Oscar Leung Relishes Role as Emperor Tongzhi
It has been a bountiful year for Oscar Leung (梁烈唯) this year with major roles in House of Harmony and Vengeance <耀舞長安>, Queen of Diamonds and Hearts <東西宮略>, L’Escargot <缺宅男女>, Tiger Cubs <飛虎>, and now The Confidant <大太監>.
The most challenging roles for Oscar were that of Kwan Yi Gor in L’Escargot and Emperor Tongzhi in The Confidant. He commented, “The characters in these two shows have so many ups-and-downs in their lives. The life of Tongzhi in the show is a condensed version; from when he was 14 to 19 years old. I want to show the most of him yet I can’t be too contrived. Kwan Yi Gor had many mood changes in the show, but at least it’s still a modern drama, and I can use my life experiences to help me. For Tongzhi, I can only rely on history books.”
33 going on 14
Looks like lady luck is shining on Oscar. Initially, he was surprised he landed the role of the teenage Tongzhi, since he has never acted as an emperor and he felt that he does not possess a regal air. He was also apprehensive that being 33 years old, he could not act as a teenager. “It must be my baby face!” Oscar concluded happily. He confessed that producer Marco Law (羅永賢) revealed to him that he had had a lot of trouble finding an actor who can act and pass off as a teenager.
Oscar not only felt pressure from working with the veteran actors, but also from the young actor, Pako Au (區珀豪) who acted as the younger Tongzhi in the show. “Not long after filming began, everyone was telling me the boy who acted as the younger Tongzhi was very good. I was afraid I could not live up to his acting. Veteran actors such as Michelle Yim (米雪), Wayne Lai (黎耀祥) and Power Chan (陳國邦) really helped me a lot. There was a particular emotional scene with Michelle. I just took one look at her, and I fell into character immediately.”
Despite the initial pressure of working with the big stars and the lack of information on Emperor Tongzhi, Oscar Leung did not find it a problem to immerse into character and thoroughly enjoyed acting the role.
It also helped that the show was filmed in China’s Hengdian World Studios where there was a reconstitution of the Forbidden City. “I remember Roger Kwok (郭晉安) once told me that it’s easy to get into character if the filming is done on location. And indeed! When I looked down from the Forbidden City [in Hengdian] and saw those officials, the feeling is very grand and different!”
Prior to a Category III film rendition of Tongzhi, there were no other popular productions featuring the emperor. Oscar spent a lot of time researching Tongzhi’s life, reading history books as well as biographies to understand the emperor. He is however glad and honored he is one of the few actors cast as Tongzhi. “I hope that when viewers think of Tongzhi, they would think of Oscar Leung!”
This article is written by Karen for JayneStars.com.
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