I know I just ‘ranted’ about TVB a few weeks ago and to be honest, I didn’t think that I’d have to rant about them again so soon (LOL), but hey, when the situation presents itself, sometimes got to just let it out…
Recently, a few articles came out (in various newspapers and magazines) detailing how Eric Tsang has plans to produce a new series for TVB (filming to start in May) tentatively titled “Aerobic Girls” and will be casting many ‘heavyweight’ (aka ‘big name’) actors/actresses in the series – many of the actors/actresses will be ones whom audiences have not seen in a long time so it will definitely be something ‘to look forward to’ (his words, not mine). Almost immediately after Eric opened his mouth (more like before he even finished speaking), speculations and rumors started to formulate about who those ‘long time no see’ actors/actresses would be. One of the first names ‘dropped’ was award-winning film actor Tony Leung Ka Fai – he was of course an ‘easy target’ for the Media to ‘associate’ with this series, since Eric had very publicly ‘announced’ prior to this that Tony had approached him voluntarily to ask about ‘helping’ TVB out by filming TV series for them. Around the same time, there were ‘rumors’ that the female leads being considered for the series included Teresa Mo, Veronica Ip, Vivian Chow (just to name a few) – the funny thing is that even though Vivian’s manager immediately denied the rumor and Vivian herself even said that the chance of her returning to TVB to film series was very slim (pretty much ‘zero’), there were still a lot of people out there who were ‘excited’ about seeing Vivian return and started talking about the series as though that particular ‘casting’ was a ‘done deal’ already.
Of course now, several weeks later, the ‘rumored’ leads for the series have changed (I wonder what those people who previously insisted on the Tony / Vivian / Teresa / Veronica casting think now??) – the latest ‘rumor’ is that Lawrence Ng (aka Dr. Paul Ching – just had to point that out, since I know of at least 3 Lawrence Ngs in the HK entertainment industry and wanted to make sure people didn’t get confused…LOL) will be participating in the series and the ‘rumored’ female leads have changed to Teresa Mo, Flora Chan, and Sheren Tang. As of right now, none of the 3 rumored female leads have confirmed anything and both Lawrence and Eric are remaining purposefully ‘vague’ about the whole situation (as he did before, Lawrence dropped a ‘hint’ that the 3 leads were actresses he had worked with before – um, yea, like that means anything...).
Ok, so now that I’ve laid it all out, you want to know what my thoughts are on this? Well, here goes…
I’m pretty sure the piece about Lawrence participating in the series is true, since he as much as admitted it himself already (from what has come out so far, his role supposedly won’t be too significant, so not sure what he is so excited about…haha). As for the other 3 ‘rumored’ female leads – well, let’s look at it based on the information we know:
.-- Teresa Mo already said in an interview a few months ago (a Mingpao interview that I actually translated and posted on my blog for those interested in reading it) that she has no intention of going back to filming TV series because of the overwhelming guilt she felt in ‘neglecting’ her family for the 3 years (2008 to 2010) that she had returned to film for TVB earlier -- so she is basically going to focus primarily on her film career and on taking care of her family. So to me, this means that the likelihood of her agreeing to this series is very slim (unless she decided to change her mind, which I doubt) – in any case, if it turns out she does agree to this series, I for one will definitely want to understand the reason why.
.—Flora Chan stated in an interview a little over a year ago that she was going back to school to get her Masters (and possibly a Doctorate later on) in English so that she can pursue a career in Teaching later on down the road. She said that when her daughter is older, she plans on moving the family to the U.S. and teaching there (true to her word, she is currently enrolled at HKU and studying English). Despite that interview, there continue to be ‘rumors’ every other month or so (literally) about Flora returning to TVB to film series (honestly, I’m tired of hearing about it myself….doesn’t the Media ever stop?). She had said in that same interview that she was going to take a break from filming series for at least 2 years if not more.
However, according to the articles that have come out, Flora is supposedly in ‘final discussion’ with Eric and them on this series – they claim that Flora agreed to film this series because it would be during summer break when she has a few months off from school (so the ‘caveat’ is that the filming needs to be completed before the next semester begins). I guess it could work out…but still not looking forward to this because the last time Flora returned, she got a really crappy script and made a really crappy series (that barely anyone bothered watching).
.—And finally, there’s Sheren – what are her chances of accepting this series? Well, at this point, unless the script is finalized, the chance is ‘zero’ because she already learned her lesson from the ordeal she went through filming the WAB sequel and so going forward, will only film series that have a complete script. Also, knowing the way Eric Tsang operates, I highly doubt Sheren will want to work with him because he does exactly the same thing scriptwriter Chow Yuk Ming does – ‘on the fly’ scripts that change from one day to the next…in fact, in many ways, Eric is way worse because he’s known for being ‘spontaneous’ when it comes to filming and could change things from one minute to the next (remember how Teresa said that she would get the script the morning of filming and a couple hours later, after she memorized everything already, as she’s getting ready to film the scene, she is told to ‘scrap’ everything she just memorized cuz the script changed – Eric had just come up with a new idea for doing the scene and so changed things on the spot). Based on this, I highly doubt Sheren is going to accept the series, as I don’t feel that she is willing to put herself through all that torture for TVB’s sake (plus it’s not like she’s contracted with TVB anyway – she’s a free artist so she can do anything she wants pretty much).
Obviously, I don’t look upon this particular ‘project’ of Eric’s very favorably – at this point, I truly feel that it’s all just Media hype. And honestly, the name of the series itself (“Aerobic Girls”) already turns me off because it sounds so much like an ‘idol’ series (which I absolutely can’t stand). I surely hope that the title will be changed because as of right now, based on the title alone, the series sounds lame (and it doesn’t help that Eric is producing it – most of his recent productions have pretty much been borderline ‘raunchy comedies’, so I can’t help but think that this one will be the same…).
Oh, and what about the script? Again, knowing how TVB operates (some things never change), most likely the script is going to suck (as it usually does in these types of ‘grand’ productions with a supposed ‘all star’ ensemble cast). In fact, that’s one of the (many) things I can’t stand about TVB – their mentality that as long as you stuff as many ‘big names’ or ‘popular artists’ (aka artists that audiences want to see) in a TV series as possible, you can pretty much take the ‘lazy’ route when it comes to the plot and script because the naïve HK housewife audiences aren’t going to know any better and aren’t going to care as long as the artists they like show up on their screens every night. No, I’m actually not exaggerating because it’s pretty much a fact that HK audiences have an affinity for ‘familiarity’ (there’s actually been a lot of articles written about this over the past few decades) – it’s one of the (many) reasons why TVB has continued to be so ‘successful’ over the years despite serious decline in the quality of their productions and lack of talent. This concept also explains the reason why for many years, TVB has been utilizing the strategy of inviting ‘old’ artists back to film for them (though there are other reasons as well, such as the lack of young talent to carry a series, for example). If you want to see whether this is true or not – well, just take a look around you….if you were to tell friends and family around you (those familiar with HK entertainment of course) that TVB plans on bringing Andy Lau or Chow Yun Fat back to film series, what do you think their reaction would be? And ‘why’ do you think they would react that way? I rest my case….
Some last thoughts about this whole ‘name-dropping’ trend from recent years….
Honestly, I’m sick and tired of all the ‘name-dropping’ that TVB (via the likes of Eric Tsang, for example) and the Media have resorted to the past 2-3 years in terms of artists they hope to ‘invite back’ to film series for them. Some examples of ‘names’ that have come up: Chow Yun Fat, Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Sandra Ng, Anthony Wong, Vivian Chow, (big) Tony Leung, Deanie Ip, Jacky Cheung….and the list goes on….pretty much anyone you can think of who was once associated with TVB in one way or another (which is pretty much 90% of the artists in the HK entertainment industry) is ‘fair game’ for a so-called ‘return’ to TVB – that is, unless you do what Gordon Lam did (kudos to you, Gordon!) and outright reject TVB with a firm ‘No! Absolutely not!’ [Gordon revealed in a few interviews recently that he was contacted by TVB inviting him to return and film series for them, but he outright rejected them without bothering to listen to any further details of the series from them. He said he did so because he already knows what he wants in terms of future career path (which involves a career in film, not TV), so why not just be direct with them and say no instead of going back to do a meaningless project that does nothing for his career goals?] You hit the nail on the head, Gordon!! It takes guts to go against an established ‘giant’ like TVB and the fact that he did it so firmly and confidently (without being rude about it) definitely deserves praise in my book! (Boy I would have LOVED to see the look on those lame TVB execs’ faces upon hearing Gordon reject them so bluntly – seeing those fake, smug smiles wiped off their faces for even a minute would have provided one of those ‘priceless’ Kodak moments that no amount of money could buy! LOL!). So basically, if an artist gives any answer other than a firm ‘No!’, they will be caught in an endless ‘speculation’ game with the Media and general public (keep in mind that there are many audiences out there who will very readily believe anything the Media says without question).
This is why I absolutely get annoyed when TVB (and the Media) ‘jumps the gun’ and starts ‘leaking’ all this information out prior to anything being confirmed. What’s the point of doing this, since it’s a ‘no win’ situation for both sides if the collaboration doesn’t work out? The only 2 reasons I can think of are: 1) they ‘leak’ this stuff out as a means of publicity / hype for the series – so basically, it’s pretty much a ‘publicity stunt’; and 2) it’s a tactic employed by the company (TVB in this case) to ‘force’ the artist(s) to accept the offer, since all the pressure from the Media (and the audiences / fans) definitely does have an impact (take Francis Ng for example – part of the reason why he agreed to return to do TITS2 was because of audience pressure – he had said in an interview previous that initially, he wasn’t going to film the sequel because he doesn’t believe in doing sequels for sequels sake, but then everyone kept pestering him about it and because he felt the audiences (and fans) really wanted him to return to film the sequel, he gave in and did it).
In conclusion….I have a feeling this won’t be the end of this whole ‘name-dropping’ thing – in fact, this is just the beginning! I’m sure that there will be many more instances of this in the months / years to come (especially if rival HKTV finally does end up getting their license).
Let’s see who the next big ‘name drop’ will end up being (anyone want to venture to guess?)....I have a few ‘guesses’ in mind, but for now, let’s just ‘sit back’ and see what happens…