The “A Fist Within Four Walls” stars talks about his ailing father and his mother’s sacrifice. The past 20 years for Benjamin did not come easy.
Moses Chan’s (陳豪) very first TVB drama was 2000’s Healing Hands II <妙手仁心II>, seventeen years ago. The past two decades have been filled with highs and lows for Moses, but no matter how hard the struggles may be, it is always important to keep an open mindset and chase for happiness.
“Sometimes, you won’t be in your best shape,” said the TV King. “Sometimes, you’ll even come across a role where you’ve played before. These circumstances happen all the time. I would tell myself that no matter what happens, I must give 99 percent. I have to try my best to do my part.”
Moses: “TVB is Learning Center”
In 2017’s Line Walker: The Prelude <使徒行者2>, Moses played Victor Ngai, an educated, bone-chilling triad boss who is also the show’s main antagonist. Moses’ last villain role was 2012’s Master of Play <心戰>, in which he played a serial killer.
Moses admitted that he originally had a different take on portraying Victor. He envisioned the role to look much more menacing, with a tattoo-ridden body. Though his suggestions were ultimately not considered, Moses still had complete trust and respect for the production crew: “I should use this opportunity to challenge myself. After all, I’ve learned so much from this learning center [TVB], and I wanted to see how far my learning has come. I wanted to test my limits.”
Currently, Moses is starring alongside Bobby Au-yeung (歐陽震華) in the TVB anniversary drama My Ages Apart <誇世代>. The role is very different from Victor, and Moses considers it to be another acting challenge.
Unlike many of his acting peers, Moses never struggled to break character. Method acting is a good technique to train skill, but Moses advises rookie actors to use it with caution. “It’s not a bad idea, but you must know how to use it. Unless the script is very detailed with the character, it is understandable to do so. If everything just scratches the surface, putting yourself into such a deep situation can put you at a disadvantage.”
Asking if he had felt extreme pressure trying to keep cool for his role in Line Walker, Moses laughed and said, “Not really! The primary purpose of my character was to meet girls anyways. Killing people was only secondary! It was okay!”
Family Dictates His Career Direction
Most actors of Moses’ generation have already left TVB to challenge other acting industries, but when asked if Moses would do the same and eventually leave the station one day, he gave a very ambiguous response.
“I am always looking for opportunities to develop myself,” he said. “There are many things to do outside, and it would always make me think if I should hold onto that opportunity. I’ve put a lot of thought into it. Right now, I’m looking for what would suit my family the best.” Moses added that he would always keep a happy and positive mindset, saying, “I always hold onto happy and positive thoughts whenever I do things. There’s nothing that is impossible to get out of. It’s important to learn how to consider things in all angles. Consult more people and ask more questions, then analyze them.”
When considering his past seventeen years at TVB, Moses said he had worked on many productions that were worth treasuring and remembering. “From my first TVB drama Healing Hands, to my first costume drama Where the Legend Begins <洛神>, and then to a comedy like Family Man <絕世好爸>. They were all huge turning points of my life.” Moses is also thankful of his teachers at TVB, including producers Catherine Tsang (曾勵珍), Jonathan Chik (戚其義), Lau Ka-ho (劉家豪), and Miu Siu-ching (梅小青).
Raising a Family of Five
In 2013, Moses married his Master of Play costar Aimee Chan (陳茵媺). The couple have three children, all under two years apart. An involved father and a loving husband, Moses expressed the importance of keeping children active. “Learning doesn’t just end at education. There are many things that the kids have to catch up on, which is why I highly recommend kids to take up an after school activity, such as sports.”
Asking if Moses would enroll his children in overseas schools, Moses said, “It’s something that we’re going to eventually do. Right now, I really want them to spend more time in Hong Kong to learn their Chinese well.” Both Moses and Aimee were educated overseas—Moses attended college in Australia, while Aimee is native to Canada.
Though Moses is very involved with his children, he hopes to be able to avoid becoming a “monster parent.” He said, “The environment of this society creates monster parents. It’s not that we want to be monsters—we’re all just learning how to survive in this educational system. Every parent would want their children to get into good schools, and these schools want to accept more kids with different backgrounds, so parents are pressured to keep their kids competitive. They want them to learn faster so they’re guaranteed to meet their target. Honestly, I prefer taking a more relaxed approach to educating my children so they learn things at their own pace, but on the day of [school] interviews, an unprepared child would encounter 20 to 50 other prepared children. That is when you truly know who is in the winning side.”
Though he only had two dramas released in 2017, Moses did not purposely try to decrease his workload. “My work has always been managed by TVB. Nowadays, I film only two to three dramas a year. It’s just a coincidence that Line Walker and My Ages Apart came out at around the same time. I don’t expect myself to do less work, but on important days, like my kids’ birthdays or schooldays, I expect myself to be available for them.”
With three young kids close in age, Moses and Aimee would sometimes have disagreements, but their children comes first no matter what. Moses added that it’s also important to maintain their husband and wife relationship. “Many couples disregard this after having kids, but sacrifices and compromises must be made for each other. Keeping that love and fire for each other is important.”
There is never a boring moment for Moses and Aimee with three kids. Moses pointed out that the most ideal situation is for both Moses and Aimee to take turns working. Once the kids grow older, Moses and Aimee can then spend more time with each other.
Besides his acting career, Moses also had forays into the coffee and dessert business. He hopes that his knowledge of coffee brewing could open up a new career for him. He has shared his intentions to open another coffee shop.
Asking if Moses prefers his children to join the entertainment industry or to manage his coffee business, Moses laughed and said, “Then that would be something for them to decide. I cannot tell them what to do for their future. I can only help them build their foundation—as for what they want to do for their own future, I will leave that to them. They need to constantly learn how to challenge failures and loneliness. As a parent, my job is to train them to become independent.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
With 2017 almost coming to an end, it is time to start reflecting on the results of TVB’s 50th television season. If there was any lesson to be learned at all, 2017 has taught us that blockbuster productions do not necessarily mean it would win the hearts of the masses, and that lower-budget dramas should not be swept under the rug.
As of today, three of TVB’s top-rated dramas of the year are locally-produced, smaller productions that were never meant to be promoted as big series. Coming fourth on the list is the recently-aired The Exorcist’s Meter <降魔的>, starring Kenneth Ma (馬國明), Mandy Wong (黃智雯), Hubert Wu (胡鴻鈞), and Moon Lau (劉佩玥). The Exorcist’s Meter, a horror drama about a taxi driver who can see supernatural beings, averaged 24.75 rating points per episode, putting it as the fourth most-watched television drama of the 2017 TV season thus far. The Exorcist’s Meter was never meant to be promoted as an anniversary drama, but after a successful premiere episode and an even more successful first week, The Exorcist’s Meter eventually followed the footsteps of Line Walker: The Prelude <使徒行者2>, becoming a kickstarter for TVB’s 50th anniversary season. The Exorcist’s Meter underperformed when it aired its final episode on a Sunday, but the random switch in broadcast date was to blame.
The third most-watched television drama of the year is Tiger Mom Blues <親親我好媽>, which aired in the beginning of the year. Starring Ben Wong (黃智賢), Elena Kong (江美儀), Sharon Chan (陳敏之), and a special starring appearance by Michelle Yim (米雪), Tiger Mom Blues averaged 25 rating points when it aired in February. The show is also responsible for pushing Matthew Ho (何廣沛) to stardom—the rookie actor is now leading TVB’s next generation of siu sangs, and is co-starring a drama with Joe Ma (馬德鐘). Tiger Mom Blues was not produced with a big budget, and it also went through a controversial production phase, but it won the audiences with its heartwarming script and talented cast.
Second place is A General, a Scholar, and a Eunuch <超時空男臣>, a time traveling comedy about three Ming Dynasty court officials who were warped into modern-day Hong Kong as they go on a search for their lost princess. Starring Edwin Siu (蕭正楠), Raymond Cho (曹永廉), and Matthew Ho, A General was both a ratings hit and a trending series when it aired in Hong Kong this past summer. It averaged 26.8 points.
Number one on TVB’s most-watched list is no other than The Unholy Alliance <同盟>, the answer to last year’s A Fist Within Four Walls <城寨英雄>. Created by Four Walls producer Jazz Boon (文偉鴻), the martial arts drama saw TV King and Queen duo Ruco Chan (陳展鵬) and Nancy Wu (胡定欣) returning as the lead stars, costarring Film Queen Nina Paw (鮑起靜) in her first TVB drama. The Unholy Alliance easily defeated all other TVB dramas that aired this year, averaging 28 ratings points during its broadcast run. It was not produced with a high budget, but its connection with Four Walls definitely helped with the promotion.
On the other hand, big-budget dramas and carefully-crafted productions like My Unfair Lady <不懂撒嬌的女人> and the co-production Line Walker: The Prelude failed to outrun its local competitors. My Unfair Lady received praises on all fronts—the high-budget camerawork and no-studio filming style definitely earned many praises from critics, but it averaged only 24 points during its broadcast run. The show did, however, give Jessica Hsuan (宣萱) her first TV Queen honor since 1999’s Detective Investigation Files IV <刑事偵緝檔案IV>.
Though led by respected veteran actor Michael Miu (苗僑偉) and popular idol Pakho Chau (周柏豪), Line Walker: The Prelude failed to reach expectations. Despite being a co-production with China’s Penguin Pictures, Line Walker: The Prelude averaged only 24 points during its run. It also failed to catch the same attention in China as its 2014 predecessor.
Can you think of any other examples of successful low-budget TVB dramas?
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
At the TVB Star Awards Malaysia 2017 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on November 25, Jessica Hsuan (宣萱) won My Favorite TVB Actress (also known as Malaysia’s TV Queen) for her performance in My Unfair Lady <不懂撒嬌的女人>, making it her first leading actress award since 1999. This puts Jessica in the race for the anticipated TV Queen award in the upcoming TVB Anniversary Awards, which will be held in January 2018.
Having starred in two well-known dramas this year, Jessica’s asking price soared, and she earned over seven figures this year from endorsement and appearance jobs alone. Reportedly, the effects of Jessica’s win were immediate, and the actress’ asking price would continue to rise.
In a quick interview with the press after coming back to Hong Kong from Malaysia, Jessica was asked if got a raise. “I already got a raise before,” she said with a laugh. “This is my first time working with [my new manager] Ronnie, and he has helped me adjust [the price] a bit. Actors like us have seafood prices.”
Asking Jessica if she would be willing to sign or renew a contract for an award, she immediately said, “I would not do that. If you give the award to me, I’ll be happy, but if you don’t, I’ll be fine. I’ll just continue to work. There’s no point of doing something like that. The award would lose its meaning and I also won’t be happy if I win it.”
Would Jessica be celebrating her win with fellow cast members? “No time!” she said. “I have to fly back to Hengdian tomorrow to film another drama. Right now I need to run to the supermarket to buy my necessities!”
In related news, Jessica’s costar in Line Walker: The Prelude <使徒行者2>, Michael Miu (苗僑偉), won My Favorite TVB Actor for his performance on the show. It was Michael’s first TV King award in his four-decade career.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
Priscilla Wong will take an acting course to improve her acting skills.
In the currently airing Line Walker: The Prelude <使徒行者2>, Moses Chan‘s (陳豪) portrayal as a triad kingpin is one-dimensional and dull. This deeply contrasts with Moses’ previous performances in Heart of Greed <溏心風暴> and War and Beauty <金枝慾孽>, which solidified him as a capable actor. Is Moses’ dull performance in recent roles a reflection of a declining passion in his acting?
As Moses only films one TVB series per year in order to focus on his coffee shop and spend more time with wife Aimee Chan (陳茵媺) and their three children, some viewers believe that Moses may no longer be prioritizing his acting career.
As though to address his recent poor performances, Moses took an indirect jab at TVB in a recent episode of Luisa Maria Leitao’s (黎芷珊) talk show, Telling Maria <最佳拍檔>. He cited the production crew for their lack of preparation, poor script, and time management.
Moses said, “Actually, I’ve always said this. It’s not about how far I can go. It is more about how profound a character can be written. As an actor, I can go as in-depth as you want, but it depends on how extensive the character is written.
“Also, how much time will they allow me to do prep work? Take a movie for example. If you give the actor enough time to get into character and spend enough time to elaborate on the internal world of the character, there is a lot an actor can achieve.”
Moses added that he felt that TVB’s the standards for acting performances have declined in recent years. “In a television [drama], I think the expectations these days are not very high. To be honest, even if you can go in-depth with the acting, but you will not feel it onscreen. Why? Because [the scene] won’t be portrayed on a deep level, so I always say it depends on the drama’s requirements.”
As a lead actor, should Moses attribute his performance to the lack of support from the production crew and staff? Should he have the responsibility to give his best efforts despite a poor script and sometimes imperfect co-star? Does Moses realize that his attitude may impact viewers’ perception of an entire television station or even other actors in the industry? Many people say that Hong Kong dramas are dying, and if artistes share Moses’ attitude, then it is a matter of time before this becomes a reality.
This article is written by Huynh for JayneStars.com.
“Line Walker: The Prelude” spoilers are being shared online.