Eric Tsang: “Carina Lau Lacked Acting Skills, But Succeeded with People Skills”

By on November 23, 2014 in NEWS

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Due to his long-running career in the entertainment industry, Eric Tsang (曾志偉) has witnessed the growth of many female celebrities including Carina Lau (劉嘉玲)Maggie Cheung (張曼玉), Cherie Chung (鍾楚紅), and Michelle Reis (李嘉欣).  In a recent interview, Eric revealed that when Carina first started in the entertainment industry, she was old-fashioned and lacked acting skills. However, she possessed a great personality and social skills which allowed her to find success and have a lasting presence in the industry.

Due to her Suzhou roots, Carina could not speak Cantonese properly when she first entered the industry. She did not even know how to wear high heels and took time to get accustomed to the cosmopolitan lifestyle in Hong Kong. However, Eric praised that Carina was very hardworking and reached stardom through her diligence.

“Carina completely lacked acting skills,” Eric said, “But she has a great personality and loves to help people. This characteristic is very valuable, which is why Wong Kar Wai was willing to work with her and boost her to superstardom. To become a film queen, one will have many fans. If a person has a bad personality, then they will be a bad role model for their fans.”

Due to his lengthy career as a Miss Hong Kong judge for the past 23 years, Eric was invited to participate and film for CCTV’s upcoming show, Come! Cinderella <來吧!灰姑娘>, where he will serve as a mentor to aspiring young ladies. With his innate ability to observe and accurately critique, Eric’s main criterion when judging pageants resides on a person’s characteristics and her  intelligence. He believes that while a person can hone their skills through time, it is difficult to nurture positive personality characteristics and intelligence.

Source: Chinayes.com

This article is written by Huynh for JayneStars.com.

24 comments to Eric Tsang: “Carina Lau Lacked Acting Skills, But Succeeded with People Skills”

  1. Tess says:

    I kinda agree with Eric on this. There’s always something about Carina’s acting as if she’s trying hard not to burst out laughing when she’s talking on certain scenes. But she has a great charisma that makes her unique.

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    • M1RACLE replied:

      I do find myself agreeing with Eric as well. I never liked Carina Lau as an actress and off-screen, I wasn’t fond of her either. In terms of looks, I didn’t think she was prettier than Cherie or Maggie in their younger days/in their prime and in terms of acting, also subpar in my opinion.

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  2. Toby says:

    Now I know why I never like Carina Lau onscreen, she actually isn’t a great actress and only relying on relationship.

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    • Jennifer replied:

      Well, I wouldn’t say she only relied on relationship. For’sure she worked hard on becoming one of the more popular actresses back in her days but that’s ’cause some directors saw something special about her. I doubt WKW would cast her if he didn’t think there was something in her. Besides, I think she had this likable personality which made others want to add her in their movies. No matter how great of an actor/actress you are, nobody would want to work with a diva/drama queen.

      As for me I wouldn’t say she’s all that great at acting, but she’s enjoyable and she seems fun.

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    • Silvia replied:

      Agree!!! She cant really act at all.
      Connection save her.

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      Well as whether her acting is good or not is down to each individual’s opinion. I feel that having on screen and other things is just as important as having good acting skills. I personally enjoyed many of the series that she was in back then, I agree with Jennifer that she definately has something special for someone like WKW to want to cast her in his movies. Honestly,how many people in the circle that are successful are truly talented and have very good acting skills? Not that many… And seriously, just because you have good acting skills does not guarantee success. That does not only apply to being an actress. Even an average Joe or Jane who goes for an interview would usually get hired not because they are skilled or experienced but because the interviewers like them and their personality. Who in this world does not rely on luck and connections? We all do to some extent and especially in this business,some are just luckier than others are.

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  3. SouLuckee says:

    yes,, he i worst than Mandy Wong

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  4. Littlegalpal says:

    I disagreed, if you watch TVB classic show Looking Back In Anger she was amazing in it.

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    • Silvia replied:

      you got to be kidding me. she so plain in there.

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  5. moon 16 says:

    i don’t like her acting,,, she can go overacted most of the time

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  6. Nori says:

    Carina has an ok look rather than pretty. She looked plain and her acting stiff and wooden back then. The one thing is when she speaks Cantonese, you still can hear the Suzhou accent.

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  7. Hannah says:

    I don’t think she’s a natural when it comes to acting. But, she certainly has worked hard to become who she is today (kinda like Charmaine, but Carina is better). Carina has charisma onscreen, and she strikes me as someone ambitious.

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      This is just Eric’s opinion,so it is not really a fact. I personally think Carina’s acting was not too bad back then. She is surely better than many of the newbies nowadays even when she first started out. Who can be really good when you first start out?
      In this business and even in life or anywhere,who does not rely on luck,connections, maintaining a good attitude,etc.. In order to get far? At least she worked hard and yes she reminds me of Charmaine who started out having a hard time but worked hard to get to where she is now. But I think Carina is better when it comes to acting than Charmaine. Having on screen charisma and giving out a good aura is also just as important as having good a thing skills. I think that is how Ron manages to be successful even though many often complain about him being stiff and wooden. He has onscreen charisma which attracts viewers.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        Meant to,say acting skills. Gosh, I need to edit button.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        Meant to say the edit button.

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      • Hannah replied:

        Did I say it’s a fact? O.o It’s also my opinion.

        A couple of actresses in the 80s and 90s were pretty natural like Margie, Nadia, Ada, etc. I actually don’t mind watching Carina since she has that onscreen charisma. And why compare Carina to the newbies nowadays? There is a lack of talent at TVB, and the majority of them don’t even come from the acting class. No comparison here bc Carina is in a different league.

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      • littlegalpal replied:

        Agreed, Charmaine still is not a great actress but she’s very likable and have a lot of charisma on screen and TV. Charmaine is extremely diplomatic and friendly in all her interview and toward her colleagues…you can tell she’s very well like by her peers on how many wedding she get invite to lol.

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  8. nomad 822 says:

    I find her competently watchable without being irritating, which is good enough for her. Didn’t recall many of her dramas, more so her many movies back then (most memorably with Leslie Cheung).

    Kudos to her for climbing a long way upwards. She also always tries to be a style icon.

    Forer Suzhou-lass Carina has good social and PR skills, and is somewhat of a social climber. She also worked very hard to climb up to where she is.

    Though she’s probably still more comfortable and feels less judged when with the China crowd (see her choice of close buddies all hailing fr China: Faye Wong, Zhao Wei).

    Back then (80s-90s before ’97), being a Mainlander was a huge stigma.
    ‘Dai Luk Mui’, ‘Ah Chan’ etc would be the terms HKgers called their unsophisticated country cousins.

    From actress from Mainland -> later she was ‘engaged’ to Julian Hui (currently Michelle Reis Lau Kar Yan’s husband) … His family totally dissaproved, she announced the engagement to force his hand. They broke up shortly after. This was before his first marriage to Stanley Ho’s Pansy Hui.

    I’d say she is pretty ambitious. On top of her vivacious personality (she probably knows how to make people feel good and flirt) – which is probably the reason she knows so many socialites up there (powerful males included).

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  9. nomad 822 says:

    Typos (an Edit button would be handy):

    good enough for (ME).

    (Former) Suzhou lass

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  10. Chika says:

    I’ve always liked Carina even though I never thought she was a natural born actress. She sure worked very hard and has screen presence. She’s like the female version of Andy Lau. He’s also not much of an actor when he first started out but he was goodlooking, had screen presence and he was hardworking.

    I don’t get people who say that TVB lacks talent now when it really wasn’t much better in comparison to the 80s-90s. Even back then leading actors and actresses were picked based on looks rather than talent (women ‘flower vases’ more so than men). I recently watched Police Cadet ’84 again and the only one of the younger leads back then who acted well (besides supporting characters like Benz Hui and Ng Man-Tat) was Tony Leung. But we all know he’s born actor. David Lui was not bad either.
    Maggie Cheung was a flower vase in the drama and showed no signs of the powerhouse actress she’d become at the time. Sean Lau was very wooden and Carina was also not good.

    Seriously, people who pretend that the ‘golden era of TVB’ was full of talented youngsters were blinded by nostalgia. Those actors (now veterans) are good now because of hard work and experience not because they were necessarily good back then.

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      You made some good points and I agree to some extent. I must admit that I love the 80s and many of the series. However, I agree that not everyone was a great actor. But as I have said many times,there is more to any series/ movies rather than just the cast. I focus on the plot line/ story and script more than other things. I do focus on the cast but not as much unless they are just sooo bad or are total miscasts. I saw Police Cadet recently since I was not into modern series back then and only saw the classics like the Bund,The Shell Game and some others,but I focused on ancient series mostly.

      If you want to compare now and back then,I feel that the actors and actresses back then had more of an edge since they had acting courses so were given proper training. But many of the newbies these days just get thrown into leading roles with no proper training or anything. Therefore,it us understandable that they are not that great. Of course if you are a natural born talent like Tony then people would see their potential right away. Many actress and actors would need time and experience as you can see with Maggie Cheung Man Yuk. She was not good when she first started out but is now an award winning actress. Even with the late actress Barbara Yung whom many praise as the best Wong Yung ever and is a great actress, now I really wonder was she really a great actress or was she just well casted? Her former boyfriend saw the series and said that she was not acting and was only being herself. Therefore, now you really wonder if she was truly a great actress in that role? Or was she only well casted in a role that was so close to her real personality?

      I still believe acting is subjective to some extent. For example, Sean Lau and Francis Ng whom I still remember acting as extras in series are now famous and award winning actors. But my mom still does not think highly of their acting. Therefore,some may like Carina’s acting and some may not. But having charisma and a good on screen presence is just as important as good acting skills.

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  11. Chriselle says:

    Love the article and Eric made some good points. I heard about Carina’s past about not speaking proper Cantonese as well. Aside from having a good personality and being hardworking, she was very lucky to have found a producer who is willing to work and promote her.

    “With his innate ability to observe and accurately critique, Eric’s main criterion when judging pageants resides on a person’s characteristics and her intelligence. He believes that while a person can hone their skills through time, it is difficult to nurture positive personality characteristics and intelligence.”

    Well put. Can’t agree more with this. I guess I’m one of those people who don’t mind it when he pokes fun of the candidates. Sure, I wouldn’t like it if I was the candidate either. But most of the time, he’s on point with what he says.

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  12. cistom says:

    i still scratch my head with how Eric tsang got to be so respected and powerful in this industry. not funny, not good looking, not a good actor…the guy was everyone’s foot stool back in the 80’s.

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      He has connections which is how he climbed up,and now he is saying the same thing about Carina.

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