Saturday, August 11, 2012

News Article: With both TVB and CTI fighting for her, Jessica Hsuan intends to ‘return’ to HK television on her own terms

The latest issue of Mingpao Magazine is out and there are actually quite a few interesting articles in it this time around (well, interesting to me, at least...LOL!).  Hopefully I'll have time to translate some of the other articles in this week's issue, but for now, here's an interesting article about one of TVB's former top fa dans from the 90s -- Jessica Hsuan.

Personally, I'm not a fan of Jessica's by any means (I like some of her series, but overall, as an actress, she's just not my cup of tea), however she is definitely an experienced, talented actress and I respect her for that.  Plus I've actually been watching the series Tiger Cubs the past couple weeks and must admit that the series is truly quite good, so I enjoyed reading this brief article about Jessica as well as the series itself. 

Anway, not really going to comment much on the article except to say that Jessica's contract with TVB ended last year and as a free artist, she has pretty much been focusing her career in the Mainland.  Ever since her contract ended, there has been speculation as to whether she will join one of the rival TV stations.  Well, now with the success of the Tiger Cubs series and TVB approaching Jessica to re-sign a per series contract with them, looks like the answer to that question is most likely 'no' -- after reading this article, it looks like the chance of Jessica re-siging with TVB is extremely high.


With both TVB and CTI fighting for her, Jessica Hsuan intends to ‘return’ to HK television on her own terms

Translation:  llwy12

Under the leadership of its chairmain Ricky Wong (王維基), City Telecom (CTI) has been aggressively expanding its footprint in the HK television circle these past few months. After successfully ‘poaching’ a large group of veteran and talent-path artists from rival TVB, CTI is now setting their sights on recruiting first line siu sangs and fa dans, which they currently lack. One of CTI’s latest recruitment ‘targets’ is actress Jessica Hsuan (宣萱), whose popularity once again soared recently due to the TVB series Tiger Cubs《飛虎》. After losing so many artists to rival stations as well as to the Mainland [China] market, it is said that TVB does not want to take any chances and so will likely use the ‘lure’ of a Tiger Cubs sequel to get Jessica to re-sign with them. Towards this, Jessica made her position very clear: “My number one request is for a good role and good script – otherwise, I wouldn’t have declined at least 5 TV series in HK and Mainland. To me, the chance to film the sequel [to Tiger Cubs] is not necessarily the most attractive offer.”

It has been rumored that Ricky Wong’s CTI has been consistently in contact with Jessica, giving her numerous scripts to review in the hopes of recruiting her to join their company. According to behind-the-scenes personnel [at CTI], many of the roles that were offered to Jessica for review were specially written for her and cater to her strength in playing ‘professional’ roles. Asked about this, Jessica expressed: “I have been in discussions with CTI, however the offers so far were to once again portray a cop and other ‘professional’ roles – this is the primary reason why I declined the offers. Tiger Cubs was the last series that I filmed in HK and since a large amount of time has passed, I hope that my return will give HK audiences a different feeling. It’s not that I won’t play a cop or lawyer ever again, but rather I prefer for my ‘return’ series to not be the same type of role.”

Declines offer to film 5 series, loses 8 figure earnings

Jessica continues: “As for TVB, we were in discussions previously and recently resumed discussions once again. However, I still need to look at suitability of the role and also a confirmed good script. There was talk of a possible sequel to Tiger Cubs, but all along, I’ve never been a fan of sequels. For example, back when Dicey Business 《賭場風雲》aired, the audience reaction was also very good, however as soon as the company suggested filming a sequel, I immediately said no. I feel that whether it’s a HK series, movie, or even a Hollywood film, sequels rarely ever live up to the original – I would much rather leave behind beautiful memories of the series and not wait until the story is filmed to death before stopping. Recently, I’ve given it some serious thought and asked myself if a sequel were to be filmed, what would be the most attractive ‘selling point’? But I will say that with the good ratings and word of mouth for Tiger Cubs, it truly does give me a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. If there truly is a sequel, I wouldn’t mind using my ‘friendship cards’ and invite friends such as Bobby [AuYeung] (歐陽震華), Louis [Koo] (古天樂), Gallen [Lo] (羅嘉良), etc. to participate.” (What do the salary offers look like from both sides?) “Of course CTI’s salary offer is more attractive than TVB’s, however I would not request an amount comparable to Mainland salary. More important for me is who I would be collaborating with – I’m not necessarily requesting to ‘choose’ who I want to collaborate with, but I do prefer working with artists who have more of a professional attitude. Right now, all I want is to be happy doing my work – if the people I work with can’t even meet the ‘basics’ of being punctual and studying their script, I don’t want to get myself all upset over it.”

If the amount of salary is not the most important, does that mean that Jessica has already earned enough money? She replied: “Earned enough? I don’t think anyone will ever say they’ve earned ‘enough’ money! As a kid, when I earned my first dollar, I would think how great it’d be if I earned 10 dollars, then when I have that 10 dollars, I would think about earning 100 dollars – when I started working and earned my first hundred thousand, I’d think about how satisfying it would be to earn more…it’s an endless cycle. However I also know that I can’t earn all the money in the world and slowly I realized that all these years, I’ve put so much focus on my work that I ended up missing out on a lot of things around me….earlier, I actually declined offers to film 5 series in both HK and Mainland – quite a lot of money involved.” (Loss of earnings in the 8 figures?) “Since I already declined the offers, no point in calculating.”

Ready anytime for new relationship

With all the time that Jessica has spent working, what does she feel are some of her ‘regrets’? Jessica expressed: “I missed out on the weddings of many many friends and it’s something that I can’t make up for anymore. In the past, work always took first priority – when my friends would invite me to their weddings, I would always tell them that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it and in the end, I would choose work over attending the wedding. But things are different now…” (Missed out on [love] relationships as well?) “Yes, but it’s not entirely regrettable, as I believe in fate when it comes to relationships. I once had a 6 year relationship during which I asked myself whether I would regret it in the future if I were to give up my career for the relationship – the answer was: yes, I would regret it! If you were to ask me to choose again now, I would still make the same choice. I feel that modern women, even if married, still need to have a career – I would never be able to endure being locked into a housewife role at home with nothing to do! Doesn’t matter how much money you give me, I just can’t do it – I have my own interests such as going diving or meeting up with friends for dinner and such.”

In recent months, Jessica definitely appears more relaxed and happier, which caused many people to think that perhaps she’s in a new relationship – in reality, Jessica actually hired a personal trainer to help her get back into shape. Asked whether she is currently in a new relationship, Jessica replied: “Nope! Since I’m not currently tied down by any contracts, I figured I’d use the break to get myself back into shape and also to look after my health. Pretty much right now, I’m ready for whatever that may come my way – whether work or relationship. I’ve always been a bit on the skinny side and with age, my body doesn’t work as fast as it used too – therefore I felt it was necessary to tone myself up, do more exercise, upgrade myself. I must admit that after I started doing this, I’ve felt a lot more alert and energetic! Even my fans and other friends have asked me whether I’m dating – it’s quite funny actually!”

Since breaking up with her veterinarian boyfriend Ruan last year, Jessica has not started any new relationships yet. Towards this, Jessica laughed and replied: “Leave it up to fate! My life right now is very happy – I have a pretty steady circle of friends, both male and female. If I were to start a relationship, I’d have to find someone whom I can ‘click’ with – someone I could mutually rely on and take care of each other.” (Are you accepting of an ‘older woman/younger man’ relationship?) “It would depend upon whether the other person is mature in his thinking or not. If I have to ‘take care’ of him like a son, then no thanks! I already have 3 people that I ‘take care of’ at home: my elderly parents and a housekeeper who helped raise me since birth – sometimes I do wish that I had a shoulder to lean on, but if it’s not the right person, can’t force it! My 80 year old father used to nag me about finding a good man and getting married, but now, he actually tells me not to rush into things – if not compatible, then don’t get married…being happy is most important. Those are my sentiments exactly!”

Success of Tiger Cubs opens up a new timeslot for TVB

In the hopes of opening up a new weekend timeslot , TVB arranged for Tiger Cubs to be the inaugural series to help test the waters – the results were very successful, as the series beat out all of the variety shows with its unprecedented high ratings in that timeslot. Previously, the ‘grand production’ variety special TVB Singers Red and White Battle, in which more than 100 singers participated, only averaged 19 point ratings in the weekend timeslot – so far, Tiger Cubs has been able to garner peak ratings of 26 points in the Saturday timeslot, with ratings reaching 31 points in the Sunday timeslot, which is even higher than some of the regular series airing on the weekdays! It’s no wonder then that TVB would try so hard to persuade the series’ stars Joe Ma (馬德鐘) and Jessica Hsuan to re-sign filming contracts with them. Head of production Tommy Leung (梁家樹) has already confirmed that there are plans to film a Tiger Cubs sequel next year and he hopes that they will be able to maintain the original cast. Joe Ma has already re-signed a per series contract with TVB – now all they are waiting for is Jessica to give the green light to re-sign with them.


  1. I beg to differ in that I do not think Tiger Cubs is a good serial. At best it is only average. There is nothing special abt the storylines, just a cop & robber story on a weekly basis. You know who is the villian straight away when he or she sappears, so no suspense. In fact, I am so bored with it. The only bonus is TVB gave this drama bigger budget so it feels more movie like.Oh, how I miss those detective dramas which keep me at the edge of my seat, where I feel more for the characters as they are better developed in a few episode instead of an episode.

    Jessica's role is nothing to shout abt. She has done this kind of role to death, the professional & cool protagonist. She is good in this kind of role but nothing special. I do like her & think she is an okay actress but her range is too limited. Well, at least she is doing something she is good at, not taking role that is ill-fitting like in ancient drama. I do want her to stay with TVB because there is pratically nobody I can tolerate in TVB.

    1. @BOGAEfan: Actually, I have to disagree about Tiger Cubs not being a good series because of the ‘ordinary’ cop/robber storyline and lack of investigative suspense. From the beginning, the series was never billed as a ‘detective drama’ because it had no intention of being one….the main focus of the series is on the Special Duties Unit (SDU), which is a tactical operations unit of the police force – they don’t get involved in the investigation of cases because that’s not their jobs. That’s why I’m not surprised that the cases in the series were not ‘suspenseful’ in that we already knew who the villain was from the beginning, since the ‘investigation’ of the cases takes a back seat to the tactical missions that the SDU team are assigned to execute – the point of the series really isn’t to investigate the cases, but rather to give audiences a better understanding of how the SDU operates. So for me, I was able to enjoy the series as much as I did because I already knew the focus of the series from the beginning and the series definitely lived up to its premise.
      As for Jessica’s role – true, it was ‘nothing special’ in that it’s very similar to her previous roles, but on the other hand, I can also understand why her popularity would soar again after this series. I personally don’t care much for her character in the series (especially after watching episode 12, in which her character annoyed the hell out of me), but she still do a good job with her character from an acting perspective.

  2. The thing I really can't stand about TVB is their sequels!!! It makes it seem like they're lacking in the creative department. Sequels I can list of now that are under way or confirmed are : TITS II, ghetto justice II, great way to care II, oncall II.

    Honestly, TVB's so called 'sequels' have never done well. The only one I can say I was satisfied with was D.I.E in the recent years. The Burning Flames triology was a disaster in my opinion. The only one I remember that was OK was detective investigation files...

    I'd rather Jessica not accept this sequel.

    Oh and about Jessica filming in Mainland, did she not have a lot of conflict with the crew over in one production? I remember reading her weibo posts about crappy rooms and bad behaviour.

    1. @huama: Totally hear ya about the sequels!! That has actually been the biggest 'pet peeve' of mine when it comes to TVB...all these years (going back more than 2 decades), pretty much the only sequels I've been able to tolerate and really 'like' more than the original series were Detective Investigation Files (loved DIF 3, but not a fan of the 4th installment)and Untraceable Evidence (especially since UE pretty much stayed true to the original series -- one of the few sequels that actually kept almost all of the original cast).

      As for Jessica having 'conflict' with the crew in Mainland -- it was primarily because she has very high standards and is the type who sticks very closely to her principles, which is actually not a bad thing...I actually admire her alot for this because she doesn't let anyone compromise her values, no matter who they are. After reading all the stuff about what happened, I'm actually on Jessica's side when it comes to those 'conflicts' because she didn't do anything wrong -- she was just labeled as being 'difficult' because she refused to let other people take advantage of her...there's nothing wrong at all with her standing up for her beliefs and values (especially being a woman in the entertainment industry -- it's so easy to be taken advantage of, so it's good in a sense that she has the strong personality that she does)...

  3. Well I'm sure there's both positive and negative aspects with working in Mainland but Jessica's been filming for mainland for several years already so she's already used to how things work.

    I agree, at first Tiger Cubs was great, I loved the training and friendship between Him and Vincent, and liked Oscar Leung's character but the format itself is very boring. There's no suspense in who the villain is. Over all having one case per episode was a bad idea. They also fail to create character development for you to care and know more about the characters. I thought they'd expand the friendship of Him and Vincent but they didn't.

    1. @sport3888: Definitely one thing that I would have liked to see more of in Tiger Cubs is character development because that was seriously lacking in this series. I think part of the reason for the lack of in-depth character development was because the series was so short (it's technically 20 episodes but was reformatted to 13 episodes for the weekend timeslot airing) and the focus was more on the tactical operations / missions that the SDU team were responsible for doing -- with so many 'signifcant' characters in the series, it would have been too hard to give each character their own story arc in such a short amount of time and still be able to accomplish what they (the writers/producers) wanted with the audiences getting a better understanding of SDU as a whole.

      Personally, I would have liked to see each of the main SDU people to have their own sub-story arcs -- which actually I had thought would be the case in the beginning (since they did have sub-stories for Oscar, Him, Vincent, Savio, and even Willam Chak)...I actually thought that each episode would focus on a different SDU member and so at least give each of them a chance to get their own '15 minutes of fame', but looks like that wasn't the case, since the last few episodes pretty much circled back to talking primarily about Joe / Jessica and the SDU team as a whole...

  4. Also Jessica's role in Tiger Cubs isn't that great she barely gets any screen time and it's not something very different from her previous protagonist roles. TVB has stereotyped her(and many of their other leading artistes) for so long that it's really hard for her to take on versatile roles

    1. @sport3888: Very true, though if you want my honest opinion, I sort of feel that TVB did that on purpose. Based on the premise of the series being on the SDU and the various 'missions' they go on, it was pretty much a given from the beginning that Jessica's character would be 'secondary', since the focus of the series is not on investigating cases. I think they had to add her character to the series to make the storyline flow more so that audiences wouldn't get confused, since her team is actually responsible for the investigating / solving of cases and getting the SDU involved in difficult situations...otherwise each episode would have just been the SDU going on one operation / mission after the other with no explanation about how / why they needed to get involved....

      But yea, in terms of Jessica, I agree that she has pretty much been typecasted by TVB all these years and it's very difficult for her to take on more versatile roles anymore...

  5. i'm not a jessica fan neither, though i like her for her off-screen personality, if not her acting. i am currently watching "tiger cubs" too, and i love it! true, the plots are not very suspenseful or surprising, as BOGAEfan says, but the 'cubs' are always in a pickle of some sort, and it's really exciting trying to see them get out of it each time. the last few episodes have been disappointing but overall, it's definitely one of the better series released this year.

    i think jess' best role to date is ah wan in "dicey business". it was so different from her previous (and future) characters that i actually believe she can be quite a capable actress if given the right role and script. too bad she hasn't been offered anything remotely as good since. i wonder if it's time to give her housewife and maternal characters now. i mean, she's no spring chicken, and actresses much younger than her have been playing motherly roles for years now.

    1. First off age shouldn't dictate what roles an actress gets. Many woman are single even in their 40s. If Sheren Tang can still lead as a single, independent woman so can Jessica who's younger.

    2. no it shouldn't, but it's a good indicator. in hk, it's getting rarer for a woman in her 40s, regardless of how good looking or successful she is, to land herself an unmarried, decent man like joe's character. these are the sort of characters she plays over and over, and it's getting less convincing as the years go by. time for something very different.

    3. @bebeC: Yup, agree and that's actually one of the reasons why I like the series as well...seeing the SDU team go on their missions and also seeing how they get themselves out of the messes that they usually find themselves in is definitely the exciting aspect to the series.

      And definitely have to agree with you that this is one of the better series released this year -- it's obvious that TVB invested alot in the production of the series, which I'm happy about because in recent years, TVB has been very shoddy with its productions (they've gotten more and more cheap over the years) and this is one of the first series in probably 4-5 years where I felt that TVB actually took the production seriously enough to make the action sequences and effects look realistic rather than some fake-looking stuff that was hastily put together...not sure if this is attributed to the new management being less stingy (since Mona Fong is notorious for being stingy and keeping tight hold on the pocketbook...)

      Of course, there are certain aspects of the series I didn't care much for and wish that they would have done better (character development for example), but overall, this was a good series in my opinion.

  6. I just finished watching the finale episode and it was actually quite good...kept me at the edge of my seat the entire episode! I was starting to get a little disappointed with the direction that the previous few episodes had been going, so I really didn't have very high hopes for the finale at first, but the last episode surprised me with how suspenseful it was. The acting from everyone was quite good too in the final episode (Vincent especially impressed me with his death scene...very convincing and extremely sad...much better than his death scene in GMG). Also thoroughly enjoyed Kenneth's villain performance -- he already put in a fine performance in episode 1, but with his performance in the finale episode, I feel that he even topped his episode 1 performance!

    My only complaint about the finale is the ending -- the whole 'happily ever after' thing just seemed too out of place in my opinion (plus they never explained how Joe, Oscar, and Christine survived that whole ordeal on the boat)...I really wonder if they (the writers / producer) re-shot the ending and changed it from what it was originally supposed to be (especially since Jessica had revealed during one of the promo events that her character dies in the series, but that obviously didn't happen).