Monday, January 15, 2007

[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 16/01/07]

"Jewel's Splendor" Press Conference

TVB's 80-episode grand production "Jewel's Splendor" held its costume fitting and press conference yesterday, attended by stars including Ada Choi, Gigi Lai, Maggie Shiu, Bowie Lam, Moses Chan, Wong He, Bosco Wong and Linda Chung among the cast that numbers around 50 people. Executives Stephen Chan, Virginia Lok and Catherine Tsang were also present. As the story revolves around diamonds, the producers have called in sponsorships of the jewellery in the show that totals nearly $50 million, weighing in at a massive 423.5 carats. At the event, Ada, Gigi and Maggie all modelled jewellery worth over $10 million each. Gigi was the most eyecatching as she had also been sponsored with a fiery red deep-V Valentino dress that showed off her best Love Goddess assets. For security purposes, the sponsors had also provided six or seven guards to protect the jewellery and TVB's own security team were also on hand to keep the peace, sending four guards into the studio to keep watch. This show will include location filming in Qingdao, Beijing, Shanghai, Thailand and London as well as the diamond minds in South Africa.

Gigi, Ada and Maggie will be playing three sisters in the show, slightly reflective of the renowned Song sisters from the past. They all portrayed very elegant images and each wore a set of jewellery that consisted of a necklace, earrings, rings and bracelet. Gigi's set was the most expensive, worth $13 million and was emphasised by her designer dress, showing the recognition given to her by TVB. She says: "The dress was arranged with the sponsors by the company and I only realised how sexy it was when it arrived this morning. With it being low cut and seethrough, this is the sexiest I have been in recent years. (You are the sexiest one here?) It has surpassed my usual limits, so after the photographs, I have to put on a jacket. (Are you worried about exposing yourself?) Very, so I have put a little tape on it. (You are stealing the show?) Don't say that, everyone else is looking stunning." As well as being sponsored a number of outfits for the show, she will also be receiving handbag sponsorship for the series, so she does not need to use her own personal items. As for the show being filmed in High Definition, she will have to keep her appearance on top form, so she says she has a lot of sponsors for beauty products to keep her looking ravishing and attractive. Asked if she is laying the road for the Best Actress award in 2008, she says she has not thought about this award and she is just going to enjoy her work day-by-day.

Ada's jewels for the day were worth $11.2 million and she says she felt very stunned and the 9 carat diamond on her hand was the size of an eyeball, but her black tube dress was a little disappointing. She says that the costumes were arranged by the company and as for Gigi stealing the show, Ada says: "I have a good figure, so whatever I wear will look good and this dress helps to show the splendour of the jewellery! The most important thing is that the three sisters all look gracious and elegant, like three large diamonds." In the show she plays a character who loves being in the limelight and is very vain and she ends up marrying Elliot Yue. Although there is a large difference in their age, she feels she can portray this so that it is convincing. In real life, does she have to marry a rich man? She says that love is all about being true and you cannot say that rich men are without love, but she just wants someone who is ambitious and cherishes her, that would already be perfect.

The jewellery for Maggie was worth $11.5 million and this is the first time she has worn such expensive jewellery, so she laughs that she is wearing an apartment on her body. She felt a mixture of happiness and fear, but she rarely buys herself diamonds because other people will buy them for her. She says: "One of my aunts managed to lose her entire diamond bracelet when she was playing Mah Jong. Fortunately she managed to find it. I don't really wear diamonds much myself." Asked if she was worried about being overshadowed by Gigi, she says: "Everyone has their own characters, she (Gigi) is very beautiful today."

With the focus on the millions of dollars worth of diamonds worn by the ladies, the male cast members such as Moses, Bowie, Bosco and Ah He were very much left in the background. Bosco wore a 2 carat diamond earring, but this was far overshadowed.

Recently there have been reports that Bosco was the third choice to sing the theme song to popular Korean series "My Girl" after Raymond Lam and Kenneth Ma. He denies this and says that they all went to try out for it that day and in the end they selected him. There have also been suggestions that record company BMA are no longer signing TVB artistes after the the 'problems' experienced with Ron Ng. Does Bosco feel that Ron has ruined things for him? He does not feel that this is the case and he does not think that Ron has a lot of issues. He has left his singing career to the company to organise for him and he is in no rush, because he has a lot of other work arranged.

As for the other recent news about his ex-girlfriend Carisa Yan signing to be a cosmetic surgery spokesperson, Bosco says: "I don't know. (Did you know that she had breast enhancements then?) I did not notice. (Do you mind people having implants?) I'm not sure. (Do you like big breasts?) Average, a balanced figure." As for often being asked about his ex-girlfriend, does he feel really bad? He says that it is only normal to be asked. Is he worried that his current girlfriend will be jealous? He immediately says: "I don't have a girlfriend now."

Moses also has his ears pierced, but he did not wear any diamonds like Bosco did. He jokes: "I am already a diamond (bachelor), just uncut." Talking of his rumoured girlfriend winning an award at Jade Solid Gold but then being criticised heavily, he smiles: "You are treading dangerously! (Your good friend is accused of being a fix?) Bernice was very happy to win the award and she sang and danced very well. A lot of people see her hard work and with awards, there will be those who are happy and those who are disappointed, but she really did do well and to win was a great encouragement. I will be happy for her. (Have you comforted her?) I have just returned from the mainland, so I have not seen her."

Bowie and Ah He have been rumoured to have fallen out whilst filming for "Homeland Beauty" ealrier, so with them appearing together for the first time yesterday, the press asked why they were standing apart from each other and not greeting one another. Bowie explained that they had said hello on the stage and he even passed him a script. Bowie says: "Ah He and I are okay, the animoscity is just gossip and I should have posed for a photo with him on the stage. (Would you feel awkward?) No, we should take the chance to clear things up." As for Ah He, he left as soon as the press conference had ended, but he also said that there is nothing between him and Bowie and all the falling out was made up by the press and did not come from him, so he does not feel awkward. He says: "When we had our morning meeting, I greeted him. (Are you worried that there will be more rumours of animoscity during filming?) Even if there are, they won't be from me."


[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 16/01/07]

Aimee Chan's Chances Slipping at MCI 2007

The 2007 Miss Chinese International Pageant will be taking place on Saturday in Foshan and the twenty-one contestants met the judges for the first time yesterday. The panel will include TVB artistes Charmaine Sheh, Steven Ma, Sonija Kwok and Roger Kwok. They all say that they will not show any favouritism towards the Hong Kong representative Aimee Chan and will score fairly.

The girls have returned to Hong Kong after their promotional tour of Foshan and Aimee seemed rather tired at the meeting, that may have lost her some points with the judges. She says that she is very robust and she is not nervous and she is becoming more and more excited as the event draws near. The contestants have all been busy rehearsing and trying their costumes, hoping to give a great show and Aimee will also be catching up on some sleep over the next few days. Does she feel she is at an advantage as the Hong Kong representative? She says that although she worked with Roger on location when she took part in Miss Hong Kong, she does not feel that this will benefit her. Melbourne's Jenifer Jiang is the youngest contestant this year at only 18 years old, but she says she has no pressure and is having a lot of fun. She says that everyone else are like big sisters and there is no-one picking on her.

This is the first time that Charmaine has been a judge at a beauty pageant and she had a chat with each of the contestants at the press event. She says that she is interested in the level of knowledge that the contestants have on Chinese Culture and she says that to be themselves is already enough because to be natural is the most beautiful. However, Charmaine did not reveal her favourites because this is unfair and she just said that she will judge fairly and seriously and will show no favouritism. Sonija felt the girls had great figures and asked if she felt that Aimee seemed a little lacklustre, she says that a lot of it is down to your own drive and determination. When she took part in MCI, she was unwell, but she still managed to win the award and the hard work paid off. She also says that she will not give extra points to the Hong Kong representative because she has to be fair.

Steven says frankly that he will be able to watch the pretty girls openly and although he offered his hand to shake with Aimee, he insists that he will not be so generous with his points. He feels that the most important thing about MCI is for the contestants to learn a little more about China and to not even know when the country was formed is unacceptable. He prefers the contestants that look 'traditionally Chinese'. Of course, to look tidy is also important. Roger worked with Aimee in Korea during the Miss Hong Kong pageant, so he has a deeper impression of her, but he will not be biased.

The MC's for the show will be Eric Tsang and Derek Li. Singing star Eric Moo will also be the guest MC. When Derek was introducing the contestants onto the stage, he caused a few laughs when he introduced Number 12 Sarah Song from Sydney as 'number 12 contender'. With jokes that he was no good, he said humbly: "I am the worst, the girls and the judges are the best."


[The Sun 16/01/07]

Leila Tong Prefers Waiter Look to Elegant Lady

In the mainland production "The Last Princess", Leila will be playing her character from the age of 16 to 30 and so will have many different looks through the series, including an elegant lady, wearing chipaos and being a bride. She says excitedly: "All the feminine images are very beautiful, but the costumes are too intricate and I am very afraid to walk around. The waiter outfit allows me to rush around and makes me feel more free. (Dressing as a man, you have to bind your breasts?) I don't find it hard, this is an advantage of being flat-chested. When I was younger, I had to play a young Leslie Cheung in one film and it was good fun."

As she will be working in Hengdian where it is freezing, she has to prepare plenty of warm packs every morning, but the wide sleeved costumes leave her susceptable to the cold wind: "The top layer is too wide and the skirt is very big, so the cold wind gets into those spaces."


[Ming Pao 16/01/07]

Touching Moment on 'Deal or No Deal' Pulls in the Ratings for TVB

There were ups and downs for TVB's ratings last week, among them was "Deal or No Deal" aired on Sunday. The contestant Lo King Yin did not take the $3 million prize, winning just $16000 in the end, which was not enough for her blind boyfriend Chung Si Wang to go for an operation on his eyes in America, but he proposed to her in front of millions of viewers and won himself a bride instead. Ratings raised by 1 point to 27 points, with over 1.7 million viewers watching the show.

The gossip-ridden Jade Solid Gold awards on Saturday pulled in an average of 26 points, around 1.68 million viewers. "The Brink of Law" had a first week average of 27 points, a whole 7 points down on the "Dicey Business" finale of last week. "Is that Right" also fell by 7 points to an average of 20 points, losing 450,000 viewers.


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