Anthony Wong Outshines Wayne Lai in “Lord of Shanghai”

Lord of Shanghai <梟雄>, the recently premiered anniversary drama that stars Anthony Wong (黃秋生) and Wayne Lai (黎耀祥),  has received high ratings so far. Wayne expressed that it was a good start. Regarding viewers’ comments that his performance is not on par with Anthony’s outstanding acting, Wayne humbly agreed with the assessment.

Wayne added that he respects the audience’s right to express their opinions and does not mind being compared less favorably with Anthony. Wayne said, “Anthony is naturally impressive. He is very experienced in both film and stage acting. I have a lot to learn from him. He often has a lot of good ideas for adding depth to the portrayal of his character. For instance, in this drama, he suggested adding in the Shanghainese accent. This had a very good effect on TV.”

On the audience’s criticism that the adding in of the Shanghainese accent made the drama appear too exaggerated, Wayne responded, “When producing a drama, there are so many considerations to take into account, and many creative techniques to employ. The most important thing is that the drama will not be overlooked. It doesn’t matter that it receives criticism.” He added that it was impossible to please everyone.

Wayne then emphasized that he did not mind netizens’ comments that he could not act as well as Anthony. He said, “Of course, it’s very hard to surpass Anthony.” He added humbly, “The star of the show is after all, Anthony, and I’m merely there as an accessory. I have a lot to learn from him.”

In response to criticism that the plot of the drama was illogical at some points, Wayne pointed out, “Well, a drama has to necessarily have storylines that are less realistic. This is for the sake of the drama’s development.”

Appearing at the commencement ceremony of Here Comes the God of Wealth <財神駕到> yesterday, Wayne also shared his filming experiences on set of the TVB drama. During filming, Wayne was accidentally injured by Pal Sinn (單立文). Wayne said, “I put some eye drops on it. I didn’t think it was very serious, so I didn’t see a doctor. It has already started to form a scab.”

On whether Wayne would try to “take revenge” on Pal, he responded, “There is only one fighting scene with him in the entire drama, so there is no opportunity for revenge.”



This article is written by Jingles for

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  1. Adapting the Shanghainese accent is creative idea, but when they’re all in Shanghai and he’s the only one with an accent, it’s is a bit out of place.

    1. @canadagoose

      However I noticed when his at home sometimes, that he turns that accent off, no idea why, when his not on business or with the other 2 bosses.

      With Wayne, I wasn’t surprised if he is OTT again, and it did hehe.

      1. @lileric if there’s such a jarring inconsistency then anthony shld just drop that accent altogether cos it becomes very fake. If he wants to do a Meryl Streep then he should do it all the way. I didnt get past the first episode. Too heavy going for me.

    2. @canadagoose Because NOT ALL of them is FROM Shanghai. You get a feeling Kent is educated, Wayne is from another town and Anthony is from a small town maybe near shanghai. For business purposes lessening of the accent is probably the reason. I don’t think it is out of place at all.

  2. Like Duhhhh!

    Wayne was great too even if a tad OTT. He and Anthony played off each other very well, even Kent.

    I like the accent. Shows he is from small town (purpose of the accent) and it feels appropriate. Plot not illogical, thus far except the editing is illogical, like why flashback on myolie scenes when it is not relevant.

    So far of all the women Alice’s character is the most interesting. Alice right? Anyway hoping to see some flashback soon but I dread Kenneth.

  3. Wayne’s acting style in this drama is so much like Rosy Business that I thought he was playing the same character, so much exaggeration. It doesn’t look natural.

    1. @anon Agree; he has acted a good guy for so long, I think he has lost touch on how to act evil . IMHO, Anthony also seems to be over-acting at times; maybe forgetting this is a TV drama and not a movie/play (bços exaggeration in an hour or two is exciting, but over 20+hours? It can be overbearing). I like Kent Tong the best; looking the most natural of the three. Next is Keith Kwan, never disappoints.

      1. @elayne You mean “Eddie” Kwan? Or else, who’s Keith Kwan?

        I disagree that Anthony is over-acting. Regardless if it’s TV or movie drama, one should take the role seriously to convey the message and pull the audiences into the characters. That’s just professionalism.

        I agree that Kent Tong *looks* the best in the series. IMO, his character is the “easiest” to portrait out of the 3. Wayne has the fine line between evil and being OTT, while Anthony needs to deal with subtle acting or risk being too Gary Stu and bland.

        Eddie Kwan, if that’s who you referred to, is another well-seasoned actor. I’m not surprise he isn’t disappointing.

  4. Anthony looked pale as a ghost in the first episode. It was sooo weird. Might be the bigger tv I was watching on? When I watch on another smaller tv, its normal again.

  5. I dont think Anthony took the spot light from Wayne I think all 3 of them act out there character pretty well now that’s what i call acting in this series there are so much great artistest in this drama I wonder if Moylie Ron and O yeah Kenneth had to film Anthony character while in his young stage makes me wonder how they feel while working with them on the set hahah

  6. There is always a disparity between film actors and TV actors: so Anthony’s performance should be expected to be at a higher level than Wayne’s.

    That’s said, I think Anthony is overacting and took it way more seriously than what this is. The Shanghainese accent is way OTT for crying out loud because the drama is shot in Cantonese so the audience is supposed to use their imagination to think they were conversing in the franca lingua of their time and place. Introducing the fake accent really threw everything off.

    1. @aiya

      I agree with the accent, especially when he’s like the only one that constantly speaks it. Just didn’t appear natural to me.

      Besides the accent, I think Anthony’s been solid so far. Of the 3, Kent Tong’s acting is the best (4 eps in).

      1. @anon

        He actually doesn’t there are times when he intentionally tones down the accent, for whatever reason, I’m not sure why. Just pay attention when he is just talking to his assistant indoors at his home.

    2. @aiya Why can’t it be that the other actors and actresses are under-playing their roles? If the character needs to have an accent then, as actor/actress, you learn and portrait that accent.

      1. @jjwong The drama series took place in Shanghai, and everyone one could have some kinds of accents, not only Anthony Wong. If the series took place in Hong Kong, it would make more sense that Anthony Wong (Kiu Ngo Tin), who came from Shanghai, had a Shanghainese accent when he spoke Cantonese. However, he looked weird if he was the only person in the drama series, who spoke with a Shanghainese accent. Also it made it difficult for the audience to understand his dialogues with his high-pitched voice.

        Personally I would enjoy his acting more if he did not speak with a Shanghainese accent. He is already an excellent actor.

      2. @jjwong

        I don’t think we have the same interpretation of what “overacting” means. To me, and to some on this forum, overacting is like for example putting on the persona of the self-conflicted and tortuous Prince Hamlet while playing the part of Prince Charming in Cinderella. There is a bit of a disconnect.

        Also, what Anon and I were discussing was why the need of the Shanghainese accent when the drama was shot in Cantonese anyway. It came across very patronizing. For example, I don’t think anyone would appreciate it if all characters in Bertolucci’s movie The Last Emperor were to speak in pidgin English, or worst, Chinglish despite the fact that the movie took place in China and most of the characters were Chinese.

  7. I personally don’t have a problem with Anthony’s accent and actually applaud his professionalism in taking the production so seriously.  With that said though,  I can definitely see why people would have a problem with it because, again, it’s a different style that most TV audiences in HK aren’t used to.  Anthony is essentially applying movie and theater-level professional acting skills to his performance but because he’s the only one doing it (since he’s at a higher level than everyone else in the series), he sticks out like a sore thumb…plus it comes across weird to most who are used to television-style (and more specifically TVB-style) acting. What Anthony did for this series is very similar to what Kent Cheng (who is also a multiple Best Actor winner in movies) did in King Maker several years back – he used a different style of acting that involved changing the rhythm and pacing of his dialogue to make his character more realistic….just like with Anthony now, most mainstream TV audiences at the time didn’t understand what Kent was trying to do and felt the way that he spoke his dialogue was ‘weird’ and even questioned his acting skills (Kent had to clarify / explain things on his weibo back then, just like Anthony had to explain his accent on his weibo a few days ago).

    This is why it’s not necessarily a good thing for movie actors to film series for TVB, especially actors who have been in the movie industry for a long time already and whose acting skills are already at the highest possible level.  Most mainstream TVB audiences who are used to the TVB-style/level of acting are probably not going to understand and/or appreciate what the actor is trying to do and why – it’s almost as though the actor has to ‘down-grade’ themselves to TVB’s level and dumb down their performance in order for it to be ‘accepted’ by regular TVB audiences.  This is also one of the reasons why I always cringe whenever I hear reporters or anyone in general ask established movie stars, especially A-listers, whether they will return to film series for TVB – of course those artists will usually give a vague/generic answer that’s neither yes nor no so as not to make waves (though TVB is shameless enough to take the artist’s non-committal answer as a “yes” and start bragging about it to the whole world), but honestly, why should those artists ‘help out’ TVB by filming for them and have to downgrade themselves (as well as risk their reputations) in the process?

    It’s obvious that Anthony isn’t going to film for TVB again (though it’s not like he agreed to film LOS because of TVB – he had made it VERY clear that he agreed to film purely because of producer Amy Wong)….at this rate, no A-lister in their right minds will film for TVB (which, to be honest, isn’t necessarily a bad thing in my opinion).

    1. @llwy12 I don’t get what’s the big deal. At least his accent is consistent and it is his interpretation and it makes sense. Those who complaints or don’t get his performance should ask themselves do they know what they’re watching. If these same people thinks Twins can act and sing, Charmaine Sheh is best actress material, mediocre actors are better, perhaps they shld just stick to what they have been watching and leave Anthony and gang to viewers who knows quality when they see one.

      1. @funnlim I hear you and completely agree with you! But unfortunately, everyone’s standards are different and the definition of ‘quality’ can mean different things to different people. Some people may be willing to accept mediocrity and prefer ‘idol’ singers/actors while others won’t accept such stuff. Most mainstream television audiences aren’t going to think that deeply into things and will look at surface level only — this is especially true of TVB audiences, as we all know that TVB’s traditional audience pool (which is still their target audience even today) are generally ‘housewives’ who just want simple entertainment that is easy to understand and they don’t need to think much about — stuff that is too deep or complicated or requires too much brain power to think through and interpret is not preferred.

        Basically, where Anthony went wrong is that he shouldn’t have agreed to film for TVB in the first place, as he’s too good for them. No matter what type of skilled acting and ‘value-add’ stuff he brings to his performance, TVB audiences (I’m referring to most mainstream audiences here) are never going to appreciate it because THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND IT. Essentially, Anthony was trying to serve TVB audiences abalone when he should’ve just served them porridge. That’s why I feel that he is better off sticking to movies and theater where the audience pool is different and there is more of an open mindset as well as willingness to accept different styles/interpretations.

      2. @funnlim
        “I don’t get what’s the big deal. At least his accent is consistent and it is his interpretation and it makes sense”

        It makes as much sense as if the voice actors in the Cartoon Mulan were to speak in pidgin Chinglish.

        Despite your lame attempt at condescending sarcasm, most of Anthony Wong’s critics here do get what he is trying to do. It is the “out-of-place” nature of his portrayal that his overall performance into question.

        By the way, what Wong had tried to do was not original or that deep: he was merely trying to steal a page from Marlon Brando in his award winning performance of Don Corleone in The Godfather. The problem is that one just cannot use Stanilavski in filming TV dramas.

        By the way, in case you have no clues, Stanilavski means method acting.

      3. @funnlim

        I actually enjoy his accent, and its funny to listen to as well, especially when he is trying to pacify a bad situation and peacemaker between Wayne and Kent.

  8. all actors sucks and boring in that drama!
    Ron ng is good..
    I won’t watch it again.. this drama making everyone bored..
    bad taste drama.

  9. What I don’t agree most is the general “çonsensus” that movie actors’ level of acting is higher than TV actors. I feel that to do well in a TV drama takes a lot more effort, sustaining a character’s persona throughout 10-20 hours, esp when filming is done not in sequence and sometimes, not even having a proper storyline!! In fact, I had heard Dodo Cheng said in her CRHK programme that to her, the difficulty level is stage being the highest, next is TV and last is movie.

    1. @elayne yeah it’s true. Movies shld be easier since we’re talking about a length of 2 hrs vs at least 20 to 30 ep for dramas. And movies rake in disproportionately larger fees too. No wonder that every TV actor dreams of making movies.

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