As the holder of the Most Improved Actress award of 2008, many expected Nancy Wu (胡定欣) to be TVB’s next big leading actress, but a drama that bills Nancy as the female lead is still yet to be seen.
Nancy may not be a leading TVB fadan yet, but she is definitely one of TVB’s most prolific artists. Since her acting debut in 2003, Nancy has starred in over 40 television dramas. Not only is Nancy’s acting critically acclaimed and recognized, Nancy’s singing and dancing abilities are also worth mentioning.
Nancy’s first television appearance was in TVB’s New Talent Singing Awards in 1999, in which she became a top finalist. In 2008, Nancy wowed the global Chinese audience with her dance performances for the Chinese version of Strictly Come Dancing <舞動奇跡>, which received perfect scores. Her popularity increased dramatically as a result, and it has not stopped since.
The actress also makes frequent appearances in TVB’s anniversary dramas. The 2010 anniversary dramas, No Regrets <巾幗梟雄之義海豪情> and Gun Metal Grey <刑警>, both starred Nancy. Two of 2011’s anniversary dramas, Forensic Heroes 3 <法證先鋒III> and Curse of the Royal Harem <萬凰之王>, also featured Nancy in prominent supporting roles. The Confidant <大太監>, is yet another addition to Nancy’s list of anniversary dramas.
Although Nancy has yet to lead in a drama, she has already achieved the same levels of popularity as many of TVB’s other leading stars.
But being a leading lady has always been a dream of hers.
“I feel satisfied and very grateful to have the opportunities to star in so many anniversary dramas,” said Nancy. “But ultimately, I still hope for a chance to lead in my own drama. This is my target.”
An Embarrassing Devil
What is Nancy’s most memorable role? Is it be Twin of Brothers’ <大唐雙龍傳> beautiful but cold-blooded Wan Wan, The Silver Chamber of Sorrow’s <銀樓金粉> selfish Fei Fei, or the flirty Hoi Tong from Rosy Business <巾幗梟雄>? As one of TVB’s most prolific and talented actresses, Nancy has portrayed a variety of different roles, and diversity has always remained as Nancy’s favorite aspect in acting. No matter how hard she tries in selecting her roles, the audience will still remember her to be that witch, that mistress, or that promiscuous woman.
“Not all of my characters are very likable, and a lot of them are in that gray area between dark and light,” said Nancy. “I don’t mind playing them. In fact, I think these characters are very well-developed and interesting, which is why I am not afraid of being stereotyped by the audience. The most important thing is to give these roles justice.”
It was Nancy’s successful portrayal of Wan Wan in Twin of Brothers that had locked the audience’s minds. Wan Wan was Nancy’s first major role since graduating from TVB’s artist training class in 2003. When recalling her experience with filming Twin of Brothers, Nancy laughed, “[Twin of Brothers] was also my first costume drama since joining the industry. It was Wan Wan that got the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese audiences to notice me, and people still talk about this character up to this day.”
In Twin of Brothers, Wan Wan is introduced as a very sinister and devilish beauty. For a rookie actress, portraying a villainous role is not an easy task at all. “The director told me that I actually failed the camera test for the role, but in the end, he decided to give this opportunity to me. This just made me more nervous about my performance! I was afraid that I was unable to reach the demands of the character, so all I could do was to practice nonstop in front of the mirror. Being sexy is not easy at all! It needs a lot of practice!”
Nancy added with laugh, “I was not expecting to portray such a devilish role so early on in my career, so I was very, very embarrassed. I didn’t even want to watch the playbacks and avoided the drama at all costs after I was done with it!”
Being Wayne Lai’s Wife
The Confidant is Nancy’s fourth collaboration with Wayne Lai (黎耀祥), and also her third time playing as Wayne’s wife. Nancy cried in shock, “If you didn’t mention it, I wouldn’t have realized it! From Rosy Business to Forensic Heroes 3, I had been his wife three times.”
It must be stressful to be the wife of a TV King! “Oh yes, I do get very nervous! Everyone knows that Wayne’s acting is at a godlike level. As his costar, I have to work even harder so we can have greater sparks. Actually, thinking back, I feel that I am very lucky. Not only do I get the chance to star in anniversary dramas, but I also have the chance to have a great senior like Wayne to take care of me. My acting has improved tremendously! Thankfully, the audience does not think that I am relying on Wayne’s stardom, haha!”
When discussing other male actors that Nancy possibly wanted to work with, Nancy immediately cried, “Michael Tse (謝天華)! I always wanted to work with him. We are frequent dance partners, but I’ve never worked with him in a drama before. Not even one!”
TVB’s Most Diverse Actress
In the last two years, Nancy’s roles diversified, and now the audience is beginning to realize that Nancy is not just a flower vase. Her portrayals as the hardworking and determined “Eva” in Forensic Heroes 3 and the deaf and mute” Ting Ting” in Gloves Come Off<拳王> are the prime examples that had led the audience to change their minds about Nancy’s image.
Nancy has recently won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal as Ting Ting at the 2012 AOD Favorites Awards, and is currently a hot favorite to win TVB’s Best Supporting Actress award. Regarding her character, Ting Ting, Nancy said, “I rarely have the chance to portray such sad and miserable characters. When I was cast as Ting Ting, I spent extra time on my research. Portraying someone who is both deaf and mute is not easy, but portraying someone who is deaf, mute and a boxer is even harder. The journey was a very difficult one, but the results were great! Some people came to me and said that I did really well, and never thought that I could portray such a character! I am very happy!”
Struggled Without Work
Nancy’s road to stardom was not always sugarcoated with opportunities. As popular as she is now with many TVB producers, Nancy, like many actors, had struggled with a period without work.
“After filming Twin of Brothers, I was without work for half a year. No roles were offered to me. I was very worried. What did I do wrong? Did my performance in Twin of Brothers not meet expectations?”
Although Wan Wan was a popular character, Nancy had nothing to film but travelogues and game shows after the broadcast of Twin of Brothers. Nancy was very upset with herself, but never considered giving up.
“I never thought of quitting. After all, I was still on contract, and I really like my job as an actress. I believed that as long as I remain committed and dedicated, opportunities will come to me.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
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