TVBE Clip (090415)
"Scoop" Clip (091015)
Hong Kong TVB actors Kenneth Ma and Natalie Tong spoke to Hello Asia! at the TVB Australia Carnival 2015.
Welcome to Sydney! What is your impression of Sydney so far? Is this your first time in Australia?
K: This actually isn’t my first time here. I’ve been here 2-3 times before. But every time it’s been for work-related purposes so I haven’t really been able to come here for touristy purposes. It’s a very clean place with lots of fresh air. For me, I really like the weather – the weather is a bit like Vancouver. It’s not too cold or hot and it’s dry. I don’t like the heat so Hong Kong is actually too hot for me.
N: Hi Sydney! It’s my first time here. Because I’m here for work I haven’t walked around many places. I went out and walked around a bit. My impression of Sydney is that it’s very beautiful – the weather is very good and when I was walking I saw old architecture mixed in with new architecture. So I want to see more of these kinds of buildings. When I came here today, it was very ‘wow’ because it’s difficult to find such a large and open space like this in Hong Kong, let alone a carnival. So I was really happy to come here and I want to come again.
What’s your involvement in today’s TVB Carnival?
N: We’re here today to participate in a carnival.
N: So we’ll do performances.
K: We hope that we can play some games too. The most important thing is that we want to have more of a connection with the audience here in Sydney.
N: Yes, because I do know that many fans do watch Anywhere and our dramas but we can only meet them maybe once every few years (if that) so we want to use this opportunity to have a deeper connection with them.
Natalie, out of your previous dramas which role did you enjoy the most? Is there a character you would like to play in the future?
N: The character that has had the deepest impression on me up until now is Ah Ying from ‘A Fistful of Stances’. I also previously filmed ‘The Hatred of Love’, where I played a mentally ill person. I also like this character. It was a challenging character to play. So when filming, there was a great sense of satisfaction.
I want to play a villain. I haven’t played a villain before. Because I don’t look like one. So I want to have this experience.
Natalie, your last TVB drama was ‘Raising the Bar’, where you played a character called Ashley Cheng – can you talk about the drama and the character?
N: The character Ashley from ‘Raising the Bar’ is actually very different from me. She’s a very cool girl that keeps a lot to herself. She is more mature - she’s actually a barrister. So when I was filming I actually followed around a barrister for a month. I realised that being a barrister requires having to perform – like every time they see a client or when they appear in court, they need to act. So I realised ‘wow, this is what it’s like’. So I felt that the lawyer really helped me during the filming and gave me lots of opinions and information. Even amongst all the dramas that I’ve filmed it was still a character that I hadn’t tried before. It was quite different. Did you watch it?
K: I’m not used to seeing you play such a mature character.
Kenneth, what about you? Which character did you enjoy playing the most? Is there a character that you would like to play?
K: If we’re talking about all the dramas that I’ve done, there are a couple that I like. But usually I have to like the script first. If I like the script and think the character’s been well-written I will like the drama or character. So Ku Yue Tong from ‘A Fistful of Stances’, I really like that one. Also Cheung Yat Kin from ‘The Hippocratic Crush’. Because I think the drama has a well-written script. There are some dramas that I’ve filmed that haven’t been released yet so there are some that I like from those too, like ‘Rogue Emperor’. I think the script is really good and I really like it. In terms of the future, I’ve already been acting for a long time. So it’s not so much having any particular kinds of characters that I want to seek out and play but it’s more if I get the script and like the script and character that I know from that what sort of character I’d like to play.
Kenneth, you star in ‘Rogue Emperor’. Can you tell us about the drama and the character that you play?
K: ‘Rogue Emperor’ is the drama that I’ve just finished filming and it hasn’t been released yet. I quite like this drama – it spans from the characters 20s to his 70s/80s and takes place between 1920s and 1980s. In Hong Kong, there’s this man called Tsang Tsou Choi who did calligraphy graffiti, he called himself a king, the ‘King of Kowloon’. This is based on the real-life story of this guy. When you watch this drama, at first you’d think it was a comedy but as I was reading the script you realise that it’s not just humour and there’s a sadness as well. As in it’s funny and you’d make fun of the character because he seems a bit dim but then you realise that there is a sad side to the story as well. He does graffiti but there is a moving story behind it. So if you watch it you’ll like it and be moved as well.
What is it like working together on dramas?
K: You go first. I’ll listen to what you say first.
N: We’ve done 2 or 3…4 projects together. ‘A Fistful of Stances’…Yes, 3 or 4. I reckon we could try –when we work together it’s really good because we know each other well so we always play love interests – for 3 of them - also brother and sister. So we’re quite in sync. We can discuss with each other our requirements, and we can sort it out between us. He’s a really good co-star. Over to you now.
K: Natalie is easy to work with. But when it comes to acting she’s quite bold and dares to take on different roles. Like the mentally ill character that we mentioned earlier or very airheaded characters but she still bold enough to take those on. She’s very hardworking and has a lot of potential that can still be realised. I hope that she will show her potential to audiences in future dramas. I reckon that she still has lots of potential that hasn’t been shown.
Is there anything you want to do in Sydney?
N: I really want to go to some museums.
K: That’s impossible, going to a museum.
N: I really want to walk around this city, take in the city. Walk around the streets. This morning I went to a coffee shop and sat and just got a feel for things. If we had a day where we could just sit outside on the grass and take in the environment, we’d already be very happy with that.
K: Because the pace of life in Hong Kong is faster. When you come here you feel that it’s very relaxed and comfortable so I’d personally like to live here for a short while and take in the atmosphere. I’d be happy to do that. But our stay this time is short so with that precious little time left, I personally want to eat seafood. I really like eating seafood.
What are your plans for the rest of this year?
N: I’ve already filmed lots of dramas this year and I’ll be having a short break soon. I previously stayed in Taiwan for a month. So I want to try travelling to and staying in different countries to have a break. Because I feel like if I work for too long I get too tense. So it’s nice to have a change of scenery. I’m considering different cities at the moment so Sydney is probably one of the places that I’d go to.
K: I’m a bit similar to you. I’m not going to film again immediately so I’ve arranged several trips to places that I haven’t been to before. There’ll be some places that I’ll have to go to for work after returning to Hong Kong, like China and Vietnam and I know that I’ll be filming again near the end of the year for a TV drama so they’re in the process of choosing somewhere unique to film. It should be somewhere I haven’t filmed before. I’m looking forward to it. I believe that if you’re in acting and you’re always in one place it’s really hard to refresh yourself. So it’s important to go to different places and experience different cultures and meet different kinds of people. So it really helps our acting careers.
*Credits to the AU review and TVBUSAofficial