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Lawrence Ng Felt Shameful Over Soft-Porn Past

By on November 20, 2012

Lawrence Ng Felt Shameful Over Soft-Porn Past thumbnail

While one can claim that Lawrence Ng’s (吳啟華) portrayal of a kindhearted and earnest doctor in TVB’s Healing Hearts <妙手仁心> is one of the defining moments in his acting career, Lawrence went through a rough period to gain his clean and healthy image back after starring in a slew of soft porn, or Category III films, in the 1990s.

In 1991, Lawrence was the male lead in Category III movie, Sex and Zen <玉蒲團之偷情寶鑑> with Amy Yip (葉子楣). The film’s box office surpassed expectations and raked in close to $200 million HKD, making it one of the highest grossing Category III films at that time. However, Lawrence claimed he was manipulated into making the film which unfortunately labeled him as an adult-film actor.

Lawrence explained how he came to star in Sex and Zen, “I worked with Amy previously in a triad film. In the film, I portrayed a horny boy who tried to seduce Amy. There was a scene where I had to run naked too, but of course that was done by a body double because I draw the line when it comes to nudity onscreen!”

“I received some rave reviews for my performance in the film and I felt confident about my acting as well. Because of this, my relationship with the producer Johnny Mac (麥當雄) was pretty good. He expressed interest to cast me as the male lead for a period-film. At the same time I also accepted a role in The Actress <阮玲玉>, so with two films under my belt, I felt really lucky.

“When I started reading the script for Sex and Zen, I realized my character was completely not what I had imagined. Unfortunately, the director said that if I did not continue filming Sex and Zen, I’ll have to pay $200 million HKD for backing out of the contract. It was such a big deal that even the director of The Actress got involved, and he told me to just film Sex and Zen.

“I was really unhappy after the shooting wrapped up. Shortly after, I got married in Thailand and was ready to start a small business and retire from acting. You can call it hiding because I had starred in Category III films, which made me feel as if I was making a porn film. During filming, I remember the director shouted, ‘Hey Lawrence! Grab Amy’s breast and squeeze it tight!’ As an actor, being forced [into such situations] was not enjoyable at all. enjoy acting in that type of environment, but at the time, my career was not really going anywhere and in order to make a living, I did not have a choice!”

This article is written by Natalie for JayneStars.com.

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  • Readers' Comments (56)

    1. Funn Lim says:

      That’s not right; no full disclosure of a role. Kinda like misleading the actor into acting in soft porn.

      • Jayne says:

        Funn,
        I’m sure such things happen all the time, especially to artists with less clout and backing.

        Even if an artist signs up for a role which they keep intact without altering the script, they can package the film into a Category III product.

        Was it Michael Tao who was also “tricked” to appear in a Category III movie? I believe he mentioned in some past interview that it was a ghost movie, but then there were some topless scenes added later?

        For artists with less clout, they seem to have accepted that these things are beyond their control, as legal representation is costly.

        • Funn Lim says:

          Cat III is just a classification. Topless scenes is nothing. But Sex & Zen was soft porn and he had to do things he may not have agreed to in the first place. You must hand it to hollywood to specify where to show how much to show, etc. But like you said he may not be huge then.

        • Terminator says:

          @Funn

          Well, in Sex&Zen, he supposed to be “huge”, which was the premise of the movie. LOL!!!

        • pandamao says:

          Yes Michael Tao was in 7/15, with Sean Lau. He was in the beginning of the movie having sex with a woman ..

        • Yuyu says:

          Doesn’t this remind anyone of Gallen’s character in Old Time Buddies?

      • Kristy says:

        A lot of actors were in soft porn in the early 90s because it was popular back in the day. Lot’s of actors or actresses went that route because it was the way how the filming industry worked. Not to mention triads forcing actors and actresses into these soft porn/porn movies.

        • Kristy says:

          You don’t have to take my word for it, just do a simple search for soft porn/porn for hk movies. Most of them were created back in the 80s/90s and not 20xx. It goes to show how popular soft porn/porn movies were in HK in the late 80s to early 90s.

        • Kristy says:

          Sex and Zen was the first 3D sex movie – ever. Women nowadays are openly watching porn and not as conservative as they were in the 90s. And let’s not forget the endless tours from China that are specifically travelling to HK to watch the film because any type of porn movie is basically banned in Mainland China. I wouldn’t disagree that Sex and Zen is popular. But can you imagine someone like Him Law or Raymond Wong filming a soft porn movie? Doubtful…

    2. mary-belle says:

      It might be that he has been tricked to do this specific film called Sex and Zen but didn’t the do some other Cat III films as well? Why can’t he just say that he was young and as a not well-known actor he decided to film those to earn some dough? And I don’t think that it would be shameful to have done it willingly because Cat III isn’t the same as porn. And we all know that there are Hollywood stars who have a past as soft porn actors/actrices, too. On the other hand, there are some third rank celebrities with ‘leaked’ sex tapes to promote themselves.

      • Funn Lim says:

        This movie may be called Cat III but in true fact was soft porn.

      • Terminator says:

        Well, he must not be too bright then because right after Sex & Zen he got “tricked” again, again, and again into making a series of soft core porn films that include the “rape culture” classic Raped by an Angel.

      • Cloud says:

        I never saw Sex and Zen. Is the movie less explicit than Lust Caution? I saw Lust Caution, the uncut version on DVD and that movie is not even under Category III despite both lead actor and actress were naked and having sex that looked real enough to be classified as porn.

        • Yuyu says:

          Sex and Zen nothing compared to Lust Caution. Sex and Zen was beginning level and List Caution was expert level.

    3. Mick says:

      Just googled 葉子楣. Wow. Are those real?

    4. c3 says:

      What a liar. Being forced to grab Amy Yip’s breasts was not enjoyable at all? Yeah right.

      • Jayne says:

        C3,
        Lawrence prides himself in his good acting and he felt shameful and insulting to be acting in such sex-oriented films. It’s understandable that under such circumstances, it’s more shameful than enjoyable.

        • Funn Lim says:

          Learn from Tony Leung and his lust/caution. If it was Ang Lee directing Sex & Zen I am sure he won’t fell that way.

        • c3 says:

          I think any male actor would have secretly jumped at the chance to be in his place lol. I understand how he feels, however there’s really nothing wrong with it – Daniel Wu acted in such films before and he’s ended up just fine :)

        • c3 says:

          and i bet he secretly enjoyed it lol :)

      • Kidd says:

        I think Amy Yip would feel more bad than him, being the one whose breasts were being grabbed.

    5. Fox says:

      Don’t know why but I really think Lawrence is a liar in this article. Don’t get me wrong, I still like him much but what he said about Sex & Zen is really hard to believe. Was he that naive? If that, how about the other Cat III ones?

      • Anna says:

        I think in the other Cat III ones, he wasn’t the lead and played a minor role. But as the star in Sex & Zen and having to grab the actresses’s boobs was probably the final straw for him. .. at least thats how I interpret it…

      • picklehead says:

        I am with you. I think he is trying to make himself seem like a reputable actor and saying he was ‘ashamed of himself’. I personally think it’s just smoke and mirrors.

    6. smurf120 says:

      If you can get over notions of impropriety and the OTT scenes in Sex and Zen, it is actually a really hilarious movie. Also Lawrence Ng was not the only actor who needed work and ended up in Cat III movie – Moses Chan, Sonny Chan, Joe Ma (and numerous other actors). The Cat III spoof comedy Viva Erotica with Leslie Cheung covers this quite well.

      • Daisy says:

        Woah really? I had no idea that so many tvb actors worked in that. Can’t blame them though sometimes you just have to film those types of movies to breakout. Prime example is Shu Qi

    7. P. Tan says:

      The title of the series, Sex and Zen, would already have made him suspicious of the content in the first place. Doesn’t an actor find out excactly the details of his role if he’s in any way doubtful? I really wonder why Lawrence is making all these recent confessions about his past acting dealings? What is he trying to tell us? That he is , in fact, a “good” man?

    8. Carole says:

      And 3 years later (1994) he was’ tricked’ to act in another soft porn 滿清十大酷刑 ( a Chinese torture chamber story)

      • c3 says:

        tricked once is one thing, but acting in a second one is starting to look very suspicious in the validity of his claims.

    9. hcfoo says:

      Not to forget Power Chan in Cat III movies too. We used to rent videos and the shopowner accidentally gave us a Power Chan movie. But my mom stopped us from watching further because it was soft porn. I still remember that image of Power in that porn movie until today. You can say I always have a bad impression about him.

      • kiki says:

        power chan? that dude thats always in supporting and now has a kid or something? wow, actually come to think of it, i think alot of non-famous actors/actress might at one point or another been into soft porn that we just dont realized or know. i remember my colleagues told me once WONG HEI was in softporn? i was like hahahah that skinny dude? ahahah lol

      • Veejay says:

        Moses Chan was also in soft porn movie before.

      • Kidd says:

        I believe Simon Yam has also filmed some Cat3 movies before.

        My friend said she has seen Steven Ma in a Cat3 film. I said maybe she’s mistaken since I’ve read in tianya someone ask whether Steven has acted in Cat3 or not and someone named a movie and another said he’s not Steven but another actor who looks a bit like Steven Ma but not him. But, my friend was very sure the actor in that Cat3 movie she has watch is Steven Ma.

    10. picklehead says:

      What HK actor hasn’t acted in a cat iii film? Geez, my eyes!!!

    11. picklehead says:

      What I mean is, I am learning all the time some actors I kinda don’t mind used to act in them. I think Raymond Wong also did, no?

    12. aptos says:

      Lawrence Ng may have regretted his past now but at that time when his roles were few and far between, he had to do what he had to do such as he had to feed himself and/or his family. Hindsight is 20/20 as noone can predict the future. As long as he is not a serial killer or rapist, child molester or a drug addict or trafficker or even a philanderer or wife beater, he is OK in my book.

    13. Primrose says:

      Kenny Wong has done Cat III too.

    14. raysimpson says:

      How about Simon Yam? I love the one he did with Irene Wen. Wonder if she was tricked into it.

      • Veejay says:

        Don’t think she was tricked into it, she volunteered to film it but she sets limit though.. like for eg. she gets to choose her co-star aka Simon since they r good friends and she only exposed upto her chest part.nothing more.

    15. HeTieShou says:

      I guess at times in order to survive many actors/actresses were forced into doing these kinds of things. At least they did not rob or hurt anyone in order to gain something for themselves..it is the past now, so I hope that he can let it go since life is short.

    16. Kidd says:

      I always thought ‘Sex and Zen’ is one of the more reputation Cat3 movies that actors wouldn’t mind being associated with. I remember seeing a poster of ‘Sex and Zen 2′ and saw Flora Chan in it. The poster is pretty clean, so, I don’t know how sexy in the actual film.

    17. Jayne says:

      Alex Fong Chung Shun also starred in Category III film.

      Alex Man did as well, although not sure whether it was rated for violence or sexual content.

      If I am not mistaken, Sin Lap Man (who starred in many Category III films) will be appearing in “Triumph in the Skies 2″.

      The male actors, as long as they have varied filming resume, don’t seem to be that tainted if they have starred in Category III. For the ladies, it seems to be a harder label to shake off.

    18. sushiroll says:

      well look at his face. completely spells out harm sup lol. anyway i saw a cat 3 film with vincent lam. i wonder how much he got paid for it….cause he’s done many.

    19. Chi says:

      The nudity scenes in Hk Cat 3 movies are quite mild & are no more explicit than those in mainstream american movies, eg. American Pie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, heaps of Angelina Jolie movies, Sharon Stone movies etc.

      I found the Lust Caution scenes much more explicit than those in the Cat 3 movies.

      • steve says:

        right on, i think so too…
        compare to american R rated or NC 17, HK III’s are probably nothing esp they dont show men full frontal i think.

    20. hcfoo says:

      Guess it’s not easy to survive in the HK entertainment biz. Some have to struggle for years to finally get recognized. Some may not even get that their whole lives.

    21. smurf120 says:

      Definitely put Sex and Zen into the soft porn comedy category than other films – also Lawrence Ng used to be almost always cast as villain in TVB series – most notable in my mind in Grand Canal. I agree with Kidd – it is one of the more respectable ones.

      Simon Yam was Hong Kong Gigolo for several movies. Gordan Lam was in Cat III horror about voodoo curses.

    22. Woot says:

      Whats so shameful in filming in Cat 3 movies? Yes, it’s not glorious but Lawrence shouldn’t say as if it’s such an embarrassment. It was a way of making a living to most artists back then, can you fault them for being in these movies? And coming from someone who was once in that situation, I don’t think so highly of him anymore. If anything, it’s more shameful to those who watch them cuz demands create supplies, since you want to put it that way.

      • Veejay says:

        I never see its a shameful thing acting in Porn, obviously these ppl are in need of something and they had to resort doing soft.. no big deal really.

    23. Terminator says:

      I wouldn’t mind to see some of today’s actors/actresses got “tricked” into doing soft porn/ cat3 films.

      Wait, haven’t some of them already did? Gillian Chung? Cecelia Cheung? LOL!!

      Next I would like to see Linda Chung, Tavia Yeung, or Charmaine Sheh got “tricked”.

      • Cloud says:

        How could you compare Gillian and Cecilia to porn movies? The former did it in private with someone whom they were in a relationship with. People who do porn movies or pictorals did it for the public to see for fame and money.

    24. Terminator says:

      Sorry that you did not get the humor.

    25. snot says:

      what a silly actor

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