Behind an actor’s smiles and laughter, there are tears of silent sacrifices. Natalie Tong (唐詩詠) went through great lengths to prepare for her psychotic role as Mui Mui in TVB’s current second-line drama, Bullet Brain <神探高倫布>, including locking herself up in a bathroom for three hours and putting her health at risk. But when she hears the thundering sound of applause and the voices of praise, all these sacrifices will become meaningful and worthwhile.
Bullet Brain was bombarded with mediocre to negative reviews, and some viewers even requested for TVB to cancel the drama to save time. Nonetheless, some viewers did find Natalie’s character Mui Mui, who possesses schizophrenia-like symptoms, to be quite fascinating, and Natalie’s performance was critically lauded.
To prepare for her role, Natalie locked up herself in the bathroom for 180 minutes. She explained, “[That is] because ‘Mui Mui’ was locked in a basement for three years, and I had absolutely no experience of this aspect. Coincidentally, Otto Chan (陳志健) volunteers at a mental clinic, so he referred me to many ex-mental patients, recuperating patients, and those who still had no idea they were mentally ill, so I could talk with them and understand their mentality. Afterwards, I tried locking myself up in a bathroom – I already wanted to die in the first half hour. I had no idea what was happening in the outside world, and being locked inside got me thinking… a lot. This character is very tragic.”
Some “skin” sacrifices also had to be made. “Mui Mui is over 40 years old in the story. We had to use glue to tape on my wrinkles. The glue is very damaging to the skin! We spent two hours doing the makeup, and I had it on for the entire day. The crew was already trying their best to arrange only about two scenes for me to film per day, so my skin could get some rest.”
Would Natalie be interested in portraying another older role in the future? Natalie sighed and laughed, “I really don’t know! I don’t want to think about it yet.”
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