Thursday, September 28, 2006

[Ta Kung Pao & Wen Wei Po 29/09/06]

"Changing Times" Press Conference - Celebrating 10th Anniversary of Hong Kong's Return to China

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China next year, TVB has joined forces with China Central Television (CCTV) to film a sixty-episode series entitled "Changing Times". To mark this event, a special press conference was held in a hotel yesterday and as well as a special contract signing ceremony by TVB General Manager Stephen Chan and China International Television Managing Director's Aide Feng Run Sheng, the event was attended by cast members including Damian Lau, Gigi Wong, Michael Miu, Jessica Hsuan, Sheren Tang, Charmaine Sheh, Myolie Wu, Ron Ng, Raymond Lam and Toby Leung. The series will be filmed in Hong Kong and the mainland as well as on location in Canada.

The story is centred around the development of China's Motor industry and will be aired simultaneously on TVB, CCTV and many other Chinese channels around the world in October next year. Sheren plays a rich lady in the show and she sought out a jewellery sponsor especially for yesterday's event and she turned out wearing diamonds worth over $1 million. Asked whether she will be wearing her own items for filming, she says: "Jewellery is too expensive, so I hope to have a sponsor. As for clothes and shoes, then I may be using some of my own things."

After working opposite Toby previously in "Men in Pain", Ron is happy that they will be able to build up their chemistry again quickly, but he does not know if they will have any kissing scenes yet. Talking of his limited Mandarin abilities and his earlier embarrassment, he is glad that all his lines will be presented in Cantonese. Toby's character will be spanning from her teens up to her thirties, showing different periods of her life, so she has had a special haircut for the show. Working with a strong cast and being the newest kid on the block, is she worried about the comments that she has been given this opportunity because of her father, TVB Drama Department Assistant Director Tommy Leung? She says: "I am used to it now, he is my father after all, so I can't cut all my ties with him."

Recent magazine reports have suggested that Charmaine has split with her rumoured boyfriend Benny Chan, but when she was asked about this, she smiled: "We were never dating, so how could we split? I would like to know too, can you find out which magazine it was?" Asked if the reports stem from her not seeing him much lately, she immediately cut the question short and said: "I have finished now!". As for whether this news of their split means they will not be linked again in the press, she smiles: "It that so? If it is, that would be good. (Then people can go ahead and woo you?) So for their help, I should really thank the magazine." Charmaine says that she does have pursuers, but they are not very assertive: "I am not young any more and I do wish to date and get married. (Have your criteria changed for a partner?) Just the normal things a girl looks for, ambition and filial piety."

Jessica has had her hair cut short for this series and she says frankly that she was a little reluctant to cut the hair that she has been growing for several years. Whilst working in Singapore, her old pet dog died from illness and she was faced with a death of a loved one for the first time in her life. She says: "I never imagined that it would be just five days after I arrived when I heard about his death. Fortunately, some people from an abandoned animal charity helped me to arrange his cremation and his ashes are stored at my home." Jessica's other dog, which is 14 years old is developing signs of senility so she is preparing herself mentally for his departure. Jessica herself has been suffering from illness recently because she has been diagnosed with helicobacter pylori, but she has been fighting this with medication. She says of her bad luck: "This is what happens when your zodiac sign is at odds with the gods." Asked if she will be reducing her output because of her health, she says: "I have already reduced my work over the last few years, just taking on 20 episode series and giving myself a rest every couple of months. Although this is a long series, there are plenty of other stars, so it should not be too hard. It is a rare opportunity to work with CCTV, so I have taken on this project."


[Ta Kung Pao 29/09/06]

Steven Ma is a Large Pig

Steven Ma and Shirley Yeung were filming a drowning scene for new series "Predicting Fate" yesterday. The story tells of Shirley being married in name only to Benny Chan, but when her romance with Steven is found out, they are picked out as being unfaithful and punished by being drowned in pig baskets.

Filming at the beach yesterday, the heat was unbearable and after being exposed to the baking sun all day, it was very hard for them both. Steven says: "The basket was small and the wood had splinters that were quite painful. Drowning in pig baskets is very inhumane and was a great humiliation. However, I have never filmed anything like this before and being carried and then lying inside gave me a rest, so it was quite good fun." The crew found the biggest basket available from the prop department, but after twisting in, he still found it very tight and restrictive. "Only after trying it today have I realised what a large pig I am." he laughs.

In order to avoid Steven and Shirley suffering from sunburn, the lighting crews would help to cover them up in between takes. Seeing the lighting assistant wearing his sunglasses, Steven asked for his own glasses too, saying he wanted to play an "Ancient James Bond in a Pig Basket". Brian Wong and the other cast all laughed that even in death he was living it up, but Steven and the others did not have the assistance to help shield the sun, they would have become 'roast pigs' instead! Shirley had also prepared a parasol to avoid being burned by the sun.


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