Here's an article that just came out in today's issue of Mingpao Weekly Magazine that I felt would be a good idea to share...
First, for those who were wondering about a "Tiger Cubs" sequel -- well, based on the below article, looks like TVB definitely has plans to film the sequel, but they were waiting to see if Jessica Hsuan would accept the terms of the contract and come back to film it. BUT, based on the article, looks like those plans will be scrapped now because Jessica just confirmed that she won't be returning to TVB -- she officially turned down their offer.
To be honest, I'm actually a little 'bummed' by this news because "Tiger Cubs" was one of the few series that I truly enjoyed watching last year -- not only that, it's also the only series that I really wanted to see a sequel made because for once, it actually MAKES SENSE (meaning that there's enough material for a sequel due to the 'individual story/cases' format of the series -- basically, continuing the story with the same characters wouldn't be a problem at all from a scripting point of view). Since Jessica was such a critical part of the series, if she's not going to film the sequel, then that definitely reduces my 'interest' in wanting a sequel. Such a pity!
Ah well...so much for that....
In any case, I will say that I'm happy to see that Jessica is doing work that she truly enjoys -- from the way she described her South Africa trip (both in the article and on Weibo), it's definitely obvious that she really enjoyed the trip (despite some of the 'issues' she encountered) and learned alot from it.
Lastly, just a comment about the contract talks....Jessica stated that she was interested in filming the TC sequel and things looked positive on Tommy Leung's side, but in the end, the plans still fell through because of 'things' that both sides couldn't agree upon in the contract. Well, based on everyone's 'knowledge' about TVB and what was implied in the article, I'm pretty sure we can all figure out what that 'thing' was that prevented Jessica from re-signing with TVB. Personally, I'm 99.9% positive that the reason she didn't sign was because of the lack of freedom -- I'm willing to bet that TVB probably put some clause in there that restricted her from 'appearing' on other TV stations, which would have been a huge problem given the fact that she was already filming stuff for NowTV and might even collaborate with CTI in the future if the right opportunity comes up. TVB (being the arrogant powerhouse that they are) probably refused to budge on the matter and Jessica of course was not going to let TVB tie her down again after being 'freed' from their grasp, so that probably caused the talks to break down. If that's the case, that's truly sad....
Hoping for a breakthrough in relationship and career, Jessica Hsuan confirmed not returning to TVB
Source: Mingpao Weekly, Issue 2305
The lack of siu sangs and fadans at TVB is really becoming apparent. With many artists leaving the nest the past few years as well as more and more of TVB’s own ‘biological’ sons and daughters heading up north to film series in Mainland China, TVB’s executives and producers are having a hard time finding artists for their series.
Former TVB fadan Jessica Hsuan’s (宣萱) contract with TVB expired back in 2011 and up until this point, she had not yet made a decision on whether she will re-sign a per series contract with the station. Due to the good ratings and word of mouth for last year’s Tiger Cubs (飛虎), it’s been reported that TVB has been actively trying to persuade Jessica to return to TVB – in addition to using the filming of a sequel to Tiger Cubs as ‘bait’, TVB also sent production head Tommy Leung (梁家樹) to personally discuss the matter with her. In the end however, things did not work out, as Jessica recently confirmed that she has officially declined TVB’s offer.
Asked about the matter, Jessica admitted that the discussions with TVB have ended: “It’s true – I’ve officially replied back to TVB already and confirmed that I won’t be returning. The main reason is because during the contract talks, there were some things that we couldn’t come to an agreement on. I’m enjoying the position I’m in currently where I have the freedom to choose different types of jobs.”
Even though Jessica’s contract already expired back in 2011, the series Tiger Cubs, which she starred in last year with long-time partner Joe Ma (馬德鐘), became an unexpected success when it aired last year in the weekend time slot. Not only did the series garner good word of mouth, it also broke ratings records by peaking at more than 30 points – a rare feat in that particular time slot. To keep up the momentum, TVB already has plans to start filming a Tiger Cubs sequel in June – since the series’ leading actor Joe Ma already re-signed a ‘per series’ contract with TVB last year, all that was left was for the series’ leading actress Jessica Hsuan to return as well so they could move forward with the plans. However, looks like those plans will have to change now.
Jessica expressed: “I’m definitely interested in filming the Tiger Cubs sequel, since Joe and I collaborate well – on Tommy’s side, everything is fine as well. But unfortunately, during the course of the contract discussion, there were some things that both sides were not able to agree upon. I already responded back to TVB – since I’m not able to do it, no point in keeping things open-ended. Actually, in the past year that I’ve not had any contracts to worry about, I’ve had a lot more freedom in choosing my jobs and the feeling is great! I want to do work that I enjoy and even if it’s filming series, I still want to have new breakthroughs and try different types of roles. I understand TV stations wanting to go the ‘safe’ route, but after 20 years of playing the same ‘professional career woman’ roles, it starts to get boring. That’s why I was willing to accept the role in Curse of the Royal Harem (萬凰之王) – since it was the type of character I had never played before, both my fans and I were very excited about the opportunity. Even though my performance [in that series] wasn’t tremendously good, at least there was a sense of ‘freshness’ to the role. I’m not the type of person who just takes a paycheck every month and that’s it – money is definitely not the most important factor.”
All along, there have been rumors that CTI’s Ricky Wong (王維基) has been actively trying to persuade Jessica to join his company. Towards this, Jessica responded: “Since I’m a free artist now, of course I’m not going to rule out the possibility of collaborating with any company – at this point, it pretty much depends on the role, the script, the terms of the collaboration, and whether my schedule permits.”
Filming for NowTV as a free artist
With her status as a ‘freelance’ artist for the past year, Jessica recently traveled to South Africa to film a special documentary program for NowTV and in the coming months, will be filming an animal-themed program for them: “I will be hosting 6 to 7 episodes of the program. It won’t be a program about pet grooming or taking care of pets, but rather, it will provide audiences with information on how to adopt abandoned cats and dogs. Jobs like this one where I can share my experiences with others and do something that benefits society at the same time, I’m very willing to accept! Just like with the South Africa documentary earlier, that was also a job that I really wanted to do – not only did I get the chance to meet new people and expand my social circle, I also got to interact with nature and rare animals – definitely a very enjoyable experience! This time in South Africa, I also got the chance to try their local foods that were cooked very simply over a fire with only a few spices added, yet it was very delicious and tasty – it made me realize that sometimes, the most simplistic things are the most beautiful and also the happiest; having lived in a big city my entire life, getting the chance to experience nature like this is a very comfortable feeling.” As an animal-lover herself, the trip also gave Jessica the opportunity to ‘interact’ up close with various exotic animals such as giraffes, seals, cheetahs, etc.: “I wasn’t afraid of interacting with the cheetahs because I had Walter Kei (紀曉華) with me [TN: Walter is a renown travel and food columnist in HK and China] – if the cheetahs were to bite, they would bite him first…haha! But actually, the cheetahs were quite cute. During my trip, I also ‘kissed’ a huge frog – the production crew teased that I kissed the frog because I wanted it to turn into a prince!”
Potential suitors in her life
Of course the frog didn’t turn into a prince, but what about Jessica’s love life? Any potential suitors? Earlier, Jessica was photographed ‘shopping’ with singer Fiona Sit’s (薛凱琪) ex-rumored boyfriend Reggie Martin. Towards this, Jessica laughed and stated: “Reggie is only a good friend whom I met through another friend -- we’re not dating! Sometimes, when Reggie comes over from Macau, we would get together and have dinner along with other friends – in fact, just recently, I had dinner with him and also Michael Wong (王敏德) and a few others. I actually have a lot of male friends and even though the Media always tries to create rumors, my friendships with them are never affected.”
Entering the year of the snake, a few geomancers predicted that Jessica will experience breakthroughs in her love life and career this year: “Hopefully! I also hope that there will be breakthroughs in both this year – happy to hear it! I might appear very Westernized with certain things, but inside, I’m quite traditional.” (Any potential suitors right now?) “Yes, but so far, I haven’t met ‘Mr. Right’ yet.”
Towards Jessica Hsuan turning down TVB’s offer, head of production Tommy Leung expressed: “Earlier, producer Lam Chi Wah (林志華) [TN: the producer for Tiger Cubs] did talk to Jessica about it [filming the sequel]. I found out about a week ago that Jessica already responded and expressed that for the time being, she’s not interested in discussing it anymore – therefore, with regard to the Tiger Cubs sequel, we will need to go back and look at the storyline and casting again. As of right now, Joe [Ma] will most likely still participate in the series."