Sunday, May 28, 2006

I Want to be Beautiful like the Flowers.... Power Chan

[Easy Finder 26/04/06]

"Bar Benders" reached ratings points of 33 points as the story told of the female lead Leila Tong rejecting the male leading role Sammul Chan's advances in favour of dating Power Chan's character, who is less advantageous in terms of age and appearance.

We will not explore how the story goes on from there, but for Power to beat Sammul and win the girl's heart, for Power in real life, this is a big win, for he has always just been a supporting part.

Originally - maybe everyone has forgotten, but Power is a graduate from drama school (Academy of the Performing Arts) and when he first entered showbiz, he won the Golden Horse award for Best Supporting Actor in 1989 for his role in "Thank You Sir" and also took on some not so good leading roles in films. Even though his television series just keep going and going, he has always been a good actor in the hearts of the producers and viewers.

If he continues to work hard for another ten years, he will be like Liu Kai Chi and become raised to the lofty respect of Supporting Actor King, but Power is not satisfied with this: "I am still waiting to be the flower, I know I still have the opportunity."

In the same realm, but power is not Liu Kai Chi or Hui Siu Hung; from the same roots, but he can never be Anthony Wong or Francis Ng, but for 38-year-old Power, he still wants to be the blossom one more time and see how widely he can bloom.

Little Character

Power Chan's appearance is respectable, his stature is slight, but without affecting his dignity, he is no handsome dish.

If he was a normal person, this is not a big problem, just getting by with what you have. However, in the world of showbiz, if you are tall, handsome and stylish, then you will still be in fashion when you reach Adam Cheng's age; for Power, in his seventeenth year in the industry, he still believes that one day he can peel away his greenery costume and transform himself into that beautiful and attractive bloom that doesn't last forever.

Is he a little naive?

"I have been a flower before!" he argues as the props are prepared for his photoshoot and Power is asked to strike a pose.

Seventeen years in the industry, forty-seven series and fifty movies. Power has played a plethora of little characters, supporting roles that are anchors to the show, but he has also been the lead, even if it is in films like "The Diary of the Canton Mass Murderer" and "The Tuen Mun Rapist".

"Pinnacle of my career? To be honest, I haven't reached it yet. As for the importance of my roles, I took the lead almost as soon as I entered the industry, so I am worse off now than I was then. I have never given up, I still want to fight and wait, wait to be a flower again. Why can't small people be leading roles? Look at Dustin Hoffman, he is short and plays small characters, but he is always the leading role; TVB's leading males are not all tall and handsome, doesn't Bobby Au Yeung have his own flair? In this industry, of course your appearance is limiting, but I don't feel disadvantaged by this, I have lost out on a bit of luck."

You wouldn't think of it, but the success of 'Ah Wong' would not have come to fruition if it wasn't for Power's portrayal of the mentally impaired 'Kai Kai' in "Golden Faith" causing the acceptance of the audience and inspiring the producers to film a series on this genre.

As a result, 'Ah Wong' jettisoned Roger Kwok back into stardom and Kai Kai's girlfriend in the show Myolie Wu has climbed the ladder to leading role, but Power is still in the same spot, this is purely down to luck.

"I can bravely say that if it wasn't Power Chan playing Kai Kai, then there would never have been 'Ah Wong'. For Ah Wong to take off, but me not in the role, there is nothing to moan about, I can live with the knowledge that if it wasn't for me, there would not be Ah Wong and that is enough!"

Supporting Male

There are many examples, such as Liu Kai Chi and Wayne Lai, who are happy to excel at being supporting actors, earning respect and a fair living and being content with this. Power says that he has a certain authority at TVB, with popular young idols such as Raymond Lam and Bosco Wong always coming to him first to ask for advice about scripts; on the same note, where directors would usually ignore suggestions from the cast, if the comment comes from Power, then the directors will give him attention.

Talking of acting talent, Power gives the best of his ability, but he is as strong-willed as everyone else when it comes to the question of the difference between leading and supporting role.

"Whether it is the leading role or the supporting role, it will not affect what I give to the show. Playing a deranged murderer, I will read up on the background information, because I want to understand the reflex of death; to play a gay man, I will go and look around the gay bars and find ways of channelling my affections for women into playing the role of courting a man; recently when I played a lawyer in 'Bar Benders', I went to the courts to listen to cases and to see how the lawyers dressed and conducted court cases. I respect acting, but this industry is very realistic and if you are a supporting actor, you still only have two episodes of work and less than 20% influence. From my view, this is a performance industry, not an entertainment industry. Twenty years ago, when I entered the Academy, King Sir (Chung King Fai) said that the reason for the Academy's founding was to raise the artistic profile in Hong Kong, this may not happen in ten or twenty years, but take it slowly and one or two generations will be good. This is the undertaking of us arts students."

For graduates of the Academy, most carry an air of artistic excellence associated with the institution. Take Anthony Wong for example, who is always picking out the unprofessional and making a fuss over it, upsetting many people.

"Today, I am not yet qualified to do this and even if I see people who aren't professional towards their work or do not perform well, I will not say anything, because if I do, it will raise fire. If one day I become like Anthony, playing top roles and receiving awards, then that is then regarded as critique! Only by gaining the admiration of the masses can you begin working to raise the artistic standards of Hong Kong."

Chauvinistic Man

In the studio, Power Chan's discussion about his acting and performance is defined and enthused. Quietly picking this all up over the three hours is the tape recorder and Mimi Lo, Power's girlfriend of four years.

As an artiste for seventeen years, he has not yet found his 'luck' on this front, but in 2002, whilst filming for "Lofty Water Verdant Bow" in yet another small character role, another kind of 'fate' befell Power.

"After dating for four years, we still like to stick together and I feel that this is a very fortunate thing. I keep saying we have to cherish who and what we have around us, especially love because you don't know if and when this will change, so you should express this more before it does. I am not a sweet and caring boyfriend who creates surprises, sometimes I will even forget her birthday, but I will be with her all the time, hold her hand, care for her and tell her that I love her.

"I am very chauvinistic, my views and beliefs will never be left to people around me to decide, but she will go along with me, agree with me and make me feel very comfortable. So wherever I go or whatever I do, I like her to be with me and I never feel the need to create my own private time."

It is said that for Power to change from the usual non-self-promoting to accepting this interview, it was Mimi's influence; arriving at the studio, I could see that through answering the phone, arranging the schedule, handling the reporters and choosing the clothes and poses, even as far as deciding whether to photograph or talk, all the decisions were made by Mimi and the one obeying was actually Power.

If it was to say in the world of the drama, Power is still set on becomng the flower, in real life, Power is happy to play the supporting role to Mimi's flower, who he is happy to leave in the limelight.

Perhaps Love

I asked about any memorable love snippets they had to share and they both said to love simply. They remembered that one day, Power changed the old gas cooker in their home and for Mimi who loves to cook, this made her very happy for a long time.

Looking peaceful, but after the interview, Power was due to go to the hospital for a brain scan to find the reason for his prolonged headaches: "It has been left for many years now, but I have decided to get it checked because I want to live longer than Mimi. Only by finding the reason and a cure can I live a little longer." Before he had finished speaking, Mimi was already in tears.

Love, does it need any further examples to explain?

Pictures and original text courtesy of www.mimilo.net.
You can also visit www.kwokpong.net for more information on Power.
Translation credit: Em @ TVBspace

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