Felix Lok Knows He Doesn’t Have the Leading Man Gravitas

By on May 15, 2017 in NEWS

Felix Lok Knows He Doesn’t Have the Leading Man Gravitas

Felix Lok’s (駱應鈞) character defined his fate. He has no problem with that.

As one of Hong Kong’s most famous “green leaf” actors, 64-year-old Felix Lok has had a pretty smooth career. In 1973, he successfully auditioned for Shaw Brothers’ in-house training academy, but terminated his contract with the film giant the following year. In 1975, he made his move to TVB’s training class, and officially joined the industry.

Felix spent the next 36 years of his life filming for TVB. His roles never made it past supporting, but Felix was more than happy to have stuck with his “green leaf” status.

“I’m a practical person, so I know my place,” said Felix. “There are people who are destined to become lead actors. I am not one of those people, and since I’m not, there’s no point of forcing it. Besides, there are things where your own character and personality would make the decision for you.”

Felix presented himself as an example, saying that his low-profile personality had made him lose a lot of opportunities. “I was once approached by someone to promote my drama with an interview, but because I was in a temporary situation at the time, I didn’t want to be too high profile, so I turned it down. Because of that, some people would assume that I wasn’t being cooperative. This really affected my career development.”

Felix said he has accepted the fact that his personality is just not well-suited for leading actors, offering another example: “In the past, if I was filming a drama, I would not film anything else. If I had movie offers, I’d turned them down. I really did not enjoy that thrill of rushing schedules. I think I lost a lot of opportunities because of that.”

No longer under a large management agency, Felix finds his current freelance lifestyle much more suitable for him. “It was my doing. Everything was done through my own choices, so I never complained. When I don’t want to do a project, I just say I have no room in my schedule for it. That’s just how I am.”

Saves Face in TVB

Though Felix had long accepted his fate of having no leading man gravitas, his workload was definitely no lesser than the filming schedule of a TVB idol star. “There’s only 30 days in a month, but if you consider all the filming I had to do, I would go through 40 to 50 filming crews. It was pretty hectic!”

Being a TVB actor isn’t an easy job—saving face is even harder. “We start makeup at six (06) in the morning, then head out to do some outdoor photography, then start studio filming in the evening, which would last all night until early morning. We’d start the same routine again at 06… this is the schedule that [TVB’s] been going with for many years. It wasn’t uncommon to work nonstop for 70 hours at a time. In those cases, I’d just drive to the filming location myself to save as much time as I could for sleep and shower.”

Long filming hours was standard protocol for TVB actors; Felix was glad to know that he wasn’t the only one who had to go through the same thing. “If you haven’t worked for over 20 hours straight then you’ll have no face! You never had a 40-hour long schedule before? Don’t talk about it! You don’t want to lose your job!”

Liu Kai-chi Inspired Felix to Leave

Practical and uncomfortable with change, Felix stayed with TVB despite knowing that the company was too stubborn to reevaluate its filming methods. Rather than advocating for change, Felix learned to adapt, and found a way to find satisfaction in his job. “I started from the bottom, played insignificant roles and worked my way to playing roles with more screen time. My acting was always changing, so I was never bored with what I did.”

Felix considered leaving TVB when an opportunity came up in the late 70’s, but ended up backing down. “I was too green. I’d be lost. In the 80’s, ATV did approach me, and the film industry was flourishing, but I didn’t feel like it was time for me to leave yet.”

He finally nailed the decision after having a long chat with Liu Kai-chi (廖啟智) on the set of his last TVB drama in 2004. Liu Kai-chi was the catalyst in Felix’s TVB exit.

“We were shooting a period drama in China at the time. Uncle Chi and I talked for hours on our last night there. After being with the same company for so many years, I felt it was time for me to leave to try new things out. After that night, I decided to prepare for my leave.”

Source: Eastweek

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

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Felix Lok Knows He Doesn’t Have the Leading Man Gravitas

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  • 8 comments to Felix Lok Knows He Doesn’t Have the Leading Man Gravitas

    1. mike says:

      Good for him to take a risk. Lots of ex tvb actors with minor roles seem to be doing well after they leave.

      He was always portrayed as a bad man in TVB series.

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    2. funnlim says:

      Now I know his name!

      He looks very old for his age.

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      • lyu310 replied:

        @funnlim Well, 64 isn’t young anymore, and if he dyed his hair (the sides) dark, he looks okay.

        I remember him the most from The Heaven Sword & the Dragon Sabre 2000 (倚天屠龍記) and The File of Justice (壹號皇庭). Those were probably some of his biggest roles. He’s a good actor, so it’s too bad he didn’t get any bigger opportunities.

        Man, this really makes me miss the old TVB I grew up watching. It’s not the same anymore, and the nostalgia is gone. Sad because that was how I learned Cantonese and it made me feel connected to my culture while growing up in the states.

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      • anoninhk replied:

        @funnlim i actually think he looks good for his current age, but he did look very old back 20+ years ago. he is a very competent actor but his face is very intimidating – very suitable for playing baddies. i didn’t realise he’d left tvb for so long.

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    3. llwy12 says:

      Aww, love Felix Lok! He actually gave a similar interview several years ago and said basically the same thing. It’s hard to find an artist nowadays who is so humble, practical, non-ambitious, and also still consistent with his message after all these years. He’s a great actor – another one of my favorites!

      One of the things I loved about this interview was his mention of the conversation he had with Uncle Chi that spurred him to finally make the decision to leave TVB. I’ve been following both artists’ careers since the 80s and am happy to see everything they’ve been able to accomplish the past several decades. Despite how much I miss veterans such as Felix and Uncle Chi (and all the other artists I grew up watching back in the days) on screen, I’m glad whenever I see them make the right decision to leave a stagnant company (TVB) that will never change how it operates because it is so hardset in its ways that it is incapable of doing so.

      As a side note – no, Felix, you are not alone…artists have been griping about TVB’s grueling hours for like 30 years (kind of late to the party if you ask me, lol). Honestly, it’s inhumane and the fact that TVB has been able to get away with it for so many years speaks volumes to the lack of labor laws that protect employee rights in HK. But then again, we already saw with the ATV fiasco, the license saga, etc. just how screwed up the HK government is, so I guess no one should be surprised.

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    4. coralie says:

      I think ambition has been beaten out of the actors who are are now “green leaf.” There’s also herd masochistic mentality – if this person will accept working in so-and-so condition, who am I to complain about my working condition? Or if this person hasn’t gotten any promotion even though he worked even harder than I have, who am I to ask for recognition? It’s a vicious cycle and that’s the tactic mgmt uses to control them.

      So Felix is right; he has no one to blame but himself. But this also goes for ALL of TVB actors/actresses who are still stuck in the same rut. Though at the same time because of the lack of free competition in HK, you can’t really blame them. Basically if you’re not willing to go to mainland or if you’re not introduced to the movie industry, you have no career outside of TVB.

      Dead-end job no matter what.

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    5. creditor says:

      Take heart, Felix. You and all the “green leaf”actors/actresses are the ones that make TVB dramas watchable.. The acting by some of these so-called lead actors/actresses are so bad that it is really people like Felix that help carry the drama through. I am quite sure many like me watched a drama for the supporting roles that are usually so well played by the green leaf actors, rather than the leads. I salute Felix and the all green leaf actors/actresses for their contributions!

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    6. kidd says:

      I remember him most as East Heretic Wong Yeuk Si in ‘Legend of the Condor Heroes 94’. I read many comments saying he didn’t portray the role well. But, I think otherwise. I like his WYS and think he did role justice, and certainly a good casting choice for this character.

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