Ben Wong, Good Guy Turned Villain
Ben Wong (黃智賢) is finally getting all the recognition and success he deserves. Last year’s Best Supporting Actor continued to shine as a good cop turned bad cop in Highs and Lows <雷霆掃毒>, while his passionate and romantic role in Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles <名媛望族> has captured the attention of many female viewers. Many netizens are infuriated at his characters’ actions, but praised him for Ben’s exceptional performances.
Although Ben did not receive any nomination for his roles at the 45th TVB Anniversary Awards, he is touched by the audience’s compliments. Despite the raving review of his portrayal of villains, Ben feels his personality is nowhere close to those of the outrageous characters he played onscreen.
Throughout his career, Ben has been left in the shadow of his good guy character, Ah Hoi, in A Kindred Spirit <真情>. It was not until recently that Ben started playing villainous roles in several TVB dramas. With his award winning performance as Spicy Ginger in Lives of Omission <潛行狙擊>, Ben is now defined as the ideal actor to cast as the antagonist.
Portraying Human Selfishness
At the beginning of Ben’s career, producers complained that he was unable to scold people during the filming of A Kindred Spirit. Now, Ben understands that in order to play a villain, he has to get a deep understanding of the villain’s mindset and how human selfishness can make a good person into a despicable one. “One thought can make a person; one thought can make a devil. A person’s selfishness and jealously can already make you into a villain.”
During the filming of Highs and Lows, Ben had a good grasp of Brian Poon’s personality to portray the complex character. In reality, there are many people who share similar characteristics with Brian Poon, in which the smarter they are, the more flaws they have. Ben remembered telling the producer, “So you are telling me to incorporate all the flaws into the character of Poon Sir. Do you want the viewers to hate me? You must be joking!” The producer told Ben not to worry as the viewers will get hooked on his intense performance. Furthermore, the producer told him to be prepared to get an earful from the viewers.
Ben’s role as Poon Sir has certainly sparked much online discussion, and a viewer posted on his Weibo asking him to stop ruining Raymond Lam (林峯) and Kate Tsui’s (徐子珊) lives. As many netizens seemingly cannot distinguish the difference between reality and fiction, they often leave nasty messages on Ben’s Weibo. A viewer even drew on Ben’s photo to make him look more evil. Ben accepted their opinions as this shows that the viewers are really taking his character seriously.
However, he will not tolerate any personal attacks on himself as a person. These kinds of vicious attacks insult their own intelligence. As an actor, Ben wants the viewers to criticize only his acting, but not himself as an individual.
Learning to Be a Better Person
Ben said his true character is not like Poon Sir who is an ambitious workaholic, but more akin to the sentimental Chai Yat Fai in Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles. Ben revealed that his wife is still not used to watching him play a villain. “The reason is because I am not a bad guy! I have to learn and adapt to be a villain for my roles, while in real life, I am learning to be a good person. How extreme!”
Ben believes that in real life, no one wants to be a bad person. He strongly feels that human nature is inherently kind, and being good or evil depends on the choices of the individual.
This article is written by Lance for JayneStars.com.
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