Saturday, June 24, 2017

Breaking news: Scriptwriter Chan Po Wah to write and produce new series for TVB

I just read the "hot off the press" news from Mingpao Weekly magazine today about famed scriptwriter Chan Po Wah returning to TVB to write and produce a new series for them.   Sheren Tang is also "implicated" in the news, as she is good friends with Chan Po Wah and is considering returning to film this one series to support her.  Details are below.

I am actually super excited about this news because Chan Po Wah is actually one of my favorite scriptwriters.  I'm sure most of you who follow my blog probably know that Chan Po Wah was the scriptwriter responsible for writing one of my all-time favorite TVB series, The Blood of Good and Evil.  Po Wah Jeh actually left TVB many years ago and currently enjoys a successful career in Mainland China (I didn't know this but she is currently the highest paid Hong Kong scriptwriter in China).  I remember "golden" producer Lee Tim Sing once said when he retired that if TVB wants to "save" the quality of their TV series, they need to bring back scriptwriters Chan Po Wah and Cheung Wah Biu -- well, looks like TVB took Tim Gor's advice to heart, as they have supposedly been in talks with Chan Po Wah to return since more than a year ago.  I wouldn't be surprised if Cheung Wah Biu agrees to return to at some point later on down the line too!

In the interests of time, I'm not going to translate the article word for word, but will summarize the highlights below.

Source:  Mingpao Weekly, Issue 2537 (published June 24, 2017)

Article entitled:  Returning to TVB to support Chan Po Wah, Sheren Tang requests that she gets to sleep

-- Chan Po Wah states that the main reason she agreed to return for this one series is because it is TVB's 50th anniversary, plus she felt that Felix To and Sandy Yu (both of whom were tasked with convincing Po Wah Jeh to return) were sincere in persuading her to come back.  She is considering this as her "gift" to TVB for their 50th birthday.

-- Po Wah Jeh already signed the contract on June 6th with TVB to film 1 series for them.  She will return to HK in October to start prep work for the script.  Cast will be confirmed at later date and filming likely won't commence until 2018, as Po Wah Jeh states that she needs several months to work on the script.

-- Po Wah Jeh will be putting all her Mainland projects on hold for this series after October so she can focus on writing the script.

-- Po Wah Jeh didn't give a whole lot of details on what the series will be about, but she did reveal that it will be a female-oriented story about a wife with "many functions" (not sure if literal or figurative sense) and will be a subject that women in society can relate to.

-- She says that this idea has been floating around in her head for awhile already, but she does not want to film it as a Mainland series because she is familiar with how they operate and in the end, it will no longer be what she intended it.  She wants to film this series as a HK series so it will be done entirely the way she envisioned it.

-- Expanding on the above point, Po Wah Jeh said that TVB is giving her 100% control over the series.  She will be the main scriptwriter for the series as well as the main producer and will have complete control  of the production from a "creativity" as well as "executive (management)" standpoint.

-- Po Wah Jeh's last series with TVB was Loving You, which starred her good friend Sheren Tang.  The reporter interviewing her asked if she would invite Sheren to be the lead in her new series.  Po Wah Jeh said that would be ideal and if Sheren agrees to film it, she will tailor the script specifically for her.  She also said that if Sheren were to be the female lead, then the ideal male lead for the series would be Francis Ng.  However, she said that the script hasn't been written yet and so casting won't even be considered until after she returns to HK in October.

-- Sheren was also interviewed and this was her response:

     - She said it is great news that Po Wah Jeh is willing to return to TVB to write a new series, as a good script is hard to come by nowadays.  She said she really really wants to collaborate with Po Wah Jeh again.

     - Asked if she has already cleared her schedule for this series, Sheren said that there are alot of things to consider and besides she is still waiting to see the script.  The reporter told her what Po Wah Jeh said the story would be about, to which Sheren replied that she only found out about it now, as Po Wah Jeh didn't tell her that part yet.  Hearing the subject matter for the series, Sheren said she is definitely interested.

     - Sheren said that if she were to return to TVB to film a series, her one request is that she gets sufficient rest (sleep).  She said she was already very clear about this back when she came back for the TVB Anniversary Awards last year.  She said that it has nothing to do with her whether she is willing to endure long hours, but rather that at this point in her life, having to film the old way is impossible for her physically.  She mentioned that her last series with TVB (Beauty at War) took a huge toll on her physically that took a long time for her to recover and it was a warning sign that she can't overexert her body that way anymore.

     - Sheren said that some people think that she is unwilling to return because of the money, but she said in reality, that is the last thing she looks at.  She said she has no problems returning to TVB in order to support Po Wah Jeh or to support the HK television industry or whatever reason, but if she has to sacrifice sleep (rest), then that would be a deal-breaker.

     - Sheren actually gave specifics on what she expects in terms of rest (listen up TVB!!!) -- she said that the schedule should be no more than 12 to 13 hours daily, including make-up, costume, etc. Also, she said that she has to have complete script prior to filming -- in other words, no "flying papers" (TVB's usual practice of writing up the script and handing it to artists last minute, resulting in artists not having time to prepare).  Sheren said that script-wise, she is not worried, as she knows Chan Po Wah will have the script ready prior to filming.

     - Sheren said that alot of people have been asking her when she will return to HK to film series -- her response is that she has not forgotten about the HK television industry and if everything is "properly aligned" (schedule, script, whom she will be collaborating with, whether her requirements will be met, etc.), she will return in a heartbeat!

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