Broadcasting in the midst of the 2012 London Olympics, there is no doubt that the ratings of Ghetto Justice 2 <怒火街頭2> are affected. Although it is one of Hong Kong’s most anticipated dramas in 2012, Ghetto Justice 2 only garnered 28 points in its first week of broadcast, with approximately1.79 million viewers tuning in.
The star of the Ghetto Justice franchise, Kevin Cheng (鄭嘉穎), did not feel too dampened by the underwhelming ratings. “I am feeling very contradictory,” admitted Kevin. “Of course, if [Ghetto Justice 2] was given a different air date, the ratings may be higher. But it’s an honor to be able to compete with the Olympics; it shows that TVB is really confident in our drama.”
Kevin Cheng Was Not the First Choice for “Law Ba”
In an interview with Chinese news portal site, Sina.com, the 42-year-old actor and singer discussed his most famous role – “Law Ba” – the laid-back and sluggish lawyer in one of 2011’s most popular dramas, Ghetto Justice. Although the legal drama only finished fifth in the list of highest-rated dramas last year, Ghetto Justice was a critical success, reviving the stagnant careers of Kevin, Myolie Wu (胡杏兒), and Sharon Chan (陳敏之). The role of “Law Ba” won Kevin both a “Best Actor” and a “My Favourite Male Character” awards at the year-end TVB Anniversary Awards, while Sharon won “Best Supporting Actress” for her role as a tragic prostitute.
In Ghetto Justice 2, Kevin reprises his role as Law Ba, who has recently been released from prison after a two-year sentence. In the first few episodes, Law Ba was seen consistently eating, and netizens joked that Law Ba was a “good-for-nothing” and did nothing but eat. Kevin explained, “Law Ba has always been like that, even in the original series. Now that Law Ba is out of prison, he needs to eat more. Noodles have always been his favorite!”
Kevin revealed that he was actually the fourth choice for Law Ba. He said, “The producer and writers wanted an older, more mature actor for the role. Law Ba’s actual age should be older than my age. I usually play characters that are younger than my actual age, so it’s a nice change.”
However, Kevin was actually more satisfied with the fact that the role was not written for him. “In the past, my characters are always squeaky clean, obedient, and a little monotone and boring, but Law Ba is a completely different story! I had a really great time with this role. I am actually very glad that the role wasn’t written for me. I am usually cast into dramas in which the character I portray is tailor-made for me, so it actually impedes my acting. With an unexpected role like Law Ba, I can work on my acting and it will not be as restrained.”
Kevin Ready to Challenge “Ip Man” Role
Kevin’s eagerness in wanting to try out different characters is one of the reasons why he accepted the role, “Ip Man” in mainland China’s upcoming television adaptation of the legendary martial arts hero. While Kevin was offered many good scripts and unique characters, it was the challenges behind Ip Man’s character that prompted him to accept the role.
Kevin said, “I wanted to choose more ‘dangerous’ roles that I do not have a good grasp of. The uncertainty behind Ip Man is great because many seniors have already portrayed the character before. While it is difficult, the dangerous factor is higher. It makes the role more worthwhile.”
Kevin continued, “If I have a good grasp of a character, the results will not be bad. With Ip Man, there are many other possibilities than simply good results. I really don’t know what will happen afterwards, which makes the role just that more exciting. My intuition tells me that I should not stay on safe grounds, and I should try out some ‘unsafe’ things.”
Kevin: “Ghetto Justice 2 Cast Chemistry is Natural”
One of Ghetto Justice 2’s scoring features, Kevin believed, was the chemistry between the cast. “The success of Ghetto Justice gave us so much confidence; we know what the audience is expecting for this second installment. Our tacit understanding of each other grew stronger; we all have confidence in each other. We all know this is work, so with this understanding in mind, our acting became more free, natural, and comfortable. Our goal is to make the audience feel comfortable when they’re watching us.”
When asked if TVB would consider making a Ghetto Justice 3, Kevin answered, “We should take it one step at a time. TVB will consider its popularity and ratings success before green-lighting another sequel.”
Kevin Clears Up Love Rumors
The popularity of an artist comes with a cost. After the successes of Ghetto Justice and mainland drama, Bu Bu Jing Xin <步步惊心>, Kevin found his love life under scrutiny. It became a hot discussion topic in tabloids.
Kevin was most surprised of his rumors with Annie Liu (劉心悠), his costar in Bu Bu Jing Xin. He said, “We never even ate out together. We are really just friends and colleagues. The tabloids really exaggerated our relationship!”
Unless he really had to, Kevin would never read gossip reports or buy newspapers and magazines. “The only thing I do is watch basketball,” he added. “I get a new rumored girlfriend every two weeks. Even I can’t keep up with it myself!”
The past two years have been very hectic for Kevin. Although the actor wishes to find a significant other soon, he knew now was not the right time to find one. “Work comes first. If I do find a girlfriend, and our relationship is very stable to the point where we are very comfortable with each other, I will consider making it public.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
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