I actually started noticing Raymond back in 2010 with the series "When Lanes Merge" (even though he had filmed quite a few series prior to that). I really enjoyed his performance in that series and so far, I've liked his performances in the series I've seen of his after that (even if I don't like the series itself, I still like his performances). Oh and of course, due to my 'obsession' with the series "Bottled Passion" earlier, it made me pay attention to Raymond even more (LOL...)!
The newest series of Raymond's that I'm watching right now is "Gloves Come Off" (拳王), which has so far been a decent series (though I'm not too fond of the storyline or some of the characters in the series). I'm not as excited about the series as I was with some of the other earlier ones, but at least the acting is decent, so that has helped keep the series going for me. However, I haven't decided whether I'm going to write a review for this series or not (I'm leaning toward 'not'), so for those interested in this series, hopefully the article will give some insight.
In this particular interview, Raymond shares some of his experiences filming GCO and also talks about his [relatively] new role of becoming a father. After reading this article, my respect for Raymond actually went up a few more notches (he was relatively high on my list already due to his good acting skills), especially when I read the part about his dedication to his son and also refusing to collaborate with tabloids to create rumors for himself. In the competitve world of entertainment, an artist like him who is so well-grounded and would rather reduce his media exposure (keep in mind that his acting career is still very much active right now) so that he can spend more time with his family is definitely very very rare! Kudos to Raymond for his good work ethics as well as dedication to his family! :-)
Interview with Raymond Wong: “A magazine once asked me to collaborate on fake rumors!”
Source: Information Times
Handsome guys may not necessarily know how to fight,however in TVB series Gloves Come Off《拳王》, Raymond Wong not only shows off his sturdy build, he also demonstrates his physical prowess – after many years of practicing martial arts, he is finally able to put his skills to use. From his reserved, scheming character in his previous series Bottled Passion《我的如意狼君》, Raymond turns into the character of ‘Bat Ka Sing’ in Gloves Come Off – a ‘big kid’ at heart with a fearless nature. Towards his role in Gloves Come Off, Raymond expressed that filming the series has been one of the most difficult of his career – at the time, his baby son had just been born and after becoming a father, he realized that it was time for his lifestyle to change: “In the 5 years that I joined TVB, I had not taken a single day off, not even when I was sick. However, after filming Gloves Come Off, I decided to take 3 months off work because after having a baby, I realized that life isn’t just about rushing blindly forward with a career.”
The day before yesterday, Raymond Wong accepted an interview with Information Times during which, in addition to sharing his joy at becoming a father, he also reveals how he was once contacted by a magazine and asked to ‘generate’ fake news for them.
Partner: Kevin Cheng filmed Gloves Come Off while injured
In the series, Raymond Wong and Kevin Cheng go from a ‘brotherly’ relationship to ‘enemies’ fighting to obtain the ‘boxing champion’ title. Outside of the series, action scenes consultant Sin Ho Ying blasted Kevin Cheng, accusing him of questioning certain sequences and refusing to do them because he was afraid of getting hurt. In response to this, Raymond Wong put in many good words of support for his ‘brother’, stating that Kevin filmed the series while already injured and so being especially cautious with the action sequences was very normal: “Before filming on the series started, Kevin had accidentally injured his back when he was filming Startling with Each Step 《步步惊心》in the Mainland. Therefore, when filming for Gloves Come Off started, he had to see a doctor to get therapy for his back at the same time. All of Kevin’s action scenes were actually filmed at the end – the first half of the filming focused primarily on his scenes with his son and also his romance storyline.”
Raymond continues: “When audiences watch on TV, our boxing sequences appear so easy, but in reality, filming those few minute scenes actually took us hours – it was normal for us to film from 4pm in the evening to 4am the next morning just on that one scene.” Raymond expressed that most of the scenes in the boxing ring were filmed on a specially built set at TVB City. Oftentimes, in order to let the equipment [used in the series] cool down, the air conditioning would be turned on full blast, to the point that some of the crew actually had to wear down jackets in order to keep warm: “Despite the cold, we had to film the boxing scenes shirtless – not only that, we also sprayed water on our bodies to make it look like we were sweating. We were so cold, we would be trembling!” In order to make the boxing sequences look as realistic as possible, they would often film each scene at least 10 times – and that didn’t even include NG scenes – which obviously consumed a lot of the actors’ physical strength and energy. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to prepare much for the role ahead of time, as I started filming Gloves Come Off almost immediately after I finished Bottled Passion – I didn’t have time to get into shape. Luckily I had a little bit of martial arts background and generally kept up with exercising, so I was satisfied with the end result in terms of how things turned out physically.”
In the series, Kevin Cheng’s character ‘Tong Sap Yat’ has a reserved, quiet type of manliness to him while Raymond’s character ‘Bat Ka Sing’ comes across like a big kid who still has not grown up, with exaggerated facial expressions and constantly moving about, unable to stay still for a minute. Raymond expressed that the series’ producer [Marco Law] wanted the huge contrast between the 2 characters: “I exaggerated some of the movements on purpose so that later on in the series when my character’s personality changes, the audiences will notice the changes more.” So far, his performance has been both praised as well as criticized, however Raymond expressed that he does not mind either way, as he is already satisfied that he got the chance to play such an interesting character. Most importantly, with his performance in the series, Raymond gained a lot of little kid fans – as a new father himself, this made him especially happy.
Starting with this week’s episodes, the relationship between Raymond and Kevin in the series will slowly start to deteriorate – when the friendship between these 2 ‘brothers’ starts to rupture, it cannot be mended in a short amount of time: “There’s the saying that ‘sincere advice is jarring on the ears’ – unfortunately, both men allow the bad advice of the people around them get to their heads, causing the misunderstandings between them to deepen.” Raymond bluntly stated that his own personality is very different in that if he were to encounter a similar situation, he would clear it up with the person face to face and not allow the misunderstanding to fester: “Communication is a mutual thing – how much you give is how much you’ll receive. There are some people that it’s easy to become ‘brothers’ with and confide in them about all matters, while there are others who are only suitable as ‘acquaintances’. Each person has their own ‘list’ in their hearts.”
Father: Return home to accompany son every chance he gets
In the series, Raymond marries his girlfriend (played by Natalie Tong) after she becomes pregnant and he ends up ‘reluctantly’ becoming a dad. In real life, Raymond and his wife have been together 10 years and are still a loving couple -- 3 years after the couple married, Raymond became a dad and almost instantly, he went from being a ‘workaholic’ to a devoted father. The filming schedule for Gloves Come Off was quite intense and there were days where they filmed for 20 hours straight, so by the time Raymond returned home, his son was already asleep, which definitely caused him to feel guilty about ‘neglecting’ his family. As soon as the subject of his son came up, Raymond’s voice became softer and with a smile, he expressed that his son is just learning how to walk – seeing him teetering back and forth as he learned to balance himself was extremely cute: “After my son was born, I realized what it truly meant to have a sense of responsibility. I don’t want to miss a single minute watching my son grow up! In the past, I always felt that my career was the most important thing in my life and so I never wanted to take time off, but now, whenever I have even a 2 to 3 hour break, I rush home to be with my son.” After a 3 month hiatus, Raymond’s first ‘job’ upon his return was filming the series The Confidant《大太监》, which required him to be away from his family for a few weeks due to filming on location in Hengdian [China]. As soon as Raymond left HK, he received word from his wife that their son was sick: “It’s one thing when they’re by my side, but when I’m away, of course I worry about my son being sick and whether my wife will be able to handle the situation by herself – therefore, I chat with them via webcam every night.” Raymond feels that parents have a huge impact on their children, so he insists on sharing in the responsibility of taking care of his son right alongside his wife, even if it means sacrificing their personal time. Raymond states that he often waits until after his son is asleep before he studies his scripts or he and his wife chat about their days: “There are only 24 hours in a day and now with an additional person in our lives, it’s inevitable that we’ll have less personal time.”
Rumors: Refuse to collaborate with tabloids in creating ‘false’ news
Raymond Wong is an ‘infrequent visitor’ when it comes to tabloids, as he rarely has any gossip reports or rumors surrounding him. Raymond revealed that one time, a tabloid reporter called him up to ask if he was willing to collaborate with them in ‘making news’ – for instance, having him ‘photographed’ holding another woman’s hand while walking down the street or eating dinner together: “This kind of thing is actually very common within the industry -- everyone knows it and a lot of artists will actually go along with it, since they know that the tabloids need to have something to write about. However, I absolutely refuse to go along with this kind of thing! I would rather have less media exposure and go slower [in terms of career path] than to be involved in these types of negative reports. I have enough pride and confidence in myself! I’ve never had to purposefully generate rumors like that and I’ve still been able to survive on my own for this long – I have not let myself down!” Raymond expressed that he normally only agrees to interviews during the promotional periods for his series – when he became a father, he especially wanted to dedicate more time to his son, so he purposefully reduced his media exposure even more.
Low point: Practicing ‘dai sing pik gwa’ martial arts helped bring positive energy
In the series, Raymond’s Thai boxing moves are very nimble and agile – part of that can be attributed to him practicing ‘dai sing pik gwa’ martial arts in real life with Master Sin Ho Ying: “I started practicing martial arts back when I was experiencing a low point in my career – it was during a time when I didn’t have much work and was constantly unhappy.” Later on, he discovered that physical exercise, jogging, practicing martials arts, etc. all made him feel happier, so he continued on this path and now exercise is as natural to him as eating: “When I have time, I go practice martial arts and on days when I don’t need to film, I get up at 6am to go jogging, then shower and start my day with attending events and such. I realize now that happiness truly cannot be bought with money!”