Noel Leung (梁小冰) makes her grand return to Hong Kong television in the HKTV drama The Menu <導火新聞線>, a 24-episode series centering on the newspaper and media business. Noel’s last appearance in a Hong Kong television drama was over 10 years ago, in 2003’s Light of Million Hopes <萬家燈火>.
Known for playing ancient beauties in many TVB dramas of the nineties, Noel said she would not have made a comeback in Hong Kong television if it were not for her character in The Menu. In the series, Noel portrays Alma Wong, the cunning and ruthless chief editor for the newspaper Smart Post. Alma Wong is the first villainous role of Noel’s long 25-year acting career, prompting her to accept HKTV’s filming offer despite knowing that she would have to endure the grueling schedules that comes with filming Hong Kong dramas.
Tired of Typecast Roles
Noel explained the reason for staying out of television dramas for years, “I really don’t want to do the same roles over and over again. If I have to film a period drama again, I would rather do so in Mainland China, where the pay and work hours are better.”
Noel is grateful for the opportunity to finally break out of past typecast roles. “I was enthralled by the story after reading the script. Since they have the guts to cast me, of course I have to say yes!”
Filming for The Menu was more gruesome than Noel expected. The filming period took eight months, and Noel only got a few hours of rest per day. But it was an enjoyable eight months, and Noel even suggested HKTV to film a sequel.
Noel went all out for The Menu, such as doing her own dangerous stunts. She also almost went fully nude for a scene, revealing her bare back and the side of her breast.
“It was not intentional,” said Noel. “Filming all night made me really tired, and I didn’t check the camera angles before shooting. The crew was worried, so we re-did the scene a few times in different angles. In the end, I told the director to use the first one because it looked more natural!”
HKTV announced a temporary halt in producing dramas last February. Noel said it is a pity because Hong Kong television is in need of more competition. “Without more stations, it is hard for Hong Kong dramas to improve. Other [countries] have already exceeded us!” Noel also encouraged HKTV to try tackling the film industry. “There are too many restrictions in television!”
The Menu premiered on HKTV’s online services on March 10. Its final episode will air on April 10.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.