Learning from the ratings failure of their last grand production, Beauty at War <金枝慾孽貳>, TVB initiated the promotional tour for Triumph in the Skies 2 <衝上雲霄II> a month in advance. The pilot drama of 43 episodes finally premiered on Monday, July 15.
A sequel that had been 10 years in the making, Triumph in the Skies 2 is one of TVB’s most highly anticipated dramas of 2013. As one of Hong Kong’s most popularly-discussed dramas, rumors and gossip about the drama’s cast evidently came on board. According to various Hong Kong media outlets, TVB plans to hold five major promotional campaigns for Triumph in the Skies 2. The drama’s main cast is expected to attend; even lead actors Francis Ng (吳鎮宇) and Chilam Cheung (張智霖), both whom are not managed by TVB, are attempting to clear out their busy schedules. Leading actress Fala Chen (陳法拉), on the other hand, has been absent at the promotions. Currently studying in New York, Fala has rejected the producers’ request to return to Hong Kong to support the drama.
Fala did, however, attend the drama’s first promotion in Malaysia last month. That was the only promotional event she attended for Triumph in the Skies 2.
An insider said, “Fala came to that promotion because of money. She earned a six-figure sum for that two-day promotion.”
After ending her contract with TVB in May 2013, Fala left for New York to attend acting classes. She would only return to Hong Kong occasionally to attend scheduled modeling events or for the shooting of the Gordon Chan (陳嘉上) horror film, Tales from the Dark <李碧華鬼魅系列>. The producers of Triumph in the Skies 2 tried to get Fala to return to Hong Kong for the drama’s promotional activities, but she rejected their request. The producers reportedly gave up in convincing her to return.
Fala was also absent at the drama’s Singapore promotions on Friday, July 12. It was also noted that although Fala updated her Weibo consistently, she only talked about her life as a student and did not mention Triumph in the Skies 2 in her messages. However, she did talk about her new film, and a few days ago, she returned to Hong Kong briefly to do studio recordings for the film.
Due to Fala’s refusal to attend Triumph in the Skies 2 promotions, it has been reported that both Francis Ng and Chilam Cheung have grown impatient by the actress’ behavior. A source said, “Francis confided to Chilam, and both of them agreed that Fala does not even possess the typical integrity that is expected from an actor. As a member of the Triumph in the Skies 2 cast, she should fulfill her duties to promote the drama when it is airing. Just because she studied acting doesn’t make her a professional actress. They even mentioned that they don’t want to work with her ever again!”
The source continued, “Fala did not even try to promote the drama on her own [through social media]. She did nothing.”
Another source said, “Fala and Francis never really got along. Earlier, during the shooting of Triumph in the Skies 2, Fala would always request to have her own scenes added, pushing back Myolie Wu (胡杏兒) to the second female lead position. She was a diva and always ordered peopled around. When she disliked the storyline, she would have the producer to change the story to how she wanted it, and she would change all of the dialogue. Francis Ng had enough of her, and one day, he created some impromptu dialogue, and Fala couldn’t pick it up. The entire crew felt so good at her failure.”
Although Francis and Fala portray a couple in the drama, they reportedly did not get along. Rumors say that when they were filming overseas in Paris and London, their discord went up to another level. The source said, “Fala was never around with the group. She had many outtakes and was always late to work. Francis Ng couldn’t take it anymore, so one day, he cursed at her when they were shooting at The Louvre.”
After the rumors surfaced, Triumph in the Skies 2 producer, Joe Chen (陳維冠) explained the reason for Fala’s absence from promotional events. “She is currently studying in a program. It’s not as if she will graduate after one class. She will promote the series when she returns [to Hong Kong] in August]. The company is not upset.
Contrary to the rumors, Chilam and Francis also indicated that they were not dissatisfied with Fala.
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