It appears that Wong Cho Lam (王祖藍) may not be the only TVB artist ascending to the scriptwriter ranks at the company! New rival stations, City Telecom (CTI) and Now TV, were successful in recruiting half of TVB’s former production staff, forcing TVB to utilize new scriptwriters, senior editors and directors with less experience. The recent staff turnover at TVB resulted in daily impromptu scripting changes prior to filming, leading to numerous artists’ complaints.
Wong Cho Lam was criticized as lacking the qualifications to be promoted as a scriptwriter, while Prominent Family <名媛望族> star, Damien Lau (劉松仁), stepped in as a part-time scriptwriter for the drama due to the current understaffed situation at TVB. It was understood that Prominent Family producer, Chong Wai Kin (莊偉建), sought Damien’s help due to the veteran actor’s knowledge of Chinese history during the Republic of China era (1912 to 1949).
Rebecca Zhu (朱晨麗) revealed, “Aside from taking on the role as scriptwriter, Damien had to revise the dialogue and story. He has been working very hard!” Tavia Yeung (楊怡) commented, “Damien put his heart and blood into Prominent Family!”
Kenneth Ma (馬國明) added, “Prior to filming on the set, Damien will attend production staff meetings. For this drama, Damien has worked very strenuously! Due to the staffing changes in the scriptwriting department, everyone is very anxious. Sometimes the environment will become quite chaotic, but it is just a transition stage!”
Producer Turns to Damien Lau For Expert Advice
On the surface, five to six scriptwriters were assigned to write the script for Prominent Family. It turned out that the majority of these scriptwriters were new on the job and were completely unfamiliar with the background and history of the Republic of China, the time frame in which the story of Prominent Family was set.
An insider revealed, “When the filming for Prominent Family first started, Damien Lau did not get involved with the scriptwriting yet. Later, Damien discovered there were plot details which contradicted with the historical setting of the Republic of China timeframe. Damien offered his suggestions, upon which Producer Chong felt he made good points. Afterward, Producer Chong frequently invited Damien to production staff meetings [to discuss the script].”
Damien Lau Wins Admiration For Hard Efforts
Although Damien Lau did not receive additional compensation in serving as part-time scriptwriter, he won respect behind the scenes. Full of admiration, Producer Chong Wai Kin stated, “Damien Lau is the soul of Prominent Family! The entire drama centers around him. Just based on his five wives alone, it is already quite chaotic! Kenneth Ma, Rebecca Zhu, and Ron Ng are in a complicated love triangle relationship. Due to historical backdrop set during the Republic of China era, if we do not ask Damien Lau, who else can we turn to?”
Damien Lau Happy to Work as Part-Time Scriptwriter
Damien Lau will portray a famous, wealthy barrister with five wives in Prominent Family. The story will center around the large family as well as the rivalry between his wives: Mary Hon (韓馬利) as Damien’s first wife; Idy Chan (陳玉蓮) as Damien’s second wife; Elena Kong (江美儀) as his third wife; Tavia Yeung as his fourth wife; and JJ Jia (賈曉晨) as his fifth wife. Kenneth Ma, Vincent Wong (王浩信), and Sire Ma (馬賽) will portray Damien and Mary Hon’s children, who possess a good relationship with their father.
Damien stated, “I am very happy collaborating with everyone on the set of Prominent Family. I have bed scenes with each one of my wives! There is significant character and story development, lending more layers to the series.”
The media asked Damien Lau for confirmation if he has taken on scriptwriting duties for Prominent Family. Damien laughed and said, “I will not answer such questions. Even if you ask, I will not answer!”
However, on his Weibo blog earlier, Damien posted a photo of a table strewn with notebooks at his home. He wrote, “Although I continue to work during the Lunar New Year holiday and it was quite strenuous, this experience will remain unforgettable for the rest of my life!” Damien’s post may have hinted that he had contributed over and beyond normal responsibilities of an actor, perhaps taking on scriptwriting duties, for Prominent Family.
Despite 62-year-old Damien taking on two jobs, serving as actor and scriptwriter for Prominent Family, it was undeniable that the workload was very strenuous. However, his salary was not increased. Certainly Damien Lau was a bargain asset to the drama!
Excerpt from Sudden Weekly #864
Jayne: Damien Lau has long won my admiration and respect. Many years ago, I read that he had wished to become a director at some point in his career. He strikes me as a learned man and possesses thorough passion for his work, not only in acting, but the entire creative process. Allegedly, he also gave Bosco Wong some acting pointers during “To Grow With Life.” Veteran actors such as Damien are often selfless and critical for the development of younger costars.