Power Chan (陳國邦) has seen everything and been everything. Since his graduation at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 1989, the 44-year-old actor has starred in over 70 television dramas, 40 films, and 10 theater shows. Avid fans of Hong Kong film and television media will be able to recognize Power Chan’s name and face within a split second. Although Power’s acting career started off with a smash hit, the actor was quickly brought back to the sidelines, performing in roles that were neither too leading nor too supporting. So who is Power Chan exactly? A leading actor or a ‘green leaf’?
Early Success in Film
While Power was completing his graduation requirements at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 1989, he was cast in Thank You, Sir <壯志雄心>, a film centering on a group of boys enrolled in the last class offered at the Royal Police Cadet School before its retirement in 1990. Power was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film at the Golden Horse Film Awards in Taiwan, but lost to Banana Paradise’s <香蕉天堂> Chang Shih (張世).
“It was the Golden Film judges themselves who took the initiative to contact the film’s production company in nominating me. In Taiwan, they called me the dark horse,” said Power.
As Power chose to partake in the television industry after his graduation from the academy, getting nominated at a prestigious film festival soon after graduation was the last thing to ever come to Power’s mind. “I was only 21 years old at the time. I had a small frame with a very young face. If I joined the film industry, I know my chances for development would be extremely limited. But in television, I was sure there would be at least some young teenager and student roles for me to do!” Power explained.
Power Wants a Child’s Gift
Power joined TVB in 1989 and debuted in The Justice of Life <他來自江湖>. After four years of portraying supporting roles in TVB dramas, he left the station to attempt a career in the film industry once again. Power earned another Supporting Actor nomination, this time from the Hong Kong Film Awards, for his role in 1994’s cop film, The Final Option<飛虎雄心>.
Power exclaimed, “I thought I was going to win! The film did really well, the character was very popular, and I was sure I was able to win it this time! Then came Twenty Something’s <晚九朝五> Jordan Chan (陳小春) !”
Although Power was unable to receive honorary recognition from his own acting sphere, the audience loved him, and he was a popular casting choice for many producers.
“To have the audience recognize me for my acting is the reason why I am still in this industry! But there is a downside to it. After receiving so much praise right after debuting, you would expect to get something in return. It is like an adult talking to a child: ‘You did really well! You deserve a gift!’ But where is the gift? I don’t see it! ‘It’s coming, it’s coming!’ After several more years of waiting, the adult gives the same response. The gift is nowhere to be seen.
“I have been praised my entire life. Ten to twenty years of my life. But I still don’t have my gift. Sometimes, I really would go on a tantrum and say I don’t want it anymore!”
So what exactly is the gift that Power wants?
“In this circle, I cannot name one artist who is able to earn enough money and maintain a successful acting career without getting popular. I think, and I am sure that many others do as well, will get jealous of other people’s successes. Why did so-and-so make it big and I can’t? If he can do it, why can’t I? Yes, I have received many praises for my work in the past twenty years, but in the end, I still lacked something of this, and other things of that. I really felt as if life was very, very unfair to me!
“Do I want to win awards? Of course! It’s just like asking if you want to win the lottery. Of course you would want to! Do I want to be a leading actor? Absolutely! When I am with my close producer friends, I always ask them to make me the lead character of their new dramas, but they would just laugh it off and say, ‘You? But you’re a green leaf king!’”
“Tuesdays with King Sir”
Power was at his lowest point seven years ago. He considered leaving the industry, but a small chat with his mentor, Chung King Fai (鍾景輝), brought Power back on track.
“I met King Sir when I was still in the academy. He was a great teacher. I also had many chances to work with him a lot after graduation. But that one simple chat with King Sir in the makeup room seven years ago really changed me. Our small chat was very similar to a scene in Tuesdays with Morrie. Just like in the novel, a student encounters his teacher by chance, and the teacher gives the student lessons on life.”
Coincidentally, King Sir was preparing for the 2005 Hong Kong stage adaptation of Tuesdays with Morrie at the time, in which King Sir was to portray teacher ‘Morrie’ in the novel. Power immediately suggested himself to the play’s director, Ko Tin Lung(古天農), for the role of the student, but he was rejected.
“I was not expecting the rejection. I thought I would be cast for sure. Chung King Fai is a very well-respected veteran in the industry. If I were also in the play, it would add more star power and talent to the show. I thought the Chung Ying Theater Company would be more than happy to accept me, but in the end, I was given the big no. I was very unhappy, but I understood it. King Sir did not belong to the Chung Ying Theater Company, nor did I. It would not make sense to cast two actors who do not belong to the production company.”
But Power got his wish in the end. Tuesdays with Morrie’s 2005 run was a popular and critical success, and the company plans to stage a 2012 rerun, which will premiere on November 30, 2012. The original actor for the student role ‘Mitch’, Edmond Lo (盧智燊), was forced to back out due to scheduling conflicts, and Power has now stepped in to replace his spot.
Mimi Declares Love for Power
Power first met his wife, Mimi Lo (羅敏莊), on the set of Lofty Waters, Verdant Bow <雲海玉弓緣> in 2002, and the two quickly developed a close friendship. One day, Mimi walked up to Power and cried loudly, “I like you! I really like you! I like you that way!”
Embarrassed, his face burning red, Power replied quietly, “Stop it! It’s very easy for me to fall for someone!”
And that was how it began. At first, Power was nervous to hold Mimi’s hand, but on their next meeting, it was Power who grabbed Mimi’s hand first, and he kept her hand in his ever since.
Power and Mimi married in 2009, and on October 30, 2012, their daughter, Jan Chan (陳禛), was born.
“Jan was never part of the plan,” said Power. “Many years ago, Mimi and I agreed on not having children. A few years later, our mentality changed, and we reconsidered. And then Jan came! It was unplanned and unexpected, but we were ready, and it was perfect timing. In the last few years, our job offers have increased. We were able to afford nice cars and live in a nice home in a nice neighborhood.”
Power also humorously added with a large smile, “And it was also just in time for me to catch The Confidant’s <大太監> broadcast run!”
Pang Sam Shun… a Breakthrough?
Power’s new period drama, The Confidant, premiered to over 2 million viewers in Hong Kong. In its first week of release, The Confidant raked in an average of 31 points (with 1.96 million viewers) and the numbers are continuing to increase. No doubt, The Confidant will eventually become the year’s highest-rated drama, and most likely snatch the 2012 TVB Best Drama award.
In The Confidant, Power portrays the eunuch Pang Sam Shun, an enemy-turned-friend of the drama’s central character, Li Lianying (Wayne Lai 黎耀祥). Power’s performance was a huge hit, and many viewers are supporting him to win this year’s Best Supporting Actor award for the TVB Anniversary Awards.
“Would ‘Pang Sam Shun’ be my biggest and most popular role in recent years? With the number of interviews I’m doing now, it definitely answered the question! But could it just be my imagination? A reporter once told me, ‘Hey, Power. This role is a success!’ In my opinion, I still have a very far way to go for success. Regardless, this is still a great start!”
Power never expected Pang Sam Shun to be such a big hit. In fact, Power had expected his role as Emperor Kangxi in 2011’s The Life and Times of a Sentinel <紫禁驚雷> to be the talk of the town, whether the talk was in a positive or negative light.
“Kangxi is an extremely popular character in fiction and drama, and many actors have portrayed him before. I wanted to try a different approach in portraying him, so I could get the audience to see and admire Kangxi in a different light. I thought I would get a lot of feedback for this performance, but there were barely any. ‘Pang Sam Shun’ was definitely a pleasant surprise for me! My daughter has brought me so much luck!”
Source: East Week #481 via ihktv.com
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
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