, October 07, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 08/10/04]

Kwong Yip Sang's production "Hidden Treasures" finished filming a while ago and at last it sees the light of day again, but it will be aired on TVB's paid TV channel TVBe as of next week. Cast members including Bobby Au Yeung, Sonija Kwok, Anne Heung, Shirley Yeung and Ellesmere Choy took part in a promotional event in Ap Liu Street yesterday, attracting a crowd of two to three hundred people, who raised their hands to take photos and ask for autographs from the stars. When the souvenirs were handed out, the stars kept well away from the pushing crowds, throwing the presents over from a distance, resulting in a scramble to snatch the items and screams from those who did not get any.

Although TVB sent some motorcyclistss and a number of security personnel, the male stars stepped in to help protect the female stars as well. At first, Bobby was holding the hand of one of the girls, but in the end he ended up grabbing Ellesmere's hand, causing a lot of laughs.

Sonija was half an hour late for the event and she explained that she does not have a car and her driver did not know the way, so she was delayed. When it was mentioned that she was dressed rather conservatively, she says it is because the weather is starting to get colder now. Was she afraid at the number of people in the crowd? She says that she is not because it was like this when they were filming on location there and the locals are very friendly. As for the show being aired on a paid channel, is she worried about the ratings being low? She says: "It must be good for it to be worth the money people are paying for it. As long as the quality is there, then it doesn't matter where they air it."

Anne was not fazed by the large crowds: "We have experienced this before when we were filming here on location. The fans in the mainland and in Malaysia are even more frenzied, I have been scratched and punched by them before. That's why I will never wear any jewellery when I take part in these events, otherwise the jewellery will definitely disappear when I shake hands with people." Originally, Anne had wanted to wear a short skirt, but she was afraid of the number of people there and decided to wear trousers instead. As for whether she was heckled during filming, she says: "Not at all, but in one scene, I had to chase my father in the show (Hui Siu Hung) and as it was a far shot, one of the hawker control officers went into shot and asked if I was okay. We had to NG and re-shoot the scene."

Shirley thinks that the enthusiasm from the crowd makes the event good fun and as there are plenty of security guards around, then she is not worried about being taken advantage of. As for the show being aired on a channel with a small number of viewers, Shirley does not find this disappointing because at least it can be aired and not left in storage.

With some job cuts having taken place at the beginning of the year, producer Kwong was among those who was given his notice. However, due to his contract, he will not be leaving his position until September. During the promotion yesterday, Kwong was asked about his future plans and he indicates he will not be leaving TVB, but will be moving over to the Overseas Production Team, looking after the series that TVB will be filming in cooperation with external companies. Talking of the detail of his new role, he indicates that he will report to his new department in mid-October, so he is not sure yet, but he feels that this will be a new challenge for him. When asked if he was kept by one of the executives, he says: "We have had discussions." As for his production being arranged to be aired on paid TV, Kwong says that he is not disappointed because having it aired on another channel is another new trial for him.

Bobby and Kwong have worked together on many series and each of their creations have had good results, so Bobby is pleased that Kwong will be staying with TVB. He says: "If he leaves, then that would be a great loss to the company and to me. Good producers should be made use of."


[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 08/10/04]

With the popularity that "Yu Fei" has brought her, Sheren Tang was interviewed for Metro Radio earlier. With "War and Beauty" peaking at 41 ratings points, the two male leads Bowie Lam and Moses Chan have agreed to appear at the celebratory party dressed as concubines to thank the audience for their support. When Sheren was asked if she would appear in a bikini or a camisole, she immediately shook her head and said: "I did not agree to that! To be honest I never really pay much attention to ratings. I remember in 1985 when I filmed my first series 'Sit Yan Kwai' (The Legend of the General Who Never Was), the ratings for that show was 60 points. If I have to wear a bikini for 41 points, then what should I wear for 60 points?"

If Sheren does not pay attention to ratings, then why does she remember the ratings from that show nineteen years ago? She says: "Because when I first entered the industry, my family said that if the ratings for my series was in the top three, then they would take me on holiday. 'Sit' reached 60 points and took the top spot, so my family took me to America for Christmas and that was the first time I travelled on a plane as well as the first time I went abroad, so it was particularly memorable for me."

Talking of Bowie Lam getting plenty of job offers after the effects of "War", has Sheren also made plenty of money from the show? She laughs: "Don't say earning a lot of money, but recently I have had many more offers of work and you will see me taking part in events every single day. (How will you be rewarding yourself?) My reward will be to have a rest on Friday because I have not had a good sleep for a long time."

When asked what she felt about the appearance of pirate "War and Beauty" DVD's appearing on the market, Sheren says: "Surely not? The pirated Mandarin versions are not as powerful. (Some fans gave up watching the football to watch the last episode.) This is a good sign, the women finally win for once." As for the suggestion from Charmaine Sheh to film a modern version, she feels the opposite, saying: "It would not be as good, the story is about the conflicts in the Qing palace, people in the modern day would not be as evil."


[Ta Kung Pao 08/10/04]

With her popularity rising after the airing of new series "Split Second", Yoyo Mung's movie "Ngoc Mung" (Nightmare) will be released on the 21st, also starring Jo Koo, Edmond Leung, Michael Tong and Helena Law. The film should prove to be a hit during the Double Nine festival holiday.

The storyline of the film surrounds a female journalist who has had the same nightmare for over ten years. The atmosphere of the film is terrifying with a twisting storyline and Yoyo plays this plagued journalist in the film. She says that she has always been afraid of watching horror films since she was young, especially the scenes that suddenly scare you, because they will linger in her mind for a while afterwards, making her very uncomfortable and even having nightmares that make her cry out loud. Because of this, she did think about turning down the part when she received the script to the film.

Yoyo says: "I have never acted in a horror film before because I am very scared of becoming too absorbed in the role and being unable to step out of the character. However, after I read the script, I felt that there was a big chance to shine in this role and a test to my acting abilities, so I decided to take it in the end."

In the film, Yoyo's character starts off as a sweet lovable character, but the nightmare leaves her exhausted and all the strange occurrences leave her psychologically scarred. During the filming, Yoyo had to scream loudly and cry out often and in one scene that told of her being possessed, she immediately rushed madly towards the camera. When Edmond and Michael saw her, they tried to stop her and then she burst into tears. When the director called to stop, she could not stop crying and got even worse as she curled herself up trembling. Edmond was very scared when he saw this and immediately got a cup of hot tea for her to calm her down.

Although it was hard work filming for the movie, Yoyo has no regrets about it and believes that this was a very valuable experience.


[Oriental Daily & The Sun 08/10/04]

Marco Ngai, Rebecca Chan, Joyce Koi and Priscilla Chik were among the stars at the "October Birthday Stars" celebration yesterday and with a rise in her popularity thanks to "War and Beauty", Rebecca revealed that she shares a birthday with Marco, so they raised their cakes together as birthday twins. Although Marco refers to himself as an emperor [Ref: new series "Imperial Layabout"], 'Empress' Rebecca refused the kiss from this 'fake Emperor', laughing that she does not want to have rumours with him.

Rebecca laughs: "I share my birthday with Marco, Ben Wong and Vinci Wang on 20th October and we did all celebrate together once at work. However, my position is high and mighty now, so I may not celebrate with them now." Rebecca indicates that in her new series "King of Herbal Medicine", she has to wear pauper's clothing and has no servants as well as filming a coffin scene for the first time. " The first scene requires me to lie in a coffin, but I am not afraid because I was told by a crew member that it is good fortune! I received a lucky packet for it."

Marco reveals that this year will be the seventh birthday he will be spending with his girlfriend Joyce Tang and when asked if he is suffering from the seven year itch, he says: "What do you mean? I was itchy from day one!" He then said jokingly that he would consider getting married. As for Joyce Koi who has just celebrated her birthday, she will be having a special celebration with over a thousand fans in the middle of the month.


[Oriental Daily 08/10/04]

Kenix Kwok and Sheren Tang took part in a event yesterday and Kenix was asked about her recent burglary. She indicates that the item that she was most disappointed in losing was their wedding rings and a Christian Dior watch that was specially made for her. Kenix reveals that she has now bought back some of her jewellery, some of which was given to her by her husband and some that she bought herself. Kenix says that luckily most of the more valuable items were kept in the safety deposit box in the bank and so she was not emptied out by the theif. She also jokes that those items were not kept in the bank where a number of safety deposit boxes were destroyed.

Kenix and Sheren were guests at the launch of a new Max Mara perfume and Kenix prefers a fresh scent such as jasmine, but if she has to dress asexually, then she will wear cologne to add to her style.


[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 07/10/04]

Bobby Au Yeung, Michael Tao, Kenix Kwok, Shirley Yeung, Roy Chow and Yu Chiu were among the cast members from "Shine on You" who took part in a promotional visit to a special school in Yau Tong. During the event, the stars joined the pupils in playing games such as musical chairs and jigsaw puzzle competitions as well as handing out gifts, whilst the children returned the favour by giving demonstrations of Chinese dance, singing and musical performance to welcome the stars and creating a warm and buzzing atmosphere.

Bobby indicated that he was very happy because he has not played musical chairs for a long time and he was very absorbed. During the jigsaw puzzle competition, he was accused of cheating by his student partner, who became angry with him. Bobby laughs: "I never thought he would be so honest, so I tried to make it up to him by giving him a flower."

Bobby and Michael both feel that this type of event is very meaningful. Michael says: "Compared to a show in a shopping mall, this has much more meaning to it and we should do this more. Even if it is not for promotion, we should visit these children more because it has a good effect on their mental and physical health." He finds that the special needs children are not as unhappy as he imagined because they have their own happiness and they are not as inhibited as he had expected.

One of Shirley's classmates from the Education College happened to be a teacher at this school, so she took the opportunity to catch up with her old friend as well as giving her a few more bunches of flowers. when asked if she had thought about teaching in a special school before, she said that she had looked at the related information, but she felt she could not cope with it as she hoped to have more of a communication with her students.

Kenix was asked about the recent news of the burglary at her home and she idnciates that they have spent several tens of thousands of dollars in security measures now. When asked about the news of the safety deposit boxes being destroyed in error by a Hong Kong bank, Kenix says: "I do use a safety deposit box at a bank, but I think mine is very safe." She also emphasises that there is no problem with safety on her estate and the security has already been stepped up.

Yu was found to be displaying a number of injuries on her legs and it turns out that because she is tall with small feet, she is often falling over and hurting herself and this has been the case since she was young. When the reporters jokingly asked if she has become mad from falling over, she revealed that she does suffer from a mood condition, so whenever she is excited, she will have tummyache and even cry out. After entering the industry, the condition has worsened and she is especially unhappy when she is accused of something that is untrue, but she does not know whether she should consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist for help.

Talking of methods on how to reduce stress, she indicates that she will go shopping or do some outdoor activities. At the moment she would most like to go and relax at a hot spring in Japan. When it was mentioned that some springs in Japan are warmed up artificially and not natural, she says: "I have been there to film travel specials before and I know some people who work in the travel industry and I believe that they will not introduce me to the fake hot springs." Whilst talking of this particular travel show, she says that she had to introduce the men's springs and as they were all naked, she was very embarrassed, but she did it as part of her job. She says: "At the time, the male guests just smiled at me . I was rather annoyed at them for being perverted and forgot to watch the path and I hit my head by accident!"

Also, Roy's visit to the school yesterday brought back memories of his own schooldays and he describes himself as being 'a lump of rice' (a dork) at primary school, but he was very naughty and once, he used a filled plastic bottle as a bowling ball and almost hit a teacher.


[Oriental Daily & The Sun 07/10/04]

Sheren Tang, Maria Chan and Chan Pui Ka were invited to model the latest range of jewellery for bijoux bijoux and Sheren was full of praise for the jewellery creations, that amounted to only $2000 in value: "I do like this designer because they look very precious, but there is no pressure when you are wearing them. (Do you not like diamonds?) Maybe I have to be a little older before I like them." It turns out that Sheren has had a bad experience with diamonds as she reveals that a boyfriend she was dating in her teens had once bought her a diamond ring. She says: "My boyfriend insisted on buying it for me to make me happy, but I was so afraid of losing it. Then one day I went to the washroom and really did lose it and after searching for over an hour I could not find it." Sheren adds: "I am quite difficult because I like things that are beyond materialism. If you can buy it with money, then there is nothing special."

Thanks to the success of "War and Beauty", Maria's 'Po Sim' character has brought her a rise in popularity as well as more chances to do stage appearances: "The show was very well received on the mainland, so I have had more invitations to go and do stage shows and now my manager can ask for a slightly higher fee." As for the suggestions of a prequel that will be filmed, Maria says: "I am hopeful that I can take part in the prequel."


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao & Oriental Daily, 2004-10-06]

Eason Chan published an open letter yesterday, telling everybody the good news that he has become a father. A baby girl was born by his long-time girlfriend Hilary Tsui two nights ago (Oct. 4), weighing 7.5lbs.

In the letter, Eason describes the baby girl as "chubby, white and pretty", and he hopes people can share his happiness. The baby is named Constance. She and Hilary are both safe. Eason also thanks all his friends and the press for their congratulations. His excitement and pride of being a father is apparent.

Ever since Hilary was reported pregnant, the media have been paying close attention to this celebrity couple. Eason has had ups and downs during the course, and now he feels the warmth of a happy family. He says the new born baby has changed him a lot, and he'll do his best to love and take care of the baby and her mother.

It has been said that Eason may marry Hilary when the baby is one month old. Since Eason will be filming in mainland China at that time, there is no confirmed plan on wedding yet.

Translation of the open letter:

Hello, everyone!

I'm very happy to tell you all the good news: I have become a father tonight (Oct. 4)! Hilary and I want to thank everybody for caring! The new member to our family is a chubby, white and pretty baby girl. Her name is Constance, and she weighs 7.5lbs. Both Hilary and Constance are safe and healthy. I hope all the friends who care about us can share our happiness. Thank you for your blessings!

All the best.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao 06/10/04]

Gigi Lai and Bowie Lam were guests at the grand opening of a beauty and fitness centre yesterday and although there were many other guests present, such as Renee Tai and Sze Yi Lin, the focus of everyone was on Bowie and Gigi. As they appeared in formal dress and shared a glass of champagne together, they looked like a newly wed couple.

In response to the suggestions that they looked like a married couple, Gigi felt the same: "Yes! Recently Bowie has been dressing rather casually, so with him in a suit today and me coincidentally wearing a white outfit, we do look good together!" Talking of them holding each other's hands in recent photoshoots, is Gigi worried that people will mistake them as a couple? Gigi laughs that she is a little worried, but she does not rule out the chance that she will start dating Bowie because he is a good man. As for the rumours that Bowie is gay, Gigi indicates that she does not believe this because Bowie has had rumours with Flora Chan before. She feels that she can be very good friends with Bowie and even become soul mates, then this would be very romantic.

Talking of the viewers requesting that TVB should film a prequel or sequel to "War and Beauty", Gigi says: "I think it would be a little forced if I was to make a prequel, I can just about play a sixteen year old this time, but if I had to play someone younger, then I don't know what the make up would look like." However, she does hope that the original cast can appear. As for Chrmraine Sheh's suggestion of making a modern version of "War", Gigi says that this is quite a good idea and TVB should think about it, as long as the people and scenery are beautiful - maybe even filming in the Caribbean like "Charlies Angels". As for producer Chik Kei Yi praising her for being the best of the female stars in the show, Gigi laughs: "The producer taught me well! Actually everyone did very well in the show, so you cannot say that it was just me who did well. I hope that I can make play some more quality roles where I can show off myself and let the viewers know that Gigi Lai can act."

Thanks to the popualarity of "War", Gigi and Bowie have become the latest favourites of the advertising sponsors and as well as doing opeinings and stage appearances, they have also had offers of movies and advertisements flooding in. In response to this, Bowie does not forget to promote himself, saying: "Gigi and I have met with good luck lately, so it is a good omen to have us at an opening and share in our luck. I was at another opening earlier and then they opened another branch very soon afterwards. (As you are busier now, will you be putting up your fee?) A little, but it is still reasonable, we will not put the prices up too much." As for yesterday's opening, they received a six figure fee.

As for the request for a follow up to "War", Bowie says: "No matter whether it is a prequel or a sequel, I hope that there will be sufficient preparation beforehand. Although I am confident, the pressure will be a lot higher and I would like the chance for Gigi and I to make more money before we film it because we don't know when we will have this opportunity again." Talking of many viewers hoping that Bowie will win the award for "My Favourite Male Lead Role" this year, he laughs: "I hope so too, because that would be the icing on the cake and I can make even more money! (Have you calculated how much money the effect of 'War' has made you?) At the moment my workload is a lot higher, so I have not had a chance to calculate it yet."


[Ta Kung Pao & Oriental Daily 06/10/04]

Niki Chow, Moses Chan, Cindy Au, Michelle Yim, Wayne Lai and director Tailik Lee were among the stars taking part in the costume fitting for new series "Scholar Meets Soldier" yesterday. In the show, Niki plays a constable and Moses plays a weak scholar. Tradition is turned upside down as the female star has to do the wirework and fighting scenes, whereas Moses looks after the comedic scenes.

In order to face her performance, Niki has been practicing her martial arts skills and she says pitifully: "Whenever I have time, I have to practise doing the splits and arching my back. It is like doing acrobatics and the injury ointment is fast becoming my latest perfume. It also gives me the feeling of practising for the anniversary celebration show - that's true, I can practice for my act in that show now." Will Niki be doing her own fight scenes in the show? She says: "Apart from the somersaults that they don't need me to do, then practically all the fighting scenes will be done by me. The reason why I have been excused from somersaults is because I had an injury before where one of the vertebrae in my neck is slightly misaligned, so the doctor told me to be careful of my neck." Knowing it will be hard work, Niki looks at Moses with an expression of envy: "He does not need to fight because he plays a scholar." When Moses hears this, he says laughingly: "I have a licence to have fun this time. My character is responsible for the laughs, so he just talks and does not need to fight and I can show off my comedy potential."

Cindy will be playing the evil role in the show, so she jokes that she will be the "Ancient Ding Hai". As Cindy's earlier productions have not yet been aired yet, she hopes that this show will allow her to gauge some response from the viewers. As boyfriend Roger Kwok is currently filming in China, Cindy indicates that there will be many festivals this year, such as mid-autumn, Valentines Day and the new year that she will not be able to spend with him but they keep in touch by phone and this has not affected their relationship.

Director Tailik Lee praised Sheren Tang for her performance as 'Yu Fei' in "War and Beauty" and Sheren was a guest on the latest episode of "Super Trio Show" filmed yesterday, together with Carlo Ng. When asked about the comments from Lee, Sheren says: "I have worked with Lee before and he did call me recently to invite me onto his radio show. Unfortunately I did not have time, but I will have to really try and fit him into my schedule. Since filming "War", Sheren reveals that she has had two offers of work in movies and she hs very interested, but she will not worry too much about the fee as long as she likes the role, then this is not an issue.

With her recent popularity, Sheren raised quite a stir from the audience as she was introduced onto "Super" by Eric Tsang. Before the filming started, a celebratory party was held for the great ratings of the second episode airing and Eric sprayed all the artistes with champagne, laughing: "We can't let Sheren take all the limelight."


[Ta Kung Pao 06/10/04]

Halina Tam was invited to a promotion for a beauty gadget yesterday and she says that she is not a spokesperson for the product, but she has used it before and finds it very useful and so she is taking part to share her experience. The event organisers arranged for her to wear a short backless dress and she certainly stole the show.

Halina says: "I used to have problems with constipation and this made my skin very poor. Since using this product, it has cured the problem with my bowels and even my panda eyes have gone away. I dare to go out without make up on now." With such support for the sponsors, Halina admits that she would like to become the product spokesperson. She has been busy filming lately so she has lost some weight and she laughs that she will have to start taking breast enhancement pills soon as she is currently negotiating an advertising contract for a slimming and breast enhancement product.


[The Sun 06/10/04]

Michelle Ye and Charmaine Sheh have both been linked romantically to Benny Chan and when they both appeared at an event earlier, they seemed to ignore each other. When they spotted TVB Production Resources Deputy Chief Lok Yik Ling, they both headed over to seek her attention and it was Michelle who was beaten in this round.

After the popularity of "War and Beauty" raising her profile recently, Charmaine took part in the premiere of "Ladder 49" earlier alongside the Olympic hosting star Michelle Ye and other TVB artistes currently being promoted such as Bernice Liu, Bosco Wong, Lai Lok Yi, Ron Ng and Raymond Lam. Even TVB Production chief Lok Yik Ling was present at the event. When Charmaine and Michelle arrived, the two ignored each other and did not offer any greetings and wearing a low cut dress, Michelle was immediately the centre of attention. However, this did not affect Charmaine, who immediately joined Ms Lok in conversation and as they became engrossed, Ms Lok even held Charmaine's hand to look at her watch. It would appear that Charmaine has with ease become popular with the executives.

However, Michelle took great advantage of her opportunity and when she saw her chance, she immediately went over to greet Ms Lok and then agreed to the press requests for a photo. When Ms Lok saw this, she immediately put her arm around Michelle's for the pose as Michelle smiled to celebrate her successful stealing of the show. As for the other stars present, such as Raymond, Bosco and Lok Yi, they immediately huddled around Ms Lok, whereas Bernice and Ron were a little slower at catching on. After the short struggle for the limelight, Charmaine once again took her place beside Ms Lok, even allowing her to brush her face.

When Charmaine was later asked why she was not present with rumoured boyfriend Benny Chan, she looked at the reporter with open eyes and said: "I am not talking about him today." As for the praises that "War and Beauty" producer Chik Kei Yi has been singing for Gigi Lai's performance, Charmaine says: "That is true, her character shows all her emotions on the face so she has a better opportunity to shine. (Is she your main opponent for the anniversary award?) There are many - Sheren, Maggie and also Jessica and Ada." Also, with reports of pirated copies of "War and Beauty" appearing on the market, TVB indicates that they will be investigating this.


[Oriental Daily 06/10/04]

Having once taken part in TVB's "A Kindred Spirit" and a contestant in 1998's Miss Hong Kong Pageant, Leung Pui Ying held her wedding banquet on Sunday evening to celebrate her marriage to Wan Kwong Fai. The event was very warming and the bride was so touched that her eyes welled with tears. Although Pui Ying's former co-stars Nancy Sit and Johnny Tang, who 'watched her grow up' were unable to attend, but they sent her a short clip to express their best wishes to the couple.

Michael Tse, who will be getting married next year on 14th January, was present and as he has been busy filming for "Virtues of Harmony" recently, much of the preparation for his own wedding have been left to his fiancee to deal with. He smiles: "I am taking hints from tonight so I know what to do when my own wedding day comes along."

[Em's note: For those who don't remember, Pui Ying played the little sister of Melissa Ng and Michael Tse in "A Kindred Spirit", the girl who came between Hawick Lau and May Kwong's romance.]


Monday, October 04, 2004

[Oriental Daily 05/10/04]

With the exceptional ratings for the final episode of "War and Beauty", the four female leads Gigi Lai, Maggie Cheung, Charmaine Sheh and Sheren Tang are naturally very happy and excited. Among them, Gigi Lai is especially thankful to the support from the viewers and says she will be thinking hard about what she can do for everyone to show her gratitude.

When Gigi heard the results for the ratings, she screamed: "Wow, that's amazing! It's great, I am so happy I don't know what to say. (Will you be wearing a bikini?) When Bowie mentioned it, I said I would wear a bikini if the average ratings hit 40 points. Although we did not reach this, I am still very thankful to all the support from the viewers because 'Yuk Ying' would be nothing without them. Also, I would not have so many 'positive side effects' and so I will have to think long and hard about what I can do to thank everyone. You (the press) need to give me some time."

Charmaine says: "I am so happy, it was similar to what I guessed it would be because I gauged on the night that the reaction from the audience at the event was very good and they were totally absorbed. (There have been requests for a prequel or a sequel.) I am thankful to the audience for the suggestion, if the company arranges this, then I would like to film it, so that the viewers can continue to enjoy the show."

Sheren says: "I am very happy and I did think about going on holiday to reward myself, but I am worried that I can't get away. I am thinking about going now though. (Are you happy with the ratings figures?) As an artiste, I will not worry too much about this, the reviews are more important. If the ratings are good, then that is the icing on the cake."

Currently away filming in Shanghai, Maggie indicated on the telephone: "Of course I am happy with good ratings! (Do you feel that they are rather low?) It is already quite enough and the most important thing is the feedback. For an ancient drama to attract so many viewers and create so many talking points, it is not easy and the crew have a big part in this. (Do you want to film a prequel or a sequel?) Do you need me to play On Sin's mother?" As for the celebratory party, Maggie laughs: "I will head back to Hong Kong for one day on the 15th so I hope the company will hold it on that date, then I can take part."


[Oriental Daily 05/10/04]

Michael Tao, Melissa Ng and Wayne Lai were filming a sales presentation clip for "Happy Hotel" yesterday and as the three of them play tour guides in this show, they filmed on location in Wanchai's Golden Bauhinia Square as well as Mongkok's ladies street where there have been a number of incidents recently where bricks have been thrown into the street from the buildings. Luckily, the police arrested a man in connection with these incidents the day before and they could carry out their filming with peace of mind.

Yesterday afternoon, the team were filming in the ladies street and although the brick thrower had been arrested, the shoot was extremely quick. After just five minutes, they were forced to leave because they had attracted a huge crowd and were accused of getting in the way of the local stallholders' business. When asked if he felt more at ease with the brick thrower arrested, Michael says: "Don't worry, I dont think there will be another one, but because we are always filming outside, then very often we are met with angry residents who find us noisy and will throw things at us and we just have to be more careful." Melissa says: "I am more comfortable because you can die if someone throws a brick at you. It's a matter of life and death."

This series will begin filming at the end of November and Michael, Melissa and Wayne have all confirmed that they will be in the show. It turns out that Michael has wanted to work with Melissa for a while: "She is an artiste whom I have admired all along because I feel she is very elegant and graceful with a unique air. I hope that we can make sparks fly and give a fresh feeling." Also, Melissa is looking forward to start filming on this show: "As well as being able to work with Michael, I have never filmed a comedy, as I have only played executives or professionals in the past. This time I will play a tour guide and it is quite fun, so I hope to make a breakthrough for myself."


[Ta Kung Pao & Oriental Daily 05/10/04]

TVB's "War and Beauty" aired its final episode last week and achieved average ratings of 39 points, peaking at 41 points, taking 95% of the viewing public at that time and takes the record for the highest rating finale to be aired at the weekend since the tradition started in 1998. As a result, TVB will be arranging a special celebration for the cast and crew this week.

TVB's External Affairs Assistant Chief Tsang Sing Ming indicates that the shows that have aired weekend finales since 1989 have included "Healing Hands", "Burning Flame", "Armed Reaction", "Secret of the Heart", "Witness to a Prosecution" and most recently "To Catch the Uncatchable". The percentage of the viewers that they have taken has always been either 90% or 92% and never as high as the 95% achieved by "War". Although the show has finished, the reviews from the audience are still echoing among the crowds and over ten phone calls have been received by TVB requesting that TVB films either a prequel or a sequel to "War". However, TVB are still considering this possibility. Also, a Taiwanese TV station has been very interested in the ratings results of "War" and also curious about the special banquet airing of the show. TVB have provided them with the appropriate information. The charity event on Saturday raised a total of over $140,000 for the Community Chest, but the show's sponsors were extremely pleased by the outcome and donated another $50,000 to take the total amount raised to nearly $200,000.

Although the final episode had very good results, the final week Monday to Friday results were only at an average 32 and peak of 36 points and were not as special. Tsang explains that this was because last week coincided with Mid-Autumn as well as the National Day holidays and at these times, the ratings traditionally fall. As a result, the ratings for "Shine on You" and "Virtues of Harmony" also fell by two or three points, but the new series of "Super Trio Show" did not seem to be affected as it rose by two points on last week, achieving an average of 30 points and a maximum of 34 points. No complaints have been received as yet regarding the content of this weeks show.

Sheren Tang not only agrees with the suggestion to film either a sequel or prequel to the show, but whilst filming the Sales Presentation for "Rouge and Powder" yesterday, she indicated that she was very happy at the 39 points that the final episode achieved. Talking of the viewers demands for a continuation on the "War" theme, she is very supportive of them and when asked if she would rather film a prequel or a sequel, she indicates that either would be a possibility because the characters have a lot of room for development.

Asked if she would appear at the celebration party in a bikini, Sheren laughs: "I'll leave the bikinis to the xiunui's to wear, did they (Bowie Lam and Moses Chan) agree to dress up as palace maids? I will be the judge then. I would like to thank all the viewers for their support and I will continue to work hard on some great roles for you to enjoy." Then she says rather more seriously: "The good ratings are the result of the cast and crew's co-operation, so I hope that there will be some backstage awards at this year's anniversary for some of the crew, such as for photography, script, direction and sound because they deserve to be encouraged and this would be good for morale."

After last Saturday's banquet, Sheren and the cast members went to celebrate at a karaoke and there were rumours that she was drunk. She explained that it was like a teacher thanking party and she was chatting with the other cast members and crew, so she did not drink too much and was not drunk. In "Rouge and Powder", she plays the housekeeper of a big family and she indicates the storyline is very similar to the "Zhu Family Woes".

"War and Beauty" producer Chik Kei Yi was asked about the possibility of a follow up being filmed, but Chik indicates he will not be doing this for now. He says: "I am currently filming for 'Healing Hands III' and this will take us to next year. After that I have other work to do. (Will you make a modern version?) This kind of conflict is already present in a lot of modern series."

With the final episode for "War" outshining "To Catch the Uncatchable" final episode ratings, there have been reports recently about plans for a "TCTU" sitcom to replace "Virtues of Harmony". However "TCTU" producer Tsui Ching Hong denied this, saying: "The company has not thought about this at all because it would be impossible to produce this. TCTU's cases would require a lot of location filming and with the tight sitcom schedules, this would not allow for this. Anyway, Dayo has to film in the mainland for the time being."


[Ta Kung Pao 05/10/04]

Organised by the Women's Association of Hong Kong, TVB's special "Bauhinia Beauty Show" was taped two days ago in TVB City and the guests of Honour included the wife of SAR Chief Executive, Mrs Tung Chiu Hung Ping, Deputy Supervisor for the Central Communications Bureau in Hong Kong Guo Li, Justice Department Chief Ms Leung Ngoi Sze and the Joint Women's Association Chairman Ms Lam Bui Lu Ka. The usual leading MC Liza Wang was absent this year and TVB decided to give the hosting roles to Shirley Yeung, Anne Heung, Halina Tam and Kate Tsui, but the four girls lack the experience of hosting big shows and gave a lacklustre performance.

Shirley and Anne were both not calm enough, often fluffing their lines and panicking when they made mistakes, getting very embarrassed. Luckily the audience often gave them some very encouraging applause and their smiles emerged again. Anne forgot her lines and was caught out, leaving the rather sensitive host a little teary eyed, whilst Shirley mistakenly referred to Chu Wai Man as Chu Wai San and then did not handle it well as she apologised to the camera, looking rather odd.

Anne indicated that maybe because they did not have enough time to prepare because she was doing the National Day show at the Coliseum the night before and she only had time to review the script for this show that day. Moreover with so many high-ranking ladies present, she felt the pressure and this pulled her standard down. Shirley says that she was very thankful to the audience for their encouragement and as this was the first time she had taken part in this show, even though she had prepared in advance, she was still too nervous and this led to mistakes. She will continue to work hard next time.


[Ta Kung Pao 05/10/04]

Bobby Au Yeung was working alongside Sheren Tang, Anne Heung and Mandy Cho in filming for the "Rouge and Powder" Sales Presentation clip yesterday, where he plays the second young master, who is a wasteful soul. Sheren plays the third sister and Anne plays the wife of the eldest brother.

In response to the ratings for "Shine on You" falling by three points last week to just an average of 27 points, Bobby was not worried at all: "Whenever there is a holiday, then it will be like this. 'War and Beauty' had high ratings because it was the final week, but I must congratulate them. I am confident our ratings will keep going up."

With Tse Kwan Ho being photographed earlier with a female partner in Shanghai, Bobby was also shown in the pictures together with some friends, but he was acting properly and not too close to his female friends. To this, Bobby says: "That night, Kwan Ho was sat beside us, but I don't really know him too well. That undercover reporter is someone that I know, but there was a group of us and I was not doing anything, so I just left him to it. I went to Shanghai because I plan to invest in a restaurant there and I went to take a look at the surroundings." Bobby has been in the food and drink industry in Hong Kong for a number of years now and he is lucky to have a partner who does everything personally and so they are still in business.


[Ta Kung Pao 05/10/04]

With the emergence of bird flu in dogs in Thailand, many dog owners have become rather concerned recently, but Niki Chow was not aware of this and earlier she was suffering from a skin allergy after her dog licked her face. Niki says: "Maybe the weather is getting cold and he came into my room to warm up. At the time I was asleep and didn't know that he had licked me. Later I found that my face was very itchy and went to see the doctor, who suggested that the dog possibly licked some excrement before licking my face and this caused an allergic reaction. My dog is not allowed in my room now."

Niki is currently busy filming for TVB's new series "Scholar and Soldier" and she had to film a fight scene with the fight choreographer earlier, but she accidentally hit her opposite in the sensitive region with a stick. Filming yesterday, the choreographer refused to fight with her again, saying he did not want a repeat. Niki knew he was joking because she did not have a fight scene that day anyway. In the show, she plays a man and as her figure is 'rather flat', the director does not require her to wrap her breasts. However, the director did remind her that she needs pads to protect herself when she films the wire sceens. Niki will be working with Moses Chan in this series and she says confidently that she will not become involved in any rumours with him.

Niki also says that she was once asked to become a spokesperson for a breast enhancement product, but her manager refused it on the grounds that her figure was not suitable. She feels that with her figure, she would rather be flat-chested because if she were to enhance her breasts, she would have to lose some weight before she would consider it.


[The Sun, 2004-10-04]

Based on the huge success of "To Catch the Uncatchable", TVB has decided to turn it into a situation comedy and replace "Virtues of Harmony" when it is finished next year. Dayo Wong will still be the male lead, hoping to rewrite the magic ratings story of "War of Genders".

TVB was forced to air an alternate happy ending of "TCTU" due to viewers' overwhelming demand a while ago, and that shows just how popular and successful the serial was. Since the viewers have kept asking for a sequel, TVB finally decides to shoot "TCTU" again to continue the ratings success.

Dayo Wong and producer Tsui Jing Hong contributed a lot to "TCTU", and they were also behind "War of Genders" a few years ago. To guarantee a good result, they will remain as the lead actor and producer of the new "TCTU". In a rare move, TVB has changed it into a situation comedy (*special note: meaning it is not a sequel, but a regular series that goes for hundreds of episodes), and it will air after "Virtues of Harmony" comes to an end early next year.

The new "TCTU" will use the same cast as the old one. Dayo Wong is currently filming in mainland China, and to fit his schedules, "TCTU" won't start shooting until next March. This way, producer Tsui will also have plenty of time to get ready. The biggest problem right now is the female lead. Sitcoms are long-term projects by definition, so actors have to be readily available. Ada Choi is not sure if the new "TCTU" can fit into her busy schedules, so she is still considering, although she would love to say yes immediately.

As for the suggestion that Carol Cheng should be a part of the new project, TVB says the chance is too slim. The Sun contacted Carol yesterday, and she confirmed she would not take the offer. "I haven't heard anything yet. Even if they do give me the offer, I won't consider it. For one thing, I've tried sitcoms. For another, it will be my 30th year in the business next year. I've reached the phase where I only want to enjoy my life."

[Ta Kung Pao, 2004-10-04]

Louis Koo has been busy filming commercials lately. Attending a public event with Niki Chow last night, he said he read in the papers that the average longevity of Hong Kongers is the third highest in the world. He added it wasn't his goal to be 100 years old one day. He will be happy enough if he reaches 80.

Louis started filming a new Johnnie To movie two days ago. Other cast members of the film include Nick Cheung, Tony Leung (Ka Fai), Gordon Lam and Cherrie Ying. The film will have two parts, and Louis plays a courteous peace lover with a college degree. This character is very different from what he has tried before.

It is said that Louis may soon leave TVB after his contract expires. Asked about it last night, Louis said his contract would expire by the end of the year, and TVB did contact him for a possible renewal. "I did not ask for a better salary, nor did I ask to stay away from ancient serials. The main problem was how long I would be bound by the contract. My last one was five years. I hope the new one can be cut to two years. The company wants me to shoot one serial next year."Louis said.

As for the rumors that he will start his own company and he wants Ronnie to be his manager again, Louis says he wants to settle his contract with TVB first, and there is no time to think about other stuff right now. He stresses he did have a pleasant time working with Ronnie when he was still in TVB. Why didn't he ask Ronnie to stay? Louis said he had a discussion with Ronnie, but Ronnie made up his mind to leave TVB and see the outside world.


[Ta Kung Pao, 2004-10-04]

After "War And Beauty", TVB's grand production "Split Second" is scheduled to start airing tognight. The cast members, including Alex Fong, Patrick Tam, Kevin Cheng, Yoyo Mung and Claire Yiu, took part in a promotional game yesterday. They were required to describe their characters in thirty seconds. Whoever failed would have two balloons burst right beside them. Turned out Alex was the big loser, and he could take someone to suffer with him. He picked Yoyo, although she begged him not to. To get back, Yoyo poked fun at Alex and revealed he went out for a massage during shooting. Alex then replied Yoyo went gambling.

Alex is confident "Split Second" will do well, and he jokes it's almost like "Richard Gere vs. Johnny Depp". It's well known that Alex is the "Eastern Richard Gere", but who's the "Eastern Johnny Depp"? Alex says it's Patrick and he's a good actor. He adds that Patrick is the kind of actor who only decides how to act a certain scene out at the last minute, but Alex likes it that way. Asked who is the better actor of the two, Alex says older audience might like him more, as he has kids in "Split", and he does everything to protect them. As for "Split" lacking rumors which helped "War" become more popular, Alex jokingly replies he acted like a producer during shooting, and decided to add or cut scenes on his own, so all the other cast members hated him.

Although Yoyo is often the victim of Alex's pranks, they are very much in sync on one issue. They both think the popularity of a show has nothing to do with rumors. Yoyo says "War" did have a lot of rumors when it started airing, but as the story progressed, people switched their attention to the plot and the acting, and this goes to show that the most important popularity factor is the quality of the production after all.


[Ta Kung Pao, 2004-10-04]

It was Anne Heung's birthday the day before yesterday. Since she had to film for a special "Hong Kong's celebration of the 55th Chinese National Holiday" program, her manager and colleagues bought a cake for her and celebrated the birthday in Hong Kong Coliseum. Anne laughs, "I was so touched I almost wanted to cry". She bought a car as the gift for herself.


[Wen Wei Po & Ta Kung Pao, 2004-10-04]

Nick Cheung, Gordon Lam and Leo Ku attended the swearing ceremony for a charity walk to collect money for education yesterday.

Since Nick showed up without Esther Kwan, people started to guess that Esther might be pregnant. Nick denied, and explained she was too busy to make it. He said they would later participate in the walk together, and there was no need to speculate anything. Nick has also confessed he wants to become a father very much, but right now, he needs to find sponsors from mainland China to support this charity event.

Gordon is very enthusiastic about this cause, and so far he has collected more than 40,000 dollars. Because of his work schedules, he is not sure what part of the walk he can cover, but he will definitely take part in the swearing ceremony in Beijing on Oct. 10.

All three guys have been paying close attention to "War and Beauty", and they agree Sheren Tang is the favorite to take the female lead award this year. They think Yu Fei is a very challenging role, and Sheren has nailed the character.


Sunday, October 03, 2004

[The Sun, 2004-10-03]

The grand finale of "War And Beauty" drew in a lot of viewers, including fellow TVB actors and actresses! "Split Second", which will be aired after "War", held its own dinner party last night. Producer Law Wing Yin, cast members Alex Fong, Yoyo Mung and others watched the finale of "War" first, and then watched a special titled "The Making of 'Split Second'". Alex and girlfriend Rebecca Mok (Ho Yan) showered Charmaine Sheh and Sheren Tang with praises. As a self-proclaimed loyal fan of "War", Alex said, "Charmaine's acting has improved tremendously! Yee Shun was made to be her character. She played it so well."As for Yoyo Mung, she found Sheren's acting to be most impressive.

Although "Split" will be aired after "War" and the pressure can be intimidating, Alex and Yoyo are both confident and believe "Split" will receive good ratings as well. Producer Law says, "It's good that 'Split' will be aired next. 'War' is a show about ladies, and 'Split' is a show about gentlemen. The balancing arrangement is perfect!"

The new serial "Yu Yung Han Yan" also held a dinner party last night, with producer and cast members watching the grand finale of "War" together. Adam Cheng said his friend Sheren should be the favorite to take the female lead award this year. He also said he would support Maggie Cheung, as they had previously worked together.


[Ta Kung Pao, 2004-10-03]

"Shine On You" is "Housewife Killer" Michael Tao's first serial after returning to TVB, and it has received pretty good ratings and reviews so far. Michael feels relieved, as he knows his popularity dropped drastically after he left TVB. It's worth congratulating that he is popular once again.

"I've been away for many years, and I was worried that the audience forgot about me. When I took the "Shine" project, I was only hoping that they could still remember me. Now with the good ratings, it proves that I'm not forgotten. This is the most important thing, and it makes me happy."

Does Michael hope he'll win an award this year, so that he can solidify his position in TVB? Michael says everybody wants to win, but it comes down to fate. If you are destined to win, you will get the award eventually. He then confirms he will continue shooting whether he gets an award or not. Asked what roles he wants to try the most, Michael says it is hard to say. He needs a script first. He will then see what messages a certain character brings, and finally decide if he can make something postive out of the role.

Now that "Shine" does well in ratings, has TVB given him other projects? Michael admits Producer Lee Tin Sing is trying to cast him in a new serial scheduled to start shooting in November. Currently, Michael is also filming in Shanghai. He laughingly explains he's rather greedy, as he hopes both projects will go well. One can bring him a lot of money, the other can help to keep his popularity in Hong Kong, and both are very important. "I'm still young, not afraid of hard work." He smiles.

Actually, even if Michael doesn't get to shoot Tin Sing's new serial, he still needn't worry about losing his popularity. His "Blossoming Hearts" hasn't aired yet, and he's confident it will do well.

"Shine" has a theme of school life. Although it's been a long time since Michael was in school, he still clearly remembers what happened when he was a student. "My school life could be summarized in one word: BORING. Our principal did not allow us to be naughty or goof around. We coudln't even speak freely. I once got scolded for taking a break and playing basketball. The teachers were all very serious, and I never felt learning was fun. Consequently, I didn't do very well."

Michael knows students nowadays get a lot of outdoor activities, and the relationship between teachers and students is nothing like what it was before. They usually care about each other like friends, and that makes Michael rather envious. Asked whether he had a crush on one of his teachers before, Michael laughs, "Of course I did! I believe many people have had this experience. My crush was our Chinese teacher. I always wanted to see her, and always paid extra attention in her class. As a result, my Chinese got a lot better. Unfortunately, good teachers never stayed long. She soon left the school, and my crush came to an end."

During his student days, Michael's best subjects were maths and P.E. Because of his unpleasant memory of the school life, he never thought about being a teacher one day. Instead, he always wanted to be an actor. Obviously, he didn't make the wrong choice, or the audience would not be able to enjoy his glamour on screen.

(Special report by San San)


[Ta Kung Pao & Wen Wei Po, 2004-10-03]

TVB held the special "War And Beauty" charity dinner in Tsuen Wan last night as the grand finale aired. With the entrance fee of one hundred dollars per person, TVB successfully collected 141,200 dollars for the charity cause.

All the cast members were present, except for Maggie Cheung, who was busy filming in mainland China. Although it was rather cold yesterday, most actresses appeared in sexy attires, showing arms or waist. Gigi Lai and Bowie Lam even showed up holding hands, pushing the atmosphere to a high.

Asked about the rumors that TVB might shoot a prequel to "War", Charmaine Sheh seemed very surprised. "Really? Does that mean we'll have a chance to play young girls again?" As for why Maggie was absent, Charmaine answered, "She's probably filming in mainland China." Does that mean they won't have a chance to make nice to each other? "There will always be chances." Charmaine said. She also dismissed the theory that "War" was so popular because it reflected the current society very well. "Yes, there's a lot of cheating and backstabbing in real society, but you don't always kill other people to solve your problems."

Sheren Tang earlier said she hadn't given much thought about winning "My Favorite Lead Actress" award this year, but she seemed to take her words back. She won the "Extraordinary Actress" award last year, and many people thought it automatically wiped out the chance of next year's "Favorite Lead Actress" award, but Sheren indicated she wanted to break this tradition.

As for the lovey-dovey pair, Gigi laughingly explained she held Bowie's hands because he gave her a sense of security. What about her prince charming? Gigi said she was not in a hurry to find one. Currently, she has plenty of pursuers. One rich guy has bought her very expensive presents. Gigi tries to send them back, but he won't take them.

Bowie admitted he wanted to win "My Favorite Lead Actor" award this year, and was quite confident about his chance. He even said if "War" wins all the major awards at this year's anniversary show, he will immediately get married.

Talking about the chance of a prequel, producer Chik Kei Yi said he would leave the decision to TVB. If they indeed decide to shoot it, audience needn't worry about cast members being too old for their teenage characters. Chik said the prequel could use a different cast, like the prequel to the hit movie "Infernal Affairs".


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