Bowie Lam Explores Different Versions of Reality in “The Gutter”

The actor hopes viewers can be inspired to reflect on their own real-life experiences.

Airing to good response, ViuTV drama The Gutter <歎息橋> hopes its approach of showcasing the same story from various characters’ perspectives can inspire viewers to explore matters from different angles in real life. The 15-episode drama is Bowie Lam‘s (林保怡) first project as a producer, and Catherine Chau’s (周家怡) second ViuTV collaboration since 2016’s well-received Margaret & David – Green Bean <瑪嘉烈與大衛系列—綠豆>.

Giving Audiences Something to Take Away

Bowie had formed a production company with the two directors of Margaret & David – Green Bean, and The Gutter is a production by the trio. Loosely based on the concept of the masterpiece Rashomon, the drama reflects how the same event can translate into different experiences for various individuals, hence painting different “realities” and adding mystery to the series.

Catherine agreed, “One can look at matters from more than one angle, so each character has his own explanation and performance – sometimes causing misunderstandings. Why not think from another person’s shoes and what you perceive will be very different.”

Hoping that the drama goes beyond entertainment to enlighten viewers, Bowie explains that the first 15 minutes of each episode will be dedicated to the back story of each character based on his/her younger version, whose experiences morph along with age. “During filming, the name of that particular character will be on the script, and the actor has to ‘tell’ the story from that character’s eyes,” he shared

Catherine’s Praise for Bowie

As producer, Bowie often interacts directly with the cast – many of who are new actors – to improve their delivery. Even when he was ill, he turned up on set to supervise every scene. Praising him, Catherine shared, “He is an observant and sensitive actor, and really understands each actor’s state of mind and action when he or she gets in character. He’s able to analyze and convey the style of delivery to them.”

Bowie also shared his preference for new actors, as he can never guess how they will approach the scene. His hunger for new challenges and possibilities drove him to leave the safe nest of TVB after many years. He philosophized, “Don’t be proud because you had many fans in the past, a string of awards or rave reviews. I think it’s best to place awards at home but not to think of them. Stop, and start over again, then build a wall to let yourself go over, and see how far you can jump. I left TVB in 2012–at that time I didn’t know how far I could jump either, but that was why it was fun and exciting.”

Clinching Best Actor at TVB in 2014 for War and Beauty <金枝慾孽> and Best  Actor in 2010’s Asian Television Awards for Sisters of Pearl <掌上明珠>, Bowie makes it a point to recreate experiences for himself in real life. “I’m still learning, I feel that we should be like a blackboard: erase all your memories and always look ahead, enrich yourself every day. As an actor I’d learn things I didn’t have a chance to in the past; my blackboard is now blank and I’m filling it bit by bit.”

Recounts Challenges of Filming

Collaborating multiple times, Catherine recalled being impressed by Bowie’s Doctor Suen character rattling off endless lines of dialogue in 2004’s War and Beauty <金枝慾孽>. In 2006’s The Dance of Passion <火舞黃沙>, Bowie recalled Catherine having to wear an orthodontic device for her role throughout. Recalling the challenges faced during The Dance of Passion, the two shared how the cast had to endure the harsh cold while having to film shirtless, and on another rainy day, could not speak the lines they had memorized due to the freezing temperatures. “It’s cruel. After giving them a glass of hot water to warm their trembling lips, shooting will continue,” said Bowie, who shared that some dialogues had to be combined through post-production editing since it was impossible to complete within a single take.

Source: Hket

This article is written by JoyceK for

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  1. Bowie should come back to TVB! he is a very good actor ! Loved the bodyguard drama he played (ultra protection ) and the forensic drama!

    1. @jujuxoxo Return to TVB and an environment that stifles creativity? Nope, never going to happen, especially now that Bowie found partners (directors Fatball and 25) whose vision aligns so closely with his own…plus he already said that he wants to do “high quality” projects in the future (which we all no means no TVB, since we all know those 2 words are not in TVB’s dictionary nowadays)…

  2. Finally started watching this series. It’s actually pretty good so far…but definitely niche series that not everyone will be able to appreciate. I actually find this series refreshing… so different from anything TVB ever put out in the past (well, technically TVB would never produce such a series where pretty much nothing is clearly spelled out for audiences). And to be honest, this cast, both main and supporting, is the best I’ve seen in years, so I know the acting is going to be excellent.

    I agree with Bowie that this series is not one that you can “multi-task” while watching, as it requires some amount of reflection and “work” from the audience to understand (as Bowie said in his Mingpao Magazine interview, if you watch this series only once and completely understand it, then you must be a genius — he said he himself had to read the script twice before he started to understand a little bit the message that the story was trying to convey).

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