Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oriental Daily Interview Series -- Part 3: Michael Tao

Part 3: Interview with Michael Tao

Original article published 2/20/2011
Source: Oriental Daily

Translated by: llwy12

Pictures credit as listed

Michael Tao and Margie Tsang enjoy being single

Margie Tsang and Michael Tao are former classmates from TVB’s 12th Acting Class. Earlier, the 2 friends got a chance to ‘reunite’ at fellow classmate Kiki Sheung’s wedding and both discovered that they actually had a lot to talk about.

Michael sat down with Margie recently to talk about various aspects of his life and career as well as reminisce about the old days’.

M = Margie Tsang
T = Michael Tao

M: I really like calling your name….大宇[Michael]! I’m curious to know if you felt that you were ‘handsome’ back when we were in Acting Class? Both Sandra [Ng] and I loved to partner up with you to rehearse scenes.

T: Really? I remember I was paired up with Carina [Lau] the most! As for the ‘handsome’ part…I felt that I was better looking back then – now, definitely not! Back then, everyone was handsome and pretty – hey, you’re a pretty girl too!

M: So….honest? Haha! Now you have a more mature feel about you – back then, you were too young and immature. I actually think that how you are right now is much better! (Displays a ‘satisfied’ look)

T: You looked better back then (hinting that Margie is not pretty now)…hahaha! Just kidding! You have ‘better taste’ now because of your maturity and experiences. This is especially important for actors / actresses – the more we experience, the more mature we become and the better our ‘taste’ is, which helps the acting. At Kiki’s wedding, I saw Sean [Lau] and the 2 of us would talk about our youth (‘When you were a young lad, you were this way…..’) – when I saw Carina [Lau], the images from our youth ran through my mind and we would also talk about what we were like back then….

M: How about me? In your mind, what kind of person was I like back then?

T: The teacher used the character for ‘snake’ to describe you! It was because when you walk, you always make the ‘ssst, ssst, ssst’ sound – it was very cute! Plus you were so ‘little girl’ during that time.

M: What do you mean [‘little girl’]? Immature? Better be careful what you say!

T: No, not immature…hmm, how can I say it? Definitely need to be careful what I say…sort of like that ‘young lady’ feel – basically the type we don’t dare to cross….


M: So how was your career path after graduating from Acting Class? You’ve actually filmed quite a few ‘classic’ series…

T: At first I was walking around with my head in the clouds, didn’t really know what I was doing. My first series was "United We Stand" [TN: 1985 series with Michael Miu and Barbara Yung]– at least I had a recurring part…but my performance was only so-so – at that time, I was young and didn’t take things seriously, so when given a precious opportunity, didn’t know how to treasure it. Afterwards, I realized the mistakes I made during that time, as I didn’t have very many good performances for the next 8 to 10 years – everything was a mess and my career was pretty much stagnant.

M: Did you try going up to the production department offices and proactively seek out an opportunity?

T: Though I regretted my behavior at that time, I wasn’t the type to go seek out the producer to ask for an opportunity (due to my personality), so I continued to wait and at the same time reflect on my behavior. It wasn’t until I met my mentor Gary Tang [TN: former TVB producer now at ATV] and got the chance to participated in all 5 installments of his "Files of Justice" series, then after that was the "Detective Investigation Files" trilogy with producer Poon Ka Tak…I guess you could say that there was finally a turning point to my career. Unfortunately, later on, I was ‘disobedient’ and tried to negotiate higher pay with the company, thinking that I could follow in the footsteps of some of my seniors, but that backfired, so I ended up leaving…haha….

M: That’s how fate works! But then it’s because you encountered those situations that you learned to cherish things more later on!

T: Personality definitely changes fate! After I left TVB, I signed with [director/producer] Wong Jing, which resulted in the opportunity to film "Flaming Brothers" -- the series had good ratings and word of mouth back in the day. After that, I got the chance to work with Carina Lau on the series "Showbiz Tycoon", a happy collaboration that lasted 9 months – even though the 2 of us graduated from the same acting class in the 80s, that was actually the first time that we filmed together.

M: Looking back through Acting Class history, all of us [from that year] had pretty good achievements.

T: Looking back, I participated in quite a few ‘classics’ that audiences deeply remember, such as "Files of Justice", "Detective Investigation Files", "Flaming Brothers"….not too bad, since it wasn’t just 1 series, but several.

M: If you were to pick the series that you felt was the most ‘classic’?

T: "Detective Investigation Files"!! We had filmed several installments and at that time, it was very hard work.

M: That series also earned you the nickname ‘housewife killer’....in fact, my mom was also a big fan of yours! Hahaha….


M: What is your opinion of today’s newer generation? In the past, us females did not have as many avenues for entering the industry, but nowadays, there are singing competitions such as <> as well as beauty pageants and also the ‘lang mo’ path.

T: So I guess you gals are ‘red envelopes’! Not ‘lang mos’, but ‘lo mos’! [TN: play on words – Michael is joking that Margie is a ‘lo mo’ or ‘old model’ rather than a ‘lang mo’ or ‘young model’]

M: What ‘lo mo’?

T: Haha! So that’s why I said ‘red envelope’…it’s more polite! Hahaha…

M: Out of all the ‘lang mos’, I like Angelababy.

T: Those type already are not my ‘cup of tea’, as I will be turning 50 years old soon.

M: Really? I couldn’t tell…I thought you were already past 50…hahaha! Though you are turning 50, still tell me a little about your love life.

T: Leave it up to fate….as long as there’s happiness!

M: I agree with you on that, because I’m also single, so I leave things up to fate as well. I don’t feel lonely at all – in fact, I enjoy too much the freedom that being single brings. To tell you the truth, I’m constantly wondering whether it’s necessary for people to get married? I like having my own ‘single’ world. Some of my friends worry about me and so constantly ask me to dinner or drinks because they are afraid I may be bored! But in reality, I love staying at home and doing things that I enjoy….don’t even bother me..I’m perfectly fine all by myself!

T: I agree with what you said about being single. I would thank my friends for being concerned about me, but when it comes to fate, it’s hard to say what may happen. If a relationship comes, then great, but if it doesn’t, that’s fine too – someone who is single can also enjoy the happiness that comes with freedom!

M: Any hopes for the new year? I know you’re very filial to your mother – even back in the Acting Class days, you were known for being a good son.

T: My hope now is for my mom to have good health, as she is at the age where older people illnesses will start showing up. The failure of my marriage actually gave me more time to be with my mom – these past few years, I’ve been able to have dim sum with her consistently. In the past, I would only have time to see her once every 3 months…I hope to make up for all the time that was lost.


Both Margie and Michael feel that back when they were in Acting Class, there was definitely a lot of things to be learned. They also share memories of the interesting teachers they had during that time. Margie recalls the fear and respect she had for kung fu instructor Lee Kar Ting [TN: actor Gregory Lee’s father and an actor himself] and joked with Michael that luckily, Master Ting was not an instructor of the regular classes otherwise everyone would be bruised.

Laughing, she also mentions a teacher whom she no longer remembers the name, but recalls that he is very short – Michael immediately interjects and says: “Yes, that teacher was cross-eyed! When he taught martial arts, we were scared whenever he stuck his fists out because we thought he would accidently hit the wrong person. I remember one time, a student standing next to me actually asked the teacher who he was looking at and make sure he is striking at the right person.” To illustrate his point, Michael pretended to imitate the cross-eyed teacher doing martial arts, which made Margie laugh incessantly!

T: Back in those days, whenever our instructors taught, they loved to use Chow Yun Fat and Dodo Cheng as examples – in that era, the 2 of them were the most popular.

M: I remember that we were separated into day and night classes – altogether, there were approximately 40 people, but in the end, only 9 males and 9 females signed with the company.

T: That’s why our group was nicknamed ‘Gou Nam Nu’! [TN: literally translated as ‘Nine Males / Females’ – this phrase is another play on words]

M: Out of the females in the class, who did you feel would succeed the most?

T: Carina!

M: Wah, you seem to have an affinity toward Carina? It seems that you like Carina more than us – so Sandra and I don’t mean anything to you?

T: Haha! Well, maybe it’s a false sense on my part…because back in those days, the dance instructor loved asking Carina to demonstrate certain moves for the class and it seemed that she was involved in everything, so that’s why she would always come to mind first.

M: Actually, who in the class did you think would make it?

T: That I don’t know, but I did anticipate that I would be one of the ones signing with the company in the end because my test scores were pretty good and I had confidence in myself!


Chinese Version:




曾:曾華倩 陶:陶大宇



















































場地:the mira HONGKONG


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