Noel Leung Plays a Villain in HKTV’s “The Menu”

By on April 7, 2015 in NEWS, TV Dramas

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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.

Source: stheadline.com

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

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  • 16 comments to Noel Leung Plays a Villain in HKTV’s “The Menu”

    1. llwy12 says:

      The title is misleading….Noel’s character actually isn’t a villain. She just has a strong personality. Felix Lok’s character is the real villain. With that said however, Noel’s role in The Menu is definitely a breakthrough for her and very different from the typecasted characters she always got at TVB. She may not be the most stellar of actresses, but for someone who hasn’t acted for 10 years having to make a comeback with such a complicated role, Noel is actually doing very very well.

      Anyway, can’t believe we’re already in finale week for The Menu. It has been an enjoyable ride so far and as we gear up for the final episode on Friday, I know that I will absolutely feel a void after chasing this series daily the past month. I will miss watching such a quality production with great script, great cast, excellent storyline and pacing, profound and memorable dialogue, and overall awesome production! Kudos to the HKTV production team for yet another great series!

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    2. alluka says:

      After 10 years, she is still very pretty. I like her strong character in The Menu as it is all fresh to her typecasted roles in TVB. Actually The Menu brought new aspects in acting of all 3 female leads, especially Noel who I cant never think she can act a strong woman that good and Catherine in new character as well.

      The Menu is the only HKTV series I enjoy amongst the ones aired. The script is fresh and well written, with logic. Will enjoy it until the last eps.

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    3. orchid123 says:

      Based on the above good feedback, I will give it a try.

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    4. sodi says:

      As llwy12 said, the title is misleading since she doesn’t play a villainous role. Her character is very multi-dimensional and self-centered would be a more befitting word, the title isn’t fitting. This drama is definitely deserving of a nomination for best drama of year, in my books it’s already an award winner as it has shown that HK still has what it takes to compete competitively. Everything from the script, pacing, dialogue and balance of actor/actress screentime to fully flesh out every character while tying them all together has been masterfully engineered by the script.

      It doesn’t have A-list names attached to the production, but it has proven that a solid script combined with a dedicated team (eight months to film is unheard of for HK) can make magic happen. For someone who has been out of the game for a decade, Noel was smart to not comeback with another typecast role but one that challenges herself as an actress as any respectable actor should do. Catherine Chau was the one who shone the most but this drama would’ve been a lot less interesting without a strong character like Alma to compete with each other. Similar to how Heath Ledger and Christian Bale both had performances that only made each other better.

      Kate Yeung deserves a mention too as she’s convinced me that she’s competent from her generation and way better than most. This should be what gold standard stuff should be as it showcases what HK can bring to compete on an international level. Kudos to HKTV so far which has made this year much more entertaining (fourth one I’ve liked to date) and actually makes me want to follow them.

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    5. elizabeth says:

      I love “The Menu!”

      Alma Wong is not a villain but she just has questionable moral standards. However, she does have a bottom line and a conscience. She is like a lot of everyday people who start off thinking they can change the world yet it is the world which has corrupted them in the end. However, it does not make them “bad” people to be living on the borderline of right and wrong.

      I am impressed by Noel’s acting in “The Menu”. I always knew that she could act. I loved her in the restricted role of Empress Cixi in that fengshui series made by TVB back in the 1990’s with Timmy Hung and Nadia Chan.

      All the characters in “The Menu” have a lot of depth and range. There is no time wasted as every single detail gets rolled up later into the upcoming hurdle. I am glad that Catherine Chau was made one of the leads as she is fantastic in here. She was so overlooked by TVB when she was with them And she has great skin as well.

      I have enjoyed every single ep I have watched so far and I am sad to have it come to an end this Friday. Every single story is moving in its own way and reminds us of problems that happen everyday in our society that we may have chosen to ignore just forgotten about all together.

      I am glad that HKTV has made this series. Despite the uncertainty of its future and the instability of the HKTV ap on my phone, I will support HKTV until the last series it shows. I hope that it will get its broadcasting licence soon.

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    6. coralie says:

      People don’t give Noel Leung enough credit. She’s always been a very good actress in my eyes, just typecasted too much.

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    7. aunty4 says:

      .. this lady actor has a man’s name – Noel??

      wth

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    8. anon says:

      This show is TOO GOOD. I don’t want it to end. I always thought Noel was a good actress playing in her typecasted roles back at TVB, but MAN, when you see her acting in The Menu, it goes to show how versatile she is in playing the more ‘edgy’ roles. Good for her. I hope to see her more in HKTV productions. She will surely be missed. Same with Catherine, I thought she was ‘OK” with TVB, but at HKTV, she definitely displayed more range in her acting than before. As for the younger actress (forgot her name), she’s better than most HK actresses of her generation Heck, if she was at TVB, she be leading, and will be better than the rest of the TVB leading female actresses, maybe except Charmaine.

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      • sodi replied:

        @anon Kate Yeung is the actress who plays Mallory.

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      • kidd replied:

        @anon

        “Heck, if she was at TVB, she be leading, and will be better than the rest of the TVB leading female actresses,”

        Yes, she is a good actress, but, would not necessary be lead in TVB. Nowadays, being lead in TVB does not depend on how good you act. It depends on whether the person in-charge/in power like you or not.

        Most important criteria of getting to be lead actress in TVB is being liked by executive in power, followed in a distant second by being pretty, and whether the audience like you. For the audience to like you, you need to have chance to show audience your charm or you need to have a breakthrough role.

        If great acting alone can make an actress be lead, Catherine Chau wouldn’t have to toil for 20 years in TVB, and still not be lead.

        Kate Yeung is not pretty, at least, not the kind of pretty that executive in power like, based in the look of current and recently promoted actresses. So, I doubt she will get to lead in TVB.

        Login or Register before you can reply to kidd
        • orchid123 replied:

          @kidd Very much agree with you ……….. “Nowadays, being lead in TVB does not depend on how good you act. It depends on whether the person in-charge/in power like you or not.

          Most important criteria of getting to be lead actress in TVB is being liked by executive in power, followed in a distant second by being pretty, and whether the audience like you. For the audience to like you, you need to have chance to show audience your charm or you need to have a breakthrough role.”

          It is exactly true in TVB. Sad ………..

          Login or Register before you can reply to orchid123
    9. anon says:

      @kidd

      I see where you’re coming from, but my assessment was only based on her ability to act. I didn’t account for her looks, likability, and networking skills at TVB.

      Login or Register before you can reply to anon
    10. skinnymocha says:

      I’ve only seen a few of HKTV’s productions thus far – ranging from average to good – but this has to be my absolute favourite. Was kinda worried Noel was getting a little shouty at the beginning, but I think she settled in and handled her role well.

      But like many viewers, my favourite character and performance had to be Catherine’s. She showed a bit of promise in the (very few) somewhat prominent roles TVB gave her, but I was really surprised at how much she is actually capable of. It’s good that HKTV has provided a platform for these lesser known artists to flex their acting skills. I think TVB does that kind of well in some of their sitcoms, too, when it comes to casting and shining a light on the artists that would’ve been kelefes in any other dramas.

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    11. orchid123 says:

      Could I have the link (or website) to watch “The Menu” please?

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    12. darren888 says:

      Awesome! Its a 5/5 stars rating from me and it is certainly one of the best HK dramas I’ve watched for the past 3-4 years. Can’t think of any recent TVB dramas comparable to this. Great script & story lines, great casts, great directing. Both leading actresses – Noel and Catherine Chau 周家怡 acted really well. Greg and the rest of the crew are loveable too. Like it much!

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      • chloelee1 replied:

        @darren888
        I love the Menu.
        Awesome show, one of the best i have watched recently for sure.
        I really like Catherine Chau

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