An Insight Into An Actor’s life: Wayne Lai’s Burden That Cannot Be Shaken Off

By on September 19, 2011 in NEWS, Star Interviews


Although Wayne Lai (黎耀祥) has been in the entertainment industry for 25 years now and is publicly recognized to be a good actor, he had been severely lacking in luck thus resulting in his stagnant acting career.

It wasn’t until many years later when fortune finally smiled on Wayne in the year 2009 and his big break came along in the form of two TVB blockbuster dramas, Rosy Business《巾幗梟雄》and No Regrets《巾幗梟雄之義海豪情》, which made him TV King for two consecutive years and secured his place as a first line actor in TVB.

After succeeding, Wayne rose into another stage of his career. He currently has requirements in terms of work but felt an immense amount of pressure at the same time, shouldering a heavy baggage all by himself.

As they say, life has it’s ups and downs. In the past, Wayne’s style of working imitated that of a fisherman, casting his net and making do with any jobs he managed to catch.

However, now that Wayne has elevated into a TV King status and his popularity is at an all-time high, times are indeed different such that he could afford to try his best to pick out jobs that are more suitable for him.

Ever since winning the title of TV King, Wayne’s work schedule have always been hectic. Besides needing to rush filming for dramas, Wayne had to spend his holidays promoting his new dramas.

Other than that, Wayne was also arranged to fly down to Taiwan for work the very next day after this interview.

Wayne, who looked tired to the bone, even revealed that he had earlier been scheduled to shoot a periodic ancient drama under the sweltering heat and it was so humid that he could barely catch his breath but he still grinned and bore with it due to his raging passion for acting.

Heaving the expectations of many people on his shoulders

After experiencing the first spike in his career, Wayne professed that he will be entering another new footing in life, “It’s not an issue of reaching another new career height but it is more of attaining a level where you seek for excellence and perfectionism. In the past, I did not know which I could do and which I should not do. I did not know my own standing and what purpose it carried.”

Wayne continued, “I was very reckless and unrestrained in taking on jobs at one point in time, like a fisherman who casted and retrieved his net. Now that I have realized my purpose, I feel that I should gradually correct it since I already know what job I should do and what I must never ever do.”

Because Wayne has his own requirements now, his every step is taken only after some careful deliberation and calculation.

Wayne laughed and revealed that his current situation was worse than when he was still a newbie, “Being a newbie, one can try practically anything but at my age, I can’t afford to waste any more time. Most significantly, as your standing gets more and more higher, you discover that you can’t be too casual and continue doing as per your whims and fancies, regarding some matters. Actually, I’m surrounded by many people’s scrutiny. When one is more capable, one undertakes more responsibilities and gradually shoulders the expectations of many individuals. ”

Wayne went on saying, “People feel that since Wayne Lai starred in this drama, it should be a good drama series. Given this reason, I now understand why seniors and veterans always have to look at the script and discuss beforehand before taking on a particular drama. Although I have not yet reached a stage where I could control many matters or temporarily attained a level where my every piece of work must be resplendent, I wish to implement some adjustments step by step and start making choices. I will impose a high standard on myself, for starters, I hope to film dramas of a certain quality. After all, I had been bumping into good dramas for these past two consecutive years hence I don’t wish to break this chain.”

Fame, of course, comes at a price and being a main lead comes with an even greater pressure that is indiscernible to public. Wayne laughed and responded, “Yes, there is such a pressure. Totally different from my previous method of doing things. In the past, I couldn’t care less about what people think. Acting in dramas used to be a form of pure enjoyment to me and I was so buoyant back then without much to contemplate in the back of my mind. ”

Wayne continued, “In the past, I could walk out on the streets in my broken and tattered shirt and jeans and had no qualms about filming any junk dramas as I deemed it as an accumulation of acting experiences. However, now that people acknowledge you as a main lead, there is a certain type of expectations from the audiences that you have to live up to. Furthermore, juniors from the same industry might look up to you when they see that you can steer well in whichever route you take as it is akin to giving them an optimistic encouragement and hope from their days as a struggling actor. Hence I do face a tremendous amount of pressure from the public and from my peers, it feels like I’m lugging a heavy amount of baggage that is weighing me down.”

Does not dare to retire for fear that he will be miserable

About the next ten years from now, Wayne professed that he has yet to come up with a “proposal”.

Back then, one of the classic lines from Wayne’s award-winning character from “Rosy Business”, Chai Gau, was “How many more ten years does one have in life?”, which enriched Wayne’s life with colors and propelled him to higher stardom.

In this case, how was Wayne going to spend his next ten years then? After deliberating for a while, Wayne responded, “You know what? I often thought about how I should proceed on when my fame has decelerated and my heydays are long gone. In fact, I ponder about it all the time but there’s still no definite answer to it. I thought about retiring, thought about emigrating to another place and accompanying my son abroad for his studies. ”

Wayne went on saying, “I did contemplate exiting the industry on a high note, at the peak of my career, and leaving to teach people how to act. I also mulled over whether I should work diligently and earn as much money as I can for two or three more years before totally disappearing from the entertainment industry. However, I have endured amidst the odds for many years now and had toiled hard to achieve my current position thus I would feel dejected if I were to, one day, quit and forsake everything behind.”

Being crowned TV King for two consecutive times, he has no more regrets in his life

[Caption: Wayne Lai gives it his all while filming Forensic Heroes 3《法證先鋒 3》]

When the topic of “Forensic Heroes 3” was brought up, Wayne had nothing but endless praises for it, “For these past two years, I have been blessed enough to meet producers who have a sense of  responsibility and who are anxious over their own production work. I feel that I was very fortunate to have been able to film “Forensic Heroes 3″ as the plot of this current installment is extremely interesting. In fact, I had even chased after the script as I was curious to know what would happen next. ”

Wayne continued, “The “Forensic Heroes 3” drama series has a total of seven to eight short case files and the culprit behind every case file has their own validated motive behind it. There are also various reasons and different methods applied to solve the crimes, such that this sequel is completely distinctive from the previous two installments of “Forensic Heroes”. I perceive that it is a successful breakthrough, which made me feel very confident as a result.”

Learning how to face tragedies

Wayne went on saying, “My role in “Forensic Heroes 3″ brought me a brand new experience as it showed me how a professional handles his work and how a forensic expert faces tragedies that are happening. I have always wanted to try some senior professionals roles. Previously, my two renowned roles, Liu Sing and Chai Gau, were people from a lower occupation but this time, my role as a forensic expert is totally different. ”

Wayne added, “The dialogues in “Forensic Heroes 3″ were much more complex and challenging and even the cases involved many professional terminologies and matters that command logic. As the role requires me to give a steady, confident and awe-inspiring impression, I cannot afford to be confused hence the way of tackling this role becomes much more taxing. However, I am confident that it would give audiences a refreshing form of feeling.”

Asked Wayne, who recently became a staple winner of the TVB Anniversary Awards, about his chances of winning this year, he laughed and responded, “I feel that many contenders have exceptional and outstanding performances this year. Every one of them is a worthy opponent such that the contention is much more intense and heated this year but it feels especially thrilling at the same time, unlike last year when it was so mundane as there were only Moses Chan (陳豪) and I in the running for TV King. However, to me, being able to win the title of TV King for two consecutive years already made me feel especially rewarding such that I have no more regrets and feel extremely contented with life.”

Source: Apple Daily, iHKtv

This article was translated by Ah K, a Contributing Writer at

25 comments to An Insight Into An Actor’s life: Wayne Lai’s Burden That Cannot Be Shaken Off

  1. Pineapple says:

    Wayne Lai is (to me anyway) one of the good actors who had no luck until pretty late in life. Thank goodness he made it in the end – very well deserved awards two years on the trot. I understand that he must be very pressurised by now as he used to be a supporting actor but now in line 1. He is one of the best and I look forward to seeing more of him in future.

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  2. Pineapple says:

    Don’t know if anyone here remembers him in “Song Bird” with Nnadia Chan. He was about 24 years old – very young and played a supporting role. That was the first drama I saw him in and he stood out for me even back then. I had a feeling that this person would come out big one day but didn’t think that it would take that long.

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      I saw Seasons and there he was! As the shop assistant! And then some more episodes down, I saw Evergreen Mak and he was… the shop assistant! It seems shop assistants in Seasons will make it good later in life!

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    • JN replied:

      I liked him the the Series Journey to the West as Pig role. He was hilarious with other actors. No one can act in that role as good as Wayne. Always love him in the series doesn’t matter what role he played.

      He always gave the audiences all of himself in each individual role. You love and hate him at the same time based on the character he was in.

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      • yen replied:

        agree with JN!!!

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      • msxeroz replied:

        *nods in agreement* He’s the cutest zhu ba jie that i’ve ever came across. Annoying but yet hilarious!

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  3. Moonriver says:

    I think one series a year is good. I wasnt really looking forward to Forensic Heroes 3 when No Regrets just ended. But now, I am ready!!

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  4. mito says:

    Wayne Lai is so awesome in Journey to the west I and particularly the main lead on Journey to the west II.

    He should be awarded back then. He too super awesome at The conquerrer story. Just to name a few.

    The best of it is that, in the film, my name is fame, he particular saying his life back then.

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  5. NX says:

    I used to like him a lot and thought it was unfair for him not to received any recognition from ppl bcz his acting was so natural. Yah. I agree with Mito, he definitely should be awarded back then with the Journey to the west series.
    However, lately I see tireness in his eyes. After gaining the title TV King, he seems to have too much pressure that his acting is not that superio anymore.

    To have more and more work is actually a good sign to an actor. Maybe Wayne has been a B-list for too long that now he still haven’t get used to the A-list schedule.

    At the end of the day, fame has it price.

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      I think anyone with his punishing schedule will look tired. Nothing to do with not getting used to a list schedule. he was pretty busy even as so called b list actor.

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      • NX replied:

        But the Pressure an A List faces would be much larger than a B List one, especially now he is a TV King.

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  6. moon16 says:

    I love Wayne Lai when I seen Monky King,,( Journey to the West) he cracked me in any scene he played,,,,, love him from then

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  7. jayne says:

    Wayne Lai is in an envious position where he can emphasize “quality over quantity,” allowing him to choose the projects he is interested in, while protecting his acting reputation. This is the state that most TVB artists strive for. He also had to foresight to not sign with TVB management, thus allowing him more freedom to choose projects that meet his personal and career interests.

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    • Fox replied:

      I guess he wanna be busy than.

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    • Chriselle replied:

      “Wayne Lai is in an envious position where he can emphasize “quality over quantity,” allowing him to choose the projects he is interested in, while protecting his acting reputation.”

      This reminds me of Tony Leung. 🙂 These days he doesn’t even have one movie released per year.

      “This is the state that most TVB artists strive for.”

      This is true, but I noticed some artists aren’t that smart when it comes to selecting their roles. I remember Charmaine said something about not wanting to miss the opportunity to film the series if it has a good script even when she knows she should be taking a break. The scripts of both BTROC and CBML were bad, but she agreed to film them. Because they’re grand productions and will bring in the ratings?

      I hope FH3 will be good. 🙂

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      • Kidd replied:

        I find CBML very enjoyable. She seldom do comedy, so, maybe she wants to do this because it’s comedy?

        Another reason is may be because Charmaine has good relation with Mui Siu Ching. Both series are produced by Mui Siu Ching.

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      • Chriselle replied:

        Charmaine and Fala both acted very well in the series, I agree. However, as a whole, I didn’t like the series, especially the scenes of the Kam family clapping and singing were too much.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        I didn;t think Charmaine was funny. She was graceful in the end but not funny. Fala was funny, surprisingly.

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      • Chriselle replied:

        Charmaine was funny and cute particular in a few scenes. The most memorable one was when Moses was going to divorce her and they had a standoff.

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      • josie replied:

        I don’t think the script is available to the actors yet when they accept the series. probably just the story synopsis and character description. so maybe charmaine is attracted to playing the new and different characters.

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  8. lol says:

    Wayne Lai waited long in TVB before he got his position now. I think the other artistes in TVB also have respect for him since he did his job without complaining until he got his big break in RB.

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  9. Lol says:

    Great interview, very humble and honest answers from Wayne…makes me respect and like him even more. Best of luck in everything you do.

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  10. Lucia says:

    I highly agree with JN. I started to like Wayne’s acting when he acted his role in Journey of the West.

    The most recent role that I like Wayne’s excellent performance is in Rosy Business 2 than Rosy Business 1.

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  11. tammy says:

    Everyone in our family loves his performance in Rosy Business 1 and 2. Overall, he is a good actor, hope he continues to show his best in the coming series.

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  12. ada says:

    First noticed him in Journey to the west- his performance was really so hilarious! Hope he’ll get a comedy role some day again. Meanwhile all the best to Wayne, he deserves it so so much!!!!
    I’ve seen a couple of his interviews on TV, he’s came across as being smart & deep & very humble!

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