Interview with former TVB veteran actor Leung Kin Ping: “Accept all filming offers and find a way to break through”
Thursday, November 08, 2012
Having played crime boss ‘Brother Willie’ from TVB’s 2009 series Lives of Omission《潛行狙擊》 as well as crooked businessman ‘Luk Kwong Chiu’ in this year’s boxing-themed series Gloves Come Off《拳王》, veteran actor Leung Kin Ping (梁健平) is used to playing ‘villain’ roles. After graduating from school, Leung Kin Ping’s very first job was working for Shaw Brothers movie studio and later on, he joined TVB – therefore, it can be said that Sir Run Run Shaw has been his ‘boss’ for practically his entire career. Now that ‘Uncle Six’ has retired, Leung Kin Ping has decided to take a ‘seeing the world with different eyes’ approach to his career – he recently joined Ricky Wong’s fledgling TV station CTI, thereby ending his 30 year ‘relationship’ with his mother home TVB.
When Leung Kin Ping was at TVB, he was actually in quite a lot of series and can be considered one of the artists with ‘heavy output’ in terms of the amount of series he participated in. Part of the reason for this is because as an ‘ordinary’ artist, he feels that he shouldn’t be picky about the series that he participates in, since at the end of the day, “any opportunity is an opportunity” – as long as the right opportunity comes along, it’s still possible to make a break through!
When he worked for Shaw Brothers, Leung Kin Ping was in the printing department, however due to the boring nature of the job, he decided to quit after 1 year and join TVB instead. He indicated that during the period he was at Shaw Brothers, the number of films being produced was very minimal, so he was able to finish his work quickly and during lunch breaks, he would happily go watch the filming that took place in the studio: “One scene I remember vividly was seeing Alexander Fu (傅聲) hanging from wires, dangling in mid-air with [fake] arrows sticking out of his body while Gordon Liu (劉家輝) and Lau Kar Leung (劉家良) sifu were standing at the doorway beneath him, choreographing the scene – they had that ‘big brother’ aura about them… it was pretty neat!” From childhood, Leung Kin Ping had always been a TV fanatic – he recounted one time how he had rejected a date with a female classmate because he had to rush back home to watch Adam Cheng (鄭少秋) in the 70s version of TV series Dragon Sword and Heaven Sabre 《倚天屠龍記》. Laughing, he states: “Of course I wasn’t going to ‘give up’ Adam because of a girl!”
Heartbroken to see colleagues not getting paid
Later on, Leung Kin Ping joined TVB and started off working in the props department – the entire time, he continued to ‘wait’ for an opportunity to come along: “Back then, TVB really had high status, as a lot of film production companies would often come to TVB’s studios to ‘choose’ artists for their movies. I remember seeing Dodo Cheng (鄭裕玲) and Chow Yun Fat (周潤發) filming in Mongkok and the crowds of people numbered in the ten thousands – the situation was just like earlier when Andy Lau (劉德華) was in Mongkok filming a movie! Later on, in the early 80s, I switched to doing commercials for 3 years – at the time, I pretty much had to participate in all aspects of the work. One time, I was even asked to do the actor’s job and film commercials too! That’s how my acting career started.”
Leung Kin Ping participated in so many series while at TVB, he has pretty much lost count already: “Earlier in the year, when I was filming Sergeant Tabloid《女警愛作戰》, Niki Chow (周麗淇) asked me why it seemed like I was in every single series – I made up an excuse and said that I was TVB’s ‘street cleaner’ and would sweep up whatever garbage came my way. In truth, I feel that as an ‘ordinary’ artist, I shouldn’t decline any job opportunities or be selective about series to participate in. I remember Fat Gor (Chow Yun Fat) once told me that the film you spend the most time being overly selective about usually is the one that ends up bombing -- he said that back when he filmed God of Gamblers《賭神》and An Autumn’s Tale《秋天的童話》, he didn’t have much confidence either, but both films ended up becoming huge hits. I don’t know if I’ll bump into such an opportunity or not, so to me, every opportunity is a possibility – if people feel that you are most suited for a particular position, you will naturally get chosen for it, so there’s no point to force it.” With his 2 most recent roles – as ‘Brother Willie’ in Lives of Omission and ‘Luk Kwong Chiu’ in Gloves Come off -- more audiences have started to recognize him: “One time I was walking in Tsim Sha Tsui and a group of construction workers across the street yelled in my direction ‘Hey, Brother Willie!’ I looked over and thought: ‘Wah, they’re all the way over there and still able to recognize me?’ Their enthusiasm was heartwarming! I feel that those 2 roles are ‘parting gifts’ from TVB – that’s why I’m very grateful to producers Chong Wai Kin (莊偉健) [LOO’s producer] and Marco Law (羅永賢) [GCO’s producer].”
Many former TVB artists have criticized the company for not giving pay raises and artists having to ‘survive’ with a ridiculously low base salary for a number of years. Leung Kin Ping revealed that even though he frequently exceeded the number of shows required in his contract, TVB would only give him a 50 HKD per show pay raise: “Back then, the company told me that I was actually one of the ‘lucky’ ones, as others don’t get a raise at all – they even told me that they’re unsure if the profits will start to decline in the next 2 years, so they’re afraid to give too high of a raise or perhaps not even give raises at all. I’m lucky that I was able to survive to this day and haven’t ‘died’ yet. To be honest, all these years, my salary has never been ‘OK’ [TN: meaning salary is barely enough to survive], but I still make it work – just eat cheaper and watch the spending! Fortunately, my wife has a good job with a good salary that can support the family, which allows me to continue to pursue acting. In all honesty, all I’m asking for is to be treated fairly and reasonably. After I joined CTI in May, I heard from some former colleagues at TVB that they finally got pay raises – I was very happy to hear this! Back when I was at TVB, I personally saw some colleagues not get paid at all because they didn’t have enough shows – I felt really bad and it broke my heart to see them in such a desperate situation…a lot of them wanted to leave TVB because of this. Luckily, producers such as Lee Tim Sing (李添勝), Poon Ka Tak (潘嘉德), and Amy Wong (王心慰) reached out to ‘save’ these colleagues by asking them to participate in their series, which helped them get through those difficult times.”
Just knowing how to cry well is not considered good acting
Leung Kin Ping indicates that in addition to wanting a change of environment, the other reason why he decided to leave TVB was because he wanted to rediscover the sense of ‘familiarity’ and ‘closeness’ that he once felt with his work: “At the new company, there are new challenges, but also a different type of motivation and morale. For example, during the filming of CTI’s musical Fantasy Love Song 201314《童話戀曲201314》, watching the ‘kids’ [younger actors] dancing and singing and having a good time, seeing their enthusiasm and vitality, it created a happy environment for all of us – this is the type of thing that we didn’t see with the previous company [TVB]. Also, while we’re filming, our boss Ricky Wong would all of a sudden ask a cook to make a meal consisting of 3 dishes + 1 soup and have someone specially drive the food to the filming location for us to eat!”
Leung Kin Ping expressed that he hopes to get the opportunity to film even better quality series: “Filming scenes that make people cry is not very difficult – just because you know how to cry well doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good actor. More important is for audiences to be able to relate to what they are watching – do they benefit from what they watch or does it influence them in some way? For example, someone going through a breakup or experiencing the death of a loved one are perhaps able to feel differently about their own situation because of a particular scene I did or dialogue I said in the series – having that kind of impact on audiences is my ultimate goal.” Leung Kin Ping states that he hopes the government will grant CTI their license soon so that they can give the television industry a much needed boost – hopefully the healthy competition will help the industry thrive and prosper once again.
Acting Profile: Varied roles, both good guys and villains
Leung Kin Ping is currently 46 years old. Upon graduating from school, he joined Shaw Brothers movie studio and later switched over to TVB. Active in the industry since the 1980s, Leung Kin Ping has participated in countless series -- including City Japes《城市故事》, Files of Justice《壹號皇庭》, To Catch the Uncatchable《棟篤神探》, Lives of Omission, Gloves Come Off, etc. -- in roles that are hugely varied, portraying both ‘good guys’ as well as ‘villains’. Some of his most memorable roles include crime boss ‘Brother Willie’ from Lives of Omission, the cook ‘Pao Sing Kap’ in House of Harmony and Vengeance《耀舞長安》, crooked businessman ‘Luk Kwong Chiu’ from Gloves Come off, as well as others. In May of this year, he left TVB and currently works for Ricky Wong’s CTI.
Source: HK Channel
Translated by: llwy12 @ AsianFanatics
Labels: Other Entertainment News