Kenneth Ma Goes Outside the Box

By on September 2, 2013 in NEWS

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Thirteen years after joining the industry, Kenneth Ma (馬國明) cemented his star status with 2012’s The Hippocratic Crush <On Call36小時>. The 39-year-old considers himself one of the luckier artists.

“The road I walked wasn’t considerably difficult. I am one of the luckier ones, because there are still many seniors out there who are still waiting for their chance.”

Ten years ago, Kenneth was cast in a small supporting role, Roy, in Triumph in the Skies <衝上雲霄>. Along with costars Ron Ng (吳卓羲), Sammul Chan (陳鍵鋒), and Bosco Wong (黃宗澤), Kenneth was promoted as TVB’s S4.

Ten years later, Kenneth was invited to star as Roy again in the Triumph in the Skies sequel. Facing big stars like Francis Ng (吳鎮宇) and Chilam Cheung (張智霖), Kenneth’s role is reduced to a supporting actor again, but Kenneth is not sensitive when it comes to status.

“This series is very important to me. After three years of portraying random ABC characters, I had my first consistent role in Triumph in the Skies. The significance behind this sequel is very big. I am playing a supporting character in this drama, but I really don’t care if I am a lead or not. What matters most is whether or not my storyline is interesting to watch. For example, I only had four episodes of screen time in The Other Truth <真相>, but I love it. Every drama requires teamwork. I don’t have to worry about carrying it on my own. What I do get worried about is whether or not the drama is well-accepted by the public. I do want to change my style.” Kenneth added that he wouldn’t mind getting a best supporting actor nomination, reasoning that any award would help him earn more money.

Defends “Sister-Brother Love” with Elena Kong

In Triumph in the Skies 2, Kenneth is involved in a relationship with Elena Kong (江美儀) who is older than Kenneth’s character. A few viewers found their relationship to be of extremely “heavy taste” and some went ahead to call Elena a cougar.

“It really depends on whether or not you can accept an elder-woman-younger-man relationship,” said Kenneth. “As for me, I’m okay with it. In the drama, both of the characters get along really well, so naturally, they got together. I’ve never experienced this type of relationship in real life, but I believe that if you do like someone, age shouldn’t be an issue.”

Kenneth added that perhaps his image as a TVB siusang influenced the audience to be against his relationship story with Elena. “At the start I knew there would be a sister-brother relationship. Maybe it’s because the audience thinks that I should be with actresses like Tavia Yeung (楊怡) or Selena Li (李詩韻), so it’s odd to see me with Elena. As an actor, I really don’t care. In the future, if I am required to play a gay character, I will do it. I never trap myself in a box. In the world of acting, as long as it is reasonable, I can do anything. I will not have my beliefs in real life affect my performance in acting.”

“I am an Uncle”

Due to his busy schedule, Kenneth had to reject several great filming offers. Fortunately, he secured a role in an upcoming film, which will be shooting soon.

Kenneth admitted that he did not have the time to study the script, but expressed that when it comes to filming movies, he will not limit himself. “Film and television limits are different, but still, it depends on whether or not the scenes are reasonable. If you there is a bed scene I have to do and it sends a message, I will do it. As an actor, we really shouldn’t care anyway.” Is Kenneth excited? “A little bit. After all, I’ve never filmed a movie before. I really want to work with outside actors and directors. You never know – maybe this experience will help me with my work at TVB as well.”

How about his dating life? Kenneth laughed, “I don’t know! I just want to concentrate on my work.” Will he give an older woman relationship a chance? “I really don’t know. I’ve never encountered this before, but honestly, young girls are not for me. I don’t mind being called an uncle, but when it comes to young girls, I really don’t know how to take care of them. It’s tiring. I want her to have her own mindset and be mature. I don’t want her to be like a child.”

Wants to Try Theater Acting

Rumor has it that it is extremely difficult for a television actor to make it big in the film industry. If you can watch the actor for free on television, why pay the extra cash to see the actor in a movie theater?

“I’ve heard of that before. Many seniors have told me that you really want to make a name for yourself in film, you have to hide yourself for a while. But I don’t think the difference is that big anymore. Of course, film and television are two different languages. In a movie, the director has more say on what you should do, while in television, it’s exactly the opposite. The actors have more freedom.

“It’s just my first movie. There are still many things I want to try, many characters I want to portray. I also want to do theater if I have the chance. I hope to have more opportunities to try new things in the future.”

Asked if Kenneth sees a day where he will leave TVB, he said, “I am someone who is rather stable. I have a burden to carry, and unless I have reached a certain spot, to the point where others are willing to wait for you instead of being replaceable… but I want to save some more bargaining chips first. After all, my company has been treating me really well. They gave me many opportunities to try something new. They really take care of Kenneth Ma.”

Source: Apple Daily via ihktv.com

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

66 comments to Kenneth Ma Goes Outside the Box

  1. yuaida says:

    Sorry to say but he is not “Big Screen” material and at TVB, he will never be a big brother either………..he’s reached his peak in his career…….

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    • lol replied:

      are you sure look at wayne who would have ever guess wayne becoming tvb number 1 brother you never know what can happen

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        Exactly life itself is already unpredictable, therefore, life in the circle is even more unpredictable. I have seen Wayne ever since the days when he only played extras. Not just with Wayne, but Bobby Au Yeung, Micheal Tao, Tony Leung Chiu Wai(I saw him in really minor roles before too and look at him now), and many others who I thought would never make it big. But look at them now, especially Tony Leung… Therefore, you truly do not know what can happen.

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      • Y2k replied:

        Well Stephen Chow took 8 years to take a first lead in the Final Combat since he join TVB in 1982,well Kenneth have the look to become a movie actor ,even kelefeh like Wong chui Nam can act in movie,why not him?
        Since Hong Kong return to China ,it harder for TVB actor and actress to promote into movies industry ,anyways I wish him success.

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      • Fox replied:

        Since when WCL is kelefe? He has the strength tat others in Txb dun have, other word says he is unique, special. And not tat hard for Txb artists to break in movies but they have the invitation or not.

        Talking about movie look, I like to refer to “role” look more. Example is Geoffrey Gao in Dark Instruments: City of Bones. He looks exactly Magnus Bane in the novel but his acting is wooden. Who cares, ppl love him for Magnus. Me too. He has the role look, he can make it! Still hoping too see more of him and Alec in sequel.

        Not that I mean Ma Ming will successful in movie field. He only has a supporting role awaiting in a comedy. Everyone know how comedy does with box office in HK, especially the love comedy. Cant say anything. And if his chac is like TITS2 aka a player, I foreseen a failure with his acting.

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      • c3 replied:

        actually i agree with yuaida. wayne at least can act. KM is a not a very good actor, he’s very wooden and one dimensional. He is where he is today because he is likeable. But talented would be a stretch.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        Who said the ones that are truly successful can really act??? Not that many… Acting is also subjective as well. But hey, if that were not the case then how can any of these actors/actresses survive in this tough and competitive circle??

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      • Fox replied:

        Success dun equal to good acting, but be careful, it must be a special role or the actor has to look exactly that role. If not, nothing will happen.

        Taking back Geoffrey Gao’s case, he appeared no more than 6 mins. But his chac is special yet he looks the role, so despite his acting which were agreed by most to be wooden, he wins the fans (old fans of novels are marked). It has backup of novel. In movie field, its larger and more chances to grab, but dun mean anyone can grab a chance.

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      • Najib replied:

        Wong Cho Nam is a rich kelefe,this short dude can get into movie industry because he from rich family ,he acting suck .
        Among the 3 fok Luk sau,this short guy is the worst ,while Johnston lee is the best.fox I bet you are Wong hard liner fan and paid by his dad .
        Kenneth can get success if given chance ,he need to act along with those high ranking actor like Louis koo,Anthony Wong ,Ekin Cheng ,Donnie yen and not act with kelefe like mr Wong cho nam.

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    • Smart Aleck replied:

      Anything can happen! As long as he has luck on his side, it’s possible. Nice Wayne Lai reference lol.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        Correct. Luck is the No. 1 factor. Of course, good acting skills help too.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        Yup, many do not realize what an important role that luck plays within their lives… I never thought much of luck in the past but I do see how important it is now. With luck comes fate… Some can work really hard but end up with nothing or not much but others who hardly do anything end up with it all… That’s life for you.

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  2. michele says:

    Yes, dear! You couldnt imagine that one day, Wayne lai will become big bro in tvb dramas. As long as they have good acting meet luck. This will be comes true. Obviously, Ken has. In oncall 36, he is wonderful and has melt a lot of girlfan heart. (me lolzzz).wait and see.

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    • Puff replied:

      Yes, he was indeed wonderful in On call 36 or Hippocratic crush. But perhaps it’s the script, for some reason I just think his story with Elena Kong in TITS2 is a bit redundant. It’s not the sis bro relationship that gets to me, it’s just lack of excitement and chemistry that makes it a bit boring.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        I don’t like Roy’s relationship with Heather either. Surprisingly it brings him an opportunity to film movies. Probably he did not expect that either.

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      • 939393 replied:

        @sandcherry:
        Kenneth mentioned that his participation in the movie was in discussions even before TITS2 was aired. So no, it’s not that role which brought him filming opportunities.

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      • michele replied:

        Yes. I think some of character in TITS2 are so anoying and redundant. There is teddy, pink pink and most of them is ms.apple. What the hell r they appear on the screen?

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    • bbfanny replied:

      Kenneth improved a lot in THC and is wonderful there as the doctor. I think the script of TITS2 failed him because he’s not as enjoyable in this one.

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  3. sandcherry says:

    It is a fact that Kenneth Ma’s acting skills have improved a lot in the past few years. It was mainly to his hard work and his willingness to accept any types of roles, including villainous and guest roles.

    He is also lucky because most of the veteran actors left in the last two years, and he got a better chance to be promoted by TVB.

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    • lol replied:

      and kevin raymond bosco and ron went to mainland which left kennath the chance to be promoted by tvb

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      • sandcherry replied:

        It could be true. Kenneth Ma got highly promoted by TVB probably because of good-boy image. Raymond, Ron and Bosco all got love rumours with some females and Kenneth was the only one clean with no love/sex scandals.

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    • HeTieShou replied:

      Yea, I must say that timing is another factor that is important in our lives and timing seems to be right for Kenneth since many actors have left. He is also lucky to not have any bad boy images or sex scandals to deal with.

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  4. Bubblez says:

    It’s good that he’s flexible but sometimes, it’s also good to hold onto personal morals and whatnot.

    And it’s hard to have every single drama well-accepted by the audience as well.

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  5. Austin says:

    Nothing against Kenneth but besides THC and TC, which other series did he do well in? Obviously THC was huge in his career but doing well in one role does not make him a great actor overall and I think he knows that. He’s not as versatile as his peers which could be a problem but nonetheless I do hope he can play more roles suitable for him.

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    • sandcherry replied:

      I think Kenneth Ma was also good in the following drama series, though he was not a 1st lead actor:

      1. “Life and Times of a Sentinel” as Fook-tsuen
      2. “A Fistful of Stances” as Koo Yue-tong
      3. “Grace Under Fire” as Yau Sam-shui
      4. “The Other Truth” as Alex Kong Lok-man
      5. “Tiger Cubs” as To Tin-yue

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      • Austin replied:

        I agree with LATOAS, didn’t think too much of him in Fistful Of Stances, he was ok in TOT but he wasn’t great. However his performance in Grace Under Fire is definitely one of his worst. He was the weakest actor in terms of the rest of the main cast of that series. He tried too hard to be a immature kid in the first half of the series and the way he smiles at the sight of Fala’s character made him looked like some 14 year old obscene lurker then the 180 degree turn as a “villain,” where it just doesn’t make sense. Of course the it was the writer’s fault but still his performance was awful. I can’t decide whether he did worse in that or in 3 Kingdoms. SSSS was another failure, his best role to date was in TC. He fails in comedy roles, I much rather prefer to see him as a villain whose more subtle and quiet.

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      • May replied:

        “…didn’t think too much of him in Fistful Of Stances.”

        Really? He portrayed his character much better than the 1st lead.

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      • Austin replied:

        You mean Kevin? I thought Kevin was ok but Kenneth wasn’t any better. I don’t know I’m not a huge fan of that series either.

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      • May replied:

        I’m not a huge fan of that drama either, but Kennath is obviously better than Kevin in that series. He gave the feeling that he was the 1st lead in that series, completely overshadowing Kevin. I’m not saying Kennath did very well in that series until he should have won best actor or what, but overall, he portrayed quite well. Or maybe because it was Kevin’s terrible acting that made Kennath’s acting look great since I personally don’t think Kevin has the aura of being important.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        I liked Kenneth Ma very much in “A Fistful of Stances”, but I did not think highly of Kevin Cheng’s character/acting. I guess acting is a very subjective issue. Everyone has different tastes and expectations. I

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      • Austin replied:

        In terms of who did better in that series it was probably Kenneth, I haven’t watched that series in a while but he wasn’t great in there either which is why I’ve already forgotten about him in that series. Kevin wasn’t too terrible, he was on point on certain scenes but the emotional scenes was just terrible. I felt like the supporting cast outshine the main cast of the series(Ram,Angela,Eric…etc)

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      • Austin replied:

        Another decent performance was probably in “Into Thin Air.” That’s when I started to notice him as did everyone but his character wasn’t much of a challenge either.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        Personally I think Kenneth Ma was the best artiste in “A Fistful of Stances” (again it is my choice only).

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        I love Kenneth in AFOS not because of his acting (which was poor) but because I realise he can be handsome, upright AND sexy in that white overalls/cheongsam/whatever it is called. I appreciate his handsomeness.

        As for his best performance, I will say The Other Truth even if again he sorta not that great. Like I said, he and Ruco should have changed roles because at that time I thought Ruco with glasses and well gelled hair looks more like a murderous accountant than Kenneth who looked more like a rookie lawyer.What about that series, that comedy in the 60s? 70s?

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      • sandcherry replied:

        Based on the above drama series, I think Kenneth is pretty good in acting villainous roles which are usually more impressive and convincing.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Because he can go OTT with those roles. He still has that pouting problem.

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      • Austin replied:

        ^ Are you referring to Scavengers Paradise? Yeah that wasn’t his best either.

        As for TOT it was probably because I didn’t like his character nor cared too much to judge his acting but it wasn’t bad. I thought he was great in that series with Steven, I really liked his character. It’s a shame that series was underrated.

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      • Kidd replied:

        @ May

        “He gave the feeling that he was the 1st lead in that series, completely overshadowing Kevin.”

        Kenneth gave the feeling that he was the 1st lead because the series is revolved around him. He appeared the most in the series. His character is always the one who saved the day, the one who solved all the problems. The series even ended with his character.

        Kevin Cheng was 1st lead by name only. In in practical sense, Kenneth Ma is the lead.

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      • May replied:

        Kidd,

        It is hard for the 2nd lead to shine because the drama itself is not specifically written for the 2nd lead, unless the writer changes the script and makes the 1st lead and the 2nd lead be of equal importance. I believe A Fistful of Stances focuses on the first brother (which was portrayed by Kevin), but the second brother becomes the highlight in that drama due to either Kevin’s terrible acting or Kenneth’s fair acting (I use ‘fair’ because I don’t think it is really memorable or deserves a best actor award, but it is still great and obviously better than Kevin’s acting).

        Well, maybe you can argue that it is Kevin’s terrible acting that makes me think Kenneth’s acting is great. You know, like A and B are terrible, but A is much more terrible than B, so B is better than A, and thus B seems to be ‘not that bad, after all’. I don’t know. Maybe it is my own interpretation and illusion. Maybe Kenneth’s acting is really bad in AFOS like Austin said since Austin appears to be much more objective when watching AFOS.

        As for Kevin, personally I don’t think he is a great actor regardless of his success in china. I think his fans like him because of his looks. I don’t think his characters in that law series and in BBJX are great either. I don’t understand why he got best actor awards twice when him portraying a lawyer is obviously an exaggeration and terrible, let alone the other character in Under the Canopy of Love. He does not have the aura of being somebody that is worth to pay attention to. I think this is what makes him a bad actor, especially when he wants to be the 1st lead. Maybe he is better in acting if he portrays supporting roles?

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      • Kidd replied:

        @ May

        “It is hard for the 2nd lead to shine because the drama itself is not specifically written for the 2nd lead,”

        Yes, this is usually true for most dramas, but, not AFOS.

        ” I believe A Fistful of Stances focuses on the first brother “

        I don’t feel that way. Lets imagine the first brother is not played by Kevin Cheng, but, someone same or lower status than Kenneth Ma. Will you still think the series is focus on first brother?

        The first brother only appear after a few episodes into the series. By this time, audience is already familiar with 2nd brother. And after 1st brother appear, which brother is the one protecting everyone, solve all the problem, and is the pillar of strength for the whole family? 2nd brother.

        Kenneth indeed acted better than Kevin in AFOS. But, it’s not because of his acting that made him feel like a lead. The script made him feel like the lead.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        Kidd
        Agree with you.

        1) Kenneth Ma acted a lot better than Kevin Cheung in AFOS
        2) Keven Cheung did not have much screen time in it. It is very hard to show that he is a main lead, except his name and status.

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      • Fox replied:

        KC in AFOS is the case when one with better fame is used to boost someone else, who has the love of executive ie. Catherine Tsang. Its TVB, can say anything’

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    • Primrose replied:

      I thought Kenneth was great in Life and Times of a Sentinel and the crazy killer in Tiger Cubs. He has played lead roles before – but forgettable. Like Speech of Silence and Man in Charge.

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  6. tvbfan says:

    I kinda think Kenneth went to his peek in tvb maybe he can get a bit higher but when he’s 50-60 I don’t viewers would want to watch or enjoy his series as main character any more.

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  7. Ling says:

    I can’t understand viewer nowadays . Kenneth is just 3 years older than Elena Kong , viewer already call her cougar . Why nobody is complaining when TVB pair those 50+ old men with 20 something young girl ( e.g. Patt Shum and Grace Wong ) . IMO , it is disgusting too .

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    • sandcherry replied:

      Like Wayne Lai and Nancy Wu (in at least 2 series); Michael Miu and Nikki Chow; Wayne Lai and Fala Chen (not sure if they are coupled in the forthcoming drama series).

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    • GD replied:

      Lol I think you mean Pal Sinn and Grace Wong.

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  8. Charbydis says:

    What does “heavy taste” mean? I see it everywhere.

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    • ben replied:

      he acts like a wood

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    • Fox replied:

      I blv tat its refers to a Chinese term means something irregular, bloody or hard to accept.

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  9. ben says:

    I hope he know he needs more acting trainings to break into the movies.

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  10. Panzer says:

    I think currently he isn’t ready for films with his acting level. There are times where his acting is great and other times when it’s amateurish. I think with the right director and right roles, he can grow a lot in his abilities.
    It’s just that TVB probably won’t give him the roles he needs to improve himself. – If they do, it won’t be anytime soon and I hope he doesn’t take as long as Wayne did, to breakout, because of this.

    I think he is best when he is slightly crazy/evil. He has a wild/unbalanced look in his eyes that few other TVB actors can do well.
    He looks coolest/most believable, when he is not trying to act cool, and kinda bad when he is actively trying to look cool. “Less” seems to be “more” for him.

    I am really sick of the immature, teenager, lovey-type roles he gets cause it’s just so….ick.
    He’s over 30 I think so he should be getting more aggressive, adult roles -instead of the immature 20something crud he mostly gets.
    TVB are losing their best male actors at an alarming rate and they need to step up and replace them with capable guys quickly, That won’t happen unless they start giving chances to people like Kenneth and Bosco. Let them act their age and stop giving them lame love stories with whiny, immature plot points. 😛

    It’s a shame those 2 guys(can’t remember their names) who did all the unpopular adult series (When Heaven Burns, Master of Play, etc) left, since they would have been the best choice to develop Kenneth and Bosco IMO.

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  11. Terminator says:

    The title of the article is so deceptive that I thought it was about him finally moving out of his parents’ home at age 40

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  12. AL says:

    He is a hard working actor and maybe a good man too. But sorry I don’t find him know how to act! Acting as a very good doctor is easy…to me how to act mean able to act different character, good or bad, handsome or funny character.

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    • sandcherry replied:

      Kenneth Ma’s acting is coming along. I am sure he will excel if he films movies. It will give him a chance to learn something new which is not the same as TVB. TVB likes to draw a circle around their artistes and they have act within that circle. They usually act similar types of characters over and over again, like Raymond Lam, Ron Ng, Linda Chung, Myolie Wu, Tavia Yeung.

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      • Fox replied:

        Movie isnt the magic stick. There are TV actors who brought TV acting in movies and its hopeless. A supporting in movie dun givemuch chances to shine at all, especially love(light hearted comedy produced by a kungfu actor turn director :p

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      • Austin replied:

        ^ I agree, he may be a decent actor onTV but films is on a whole other level. Even Raymond Lam can’t make a good movie but is fine on TV. It applies in Hollywood as well, only a few of the great actors on TV made it big in films like George Clooney. Jennifer Aniston was great on Friends but I don’t remember her being in a good movie for the last 15 years she’s done films. TV actors don’t have that much appeal in cinema films, that’s just the way it is. Kenneth’s acting is very limited in the roles he does which is why I don’t think he can excel well as a cinematic actor.

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      • HeTieShou replied:

        Yup acting in series versus movies are 2 different worlds.

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      • Fox replied:

        I think Ma Ming’s current acting skill is for TV. He gets OTT easily and cant control himself to nail in roles different to his personality. His eyes cant talk.

        In movies, I notice the eyes make important roles than on TV. So without talking eyes, Ma Ming cant excel well. In movie the types of roles are more varied, too. With his limit in certain role types, he will have obstacles.

        For LF, so far I also dun see his movies have movie feel, too. He is still learning to move to movie. Tats why Im looking forward to Baby blues because his acting in the trailer gives me more movie feel than all of his others stuffs. Luckily at least his eyes can talk.

        Kate is the only one in Txb gave me movie feel up to now.

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      • jayne replied:

        Fox,
        Movies are a more controlled product with more clear-cut vision from the director. Under the hands of a capable director, an actor’s acting methods can be guided to fit the scenes required. Also, movies have larger budget to allow more takes until the perfect one is achieved.

        Kenneth’s emotional delivery is quite strong, although he can become over-the-top. However, the raw emotions are there and can be refined, similar to how former TVB artists became better actors once entering the film industry.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        If Kenneth Ma does not try out in movies, he will never know if he can or will even do better.

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      • Austin replied:

        I agree with Kate, she has that particular charisma that’s suitable for the cinema.

        You can pretty much tell who can succeed and who can not, I mean can you imagine Myolie or Tavia entering into the film industry? I can just imagine how it’ll be like, besides Kenneth is one of those TV actors that doesn’t have on screen charisma even on TV let alone on the big screen. That’s just how I view it, his role in there is a repetitive one.

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      • Fox replied:

        @jayne: maybe you are rite about how MM is OTT, but I still dun think his eyes can talk, yet give him diisadvantages. Yeah, to say I think he is seasonal actor who can.do well in certain type of roles only. Tats why I predict another failure if he really acts playboy again in his first movie role unless a super good and strick director help him to step out of his shell.

        The budget is quite meaningless if the script and director cant do well. For example, Wolverine with mega investment is a failure (new one), a boring movie at max. Badges of Fury is a star-stunned movie and you can forget it 5 mins after watching. Its funny, that’s all.

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      • Fox replied:

        @Austin: Myolie, maybe because her acting is quite fit the light-hearted romantic comedy

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      • Austin replied:

        Myolie for TV yes, but on the big screen I’m gonna have to pass. I just don’t see that star quality in her for future film projects which is probably why she never got offered any film roles.

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  13. ebbie says:

    I don’t like this particular picture. He looks best when he’s stern.

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