Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Interview with Raymond Wong: “A magazine once asked me to collaborate on fake rumors!”

This is a pretty interesting interview with an actor whom I've started to notice more and more the past few years -- Raymond Wong (黄浩然).  Raymond actually isn't a 'newbie' in terms of acting, as he has been in the industry for over a decade already (started in the industry in 1997) -- however he only started gaining popularity a few years ago after joining TVB (in 2007)...prior to that, he had small roles in movies and  had a few supporting roles during the few years he worked for ATV.

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!”

Translation:  llwy12

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!”


  1. Thanks for the article on a 'new' artiste:) I also like him very much in Bottled Passion but I think it is more the character than him:P His acting is not bad & improving but I still feel he is not there yet. At least he is better than some of TVB's leading men. An added bonus is he is such a good family man, not like you know who has more rumours/news than acting skill:P

    I didn't pay much attention to him in Marriage of Inconvenience, a lousy drama which wasted Bobby. I think he has forgetable supporting roles here & there. I first sort of notice him in When Easternly Showers Fall on the Sunny West. Maybe because I don't fancy Joe Ma, I ship him with Charmaine. Later, I also like his characters in Sweetness in the Salt & When Lane Merges. But his characters in No Regrets & The Other Truth are not as outstanding.

    I am half way watching GCO, an average drama. Actually I prefer watching Raymond than Kevin because 'Buddy' although exaggerating at least is entertaining compared to Kevin's boring one. Sorry, I don't feel anything for his romance with Selina yet. The only good part is his relationwhip with his son who has gone to Canada. I don't anti- Kevin. In fact I find him very good looking but his acting has always been blant to me eventhough I like Startling with Each Step very much.

    1. @BOGAEfan: LOL...you're welcome! :-) Sure, Raymond still has room for improvement, but to be honest, he is already way better than many of the current 'siu sangs' that TVB has -- nowadays, I would much rather watch a series with him in it than the ones currently who have only popularity but no substance.

      OMG, don't get me started on the whole Bobby thing (TVB has totally been wasting his talent and pretty much 'using' him the past couple years to 'promote' their own untalented artists...argh!). I mean, it's gotten to the point where I haven't been able to sit through a single Bobby series in the past 6-7 years because all the TVB series he's been in during that time period have been ridiculous and silly!

      Anyway, back to Raymond....I didn't finish watching Easterly Showers because I don't like any of the main cast (can't stand Liza, don't like Joe much, sick of Charmaine...) so can't really comment on Raymond's role in that series. Liked him in both of the other series you listed as well (SITS and WLM), though I'm neutral towards NR and TOT.

      I feel the same way about GCO...I've been continuing with it so far mainly because I like some of the actors (i.e. Raymond, Power, Nancy, Lau Kong, etc.). And even though I feel that Kevin has improved and he did have a few scenes that were very well done in the series, overall his character really isn't that exciting -- I'm actually not feeling anything for any of the characters so far (which is usually not a good sign cuz that means I'll usually end up not liking the series). Also, the storyline is really not that great, especially right now, as it seems the plot has been starting to unravel in the last 2 episodes or so...I hope at least the ending will be decent so I don't end up hating the series and feel like I wasted my time watching it!

    2. Are you watching House of Harmony & Vengeance? It is still early days to judge but so far I am not sold:P The storyline is more original but the pace is kind of slow & too much focus on the ladies especially the one I am not fond of:( I feel that as you mentioned TVB is using Bobby again. After Dicey Business & Fathers & Sons, none of his serial is watchable. FYI, I only watched an episode of Men With No Shadows.

      Since you mentioned Liza, I've to confess I've never liked her or any of her drama since Yesterday's Glitter but my grandma likes it. I think she is an overated actress, no doubt a hardworking & dedicated one. Give me Louise Lee or Dodo anyday. She is not funny but annoying in her comedic roles. The only drama I can tolerate her is When Rules Turn Loose. Please retire soon, haha.

      Oh llwy12, you took the words out of my mouth regarding Power's character development:) I am losing interest in GCO because as a TVB old timer, I can smell a rat from a mile away, LOL. After tonight's episode & with some spoilers I read, I can predict the development of the trainwreck plot. Buddies turn enemies, lovers reunited because my poor Edwin's become a baddie after the accident etc, so typical. Can the scriptwriter be more handworking & give me a surprise or shock but not a recycle plot that has been done to death?

    3. @BOGAEfan: No, I'm not watching House, as I could already tell back when the cast was announced and the storyline revealed that it was going to be another instance of TVB using Bobby again...plus it sounded like a lame series, so even though I like Bobby and Evergreen, I had no intentions of watching it. I did try to sit through the first episode just to check it out (and just so that I could say I gave it a try), but I couldn't even get halfway through it before I got bored and frustrated! And now that you tell me the series focuses more on Linda and Myolie (both of whom I can't stand) as well as the other ladies, there's pretty much zero chance that I'm going to watch it in the future either! Argh, I wish Bobby would just leave TVB completely (I know that's wishful thinking, since he has already said that he will film 1 series a year for them even though he is no longer contracted with them) -- it pains me to see him treated this way!!

      OMG, Liza Wang!! I've never liked her, even back in the 70s and 80s --probably because she's always given me the impression of being snobby, arrogant, condescending, bossy, etc. and I just can't stand people like that. And yes, she is absolutely overrated and should retire already! Her acting already started going downhill back in the 90s when she started filming series again and for her to continue 'torturing' us with her horrendous acting even now is absolutely frustrating (I too would take Louise Lee and Dodo Cheng anyday!). What's worse though is the fact that TVB has to continue to rub her bloated ego at the expense of other artists! First there was that whole anniversary series debacle (that Stupid Snoops series getting picked as anniversary series? REALLY???), which I'm pretty sure was done to stroke Liza's ego (and probably the management wanted to get her off their backs...hahaha). But what ticks me off the most is her always getting something at the anniversary galas....I mean, come on now -- she is filthy rich from all the money she made over her decades long career, yet every year at TVB's anniversary gala, she always manages to get 'picked' for the games and lucky red envelopes and such (um, it can't be a coincidence that she gets 'picked' year after year -- if that's not rigged, I don't know what is!) -- not only that, she 'wins' something each time (usually money)! And here you've got lesser known artists struggling to make a living and they 'lose out' just because TVB has to find a way to accomodate Liza! Why does she always have to hog the spotlight (and the money)? Give the poor lesser artists a chance, for goodness sakes! (Sorry for the rant...I couldn't help it....too pissed off....LOL).

      Hahaha....like you said earlier, 'great minds think alike' (especially 2 TVB old-timers' minds!). Once again, TVB is trying to treat us audiences like we are naive ignorant fools or something (though I admit there are audiences like that out there -- you and I aren't part of that group though...LOL). I mean, I applaud and respect all the hard work that the actors put into the boxing sequences and all, but really, they're going to turn these series into typical TVB thoroughfare and waste all that effort? Ugh...disappointing!

  2. I tried watching GCO and I find it another average TVB drama. Kevin and Raymond Wong are also average in this. One is bland and the other is exaggerating. I do prefer them more in BBJX and Bottled Passion. The story is progressing just like any other drama. I don't enjoy the boxing parts much and I don't find them that believable either although I heard TVB spend a lot to hire a real boxing instructor to coreograph throughout all boxing scenes and to teach the actors.

    I must praise Nancy Wu though. Nancy is a character actor and I'm impressed with how she handled her mute female boxer. Nancy's effort to be a boxer without any martial arts or defense arts experience really showed. Is there a character that Nancy can't do? I like to watch her more than the main characters.

    Kevin's little boy is adorable. I like to watch him more than the main cast too.

    1. Thanks for the article too. It's an interesting read. Have you read about Christine Kuo and Wilson Chin casting rumour too? This industry is really dark. It make me wonder if all the rumours of young girls sleeping with directors to get good roles are true and now this article made me think if some would also sleep or making arrangement with tabloids to get exposures.

    2. @zzxyz: Actually, I can't help but agree with you and BOGAEfan about GCO being an 'average' series.

      As I commented in one of the discussion forums, the first half of the series actually started off pretty promising with the storyline focusing on the 'mystery' of Kevin's background and all the conflicts surrounding the 'brothers' at the boxing school...but then the storyline started unraveling in the last few episodes (the previous 2 episodes especially) and now the series is starting to get annoying. The storyline started getting weird with the whole draggy love triangle thing between Kevin, Selena, and Edward (honestly, that part of the storyline is so unncessary) as well as the "sudden" change in Power's personality (I felt like I blinked and all of a sudden, Power's character starts going all 'possessive' and heads toward the 'villain' route -- couldn't help thinking whether I missed an episode somewhere...).

      Up until this point, I've been continuing with the series because certain parts of the storyline was interesting and I like the acting from quite a few of the artists -- but now, not sure if I have the patience to sit through the rest of the series, especially knowing that the rest of the episodes will focus on the draggy romantic relationships (both Kevin's and Raymond's)....

      I agree with you about Nancy though -- she's pretty much the only character I like in this series...I was actually enjoying the scenes between her and Power in the beginning, but when they started turning Power into a possessive maniac, it really turned me off....

    3. @zzxyz: No problem! I definitely enjoyed the article as well, so I felt the urge to share it! :)

      Yea, I read the one about Christine Kuo and Wilson Chin (though I don't care about either person so to me it was one of those 'read and move on' articles...LOL).

      As for the industry being very 'dark' -- well, you're definitely right about that...in fact, it has always been that way...that's why alot of parents don't want their kids to go into the entertainmnent industry (especially celebrity parents). And the whole thing about the tabloids 'faking' news is nothing new -- as Raymond said in the interview, it's pretty much an 'open secret' in the industry...it's just some people choose to ignore and others choose to go along with it. Actually, it makes alot of sense when we think about it because why else would celebrities continue to 'support' tabloids such as Next Magazine (i.e. attending the Next Media award ceremonies and events) when those tabloids keep publishing negative stuff about them?

      And the whole thing about starlets sleeping with directors / producers or those with power in the industry has been happening as far back as the 60s and 70s...it's just that celebrities hide it well (since many of them are actors/actresses after all), so the average audience might not realize it...

  3. About faking rumors with tabloids, wonder when the reporter asked him, before or after his marriage. Anyway if after then it is stupid of that tabloid reporter to suggest such an idea to RW since as a married man, romantic rumors do not benefit his career at all, on the contrary, it may actually damage it not to mention his marriage.(not saying he would even if he were not married.) Also, it is never good to be beholden to a tabloid reporter who at anytime may use that incident to blackmail.

    Incidentally, it is not just the tabloids urging artistes to use romantic rumors to promote themselves, even TVB itself deliberately create fake romantic rumors to promote its own artistes.

    I wonder if artistes who co-operate with tabloids to create news will be treated more favorably in tabloid news, like a certain tvb actor who is not only unscathed by his romantic rumors but also benefits much. Seems like his romantic rumors composed most of his news.

    I agree with the general opinion here that GCO started out quite interesting but since last week I have stopped watching because of its draggy romances.

    1. @tamaya: That's a good point -- though I actually wouldn't put it past that reporter to be 'stupid' and ask after his marriage because 1) those types of reporters don't have any morals anyway since they would do anything to get a story, so to them it doesn't matter if he's married or not, and 2) it's likely that even some married celebrities in the past have gone along with things like that, so to the reporter, it wouldn't make a difference.

      Yea, I would think that being in the entertainment industry and seeing day in and day out how 'messy' things can be, celebrities would know better not to be beholden to tabloid reporters with this kind of stuff (since even if it's fake, the reporter could always twist it around later and say it was real, then use it to blackmail....)....unfortunately though, there are just too many naive, 'not very smart' (I wanted to use the word 'dumb' but thought that would be too mean...LOL) people in the industry who just don't think about these types of things (which tells me that maybe they shouldn't be in the industry then).

      And yes, you are absolutely right about TVB creating false rumors to promote its own artists -- that type of thing has existed since the beginning of time pretty much, but I don't think alot of 'regular' audiences realized it until that whole Bernice / Moses / Aimee thing really brought it to light a few years ago. In fact, the 'creating false rumors' thing is sort of the whole basis for the 'bo sui' ('boil water') concept that many of the actors / actresses (especially the ones who've been in the industry a long time) like to throw out there whenever they're asked about romantic rumors with co-stars and such....

      LOL...it's not just that particular actor -- there are many many more that are like him, unfortunately. Like I've said before, there's that saying in the industry that it's 'better to have negative news written about you than to have no news at all'....the reality is that most people in the entertainment industry -- especially those who work in front of the camera, like as actors/actresses for example -- thrive on Media attention because that's the easiest and quickest way for them to get to fame and fortune. That's why for me, I tend to support the artists who are less prone to 'saturating' the Media outlets (usually the less'popular' or less 'known' artists) because oftentimes, these are the artists who rely on their own talent to slowly get ahead in their career (versus those who rely on the Media to make them popular)...obviously I value substance over superficiality.

      Yup, I stopped watching GCO as well, since it started getting way too ridiculous....and honestly, I'm not planning on watching the finale either cuz I can already predict how the ending is going to turn out (and it's probably going to frustrate me more than anything) -- plus if I ever want to know what happens in the end, I can always ask my mom, since she watches everything pretty much..LOL.