In this week’s The Confidant <大太監>, the young Emperor Tongzhi has finally grown older, and it is time for Oscar Leung (梁烈唯) to appear. Oscar portrays the teenage version of Tongzhi, from 14 years old to his death. The Confidant is Oscar’s first Qing Dynasty drama, and according to Oscar, “Also my first time to experience baldness.”
Oscar had been treading around the TVB studios since 2004, and although he was not an entirely anonymous actor, 2012 was definitely the year in which Oscar shined. He is nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the TVB Anniversary Awards for his performance in L’Escargot <缺宅男女>, and is a hot favorite to win Most Improved Actor as well. Oscar’s popularity increased tenfold after starring in the testosterone-pumped, Tiger Cubs <飛虎>. Oscar is also finding success in film, and has achieved much publicity for his starring role in the film, Young and Dangerous: Reloaded <古惑仔之江湖新秩序>, which will be released in early 2013.
“I also do my homework and I always try to come up with something unique for my character to stand out,” said Oscar. “Especially in characters in which I would only appear for a few episodes, or even for a few minutes. I want to make the characters memorable.”
Oscar admitted that he was pretty hasty with his designs. “Most of the additional things I added were of my own, not the character. It was not until working with Power Chan (陳國邦) on Grace Under Fire <女拳> when I knew what it really meant to completely design a character. I know how to do my homework now.”
When trying to grasp the character of L’Escargot’s “Kwan Yi Gor,” Oscar almost slipped into depression.
“On the first few weeks of filming L’Escargot, I completely ignored [costar] Mandy Wong (黃智雯). Kwan Yi Gor has terrible mood swings because he has bipolar disorder. To grasp the character’s proper mentality, I often separated myself from the big group. I also tried to maintain a depressed mood. Jaime Chik (戚美珍) noticed something was wrong with me. She noticed that I had some early symptoms of depression – I was acting very indifferent with very slow reactions. Sometimes I get absolutely manic, while other times I grew very depressed. It turns out that she has a friend who is bipolar, and she is aware of the seriousness of the disorder. She had a talk with me, and I told her that I was aware of how I was acting, and that I was acting like this because of my character. She said she admired me for my hard work, but disagreed with how I handled it.
“On my way home from work one day, I started crying, and for no reason! I really want to thank Jaime, because if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t notice my problems, and I would have already gone crazy!”
Oscar learned that proper communication with his costars would produce the best outcome. Oscar abandoned his method approach and began to interact with Mandy. In the end, Oscar not only gained a new friend, but also a new partner to share his “rising star” status.
However, Oscar understands that manipulating moods should be an actor’s specialty, but never should these moods overtake the actor’s own personality. “The most important thing I’ve learned in my many years of acting is to relax. In the past, I would get really nervous about a character. I’ll get really unhappy and I’ll trap myself with my work. I didn’t even want to go out. But now I finally understand. The past is the past, and it should be left in the past. The best part of acting is that if you didn’t do well this time, there will always be a next time, but your next time may not be as good as last time!”
While trying to grasp all the opportunities he could to do well in his job and earn more money, Oscar realized that happiness and blissfulness is actually a very simple concept. “What is being happy? To see my parents living comfortably, my girlfriend living happily, and to see my dog in comfortable living conditions. That’s all I care for, really.”
Oscar did not join TVB until 2004, and in his opinion, it was his wisest decision. “I have many opportunities to learn how to act, sing, dance, and film as well. All the knowledge I have now stored in my head is all from TVB’s training. I am not tall and handsome, nor do I have a signature first-line siu sang look. I also don’t require myself to be a first-line actor. The first thing I have to do is to improve myself. I am actually quite proud of my looks – I can be a very flexible actor and I am willing to be anything. Whether or not it is to be a woman, a youngster, an old man, a comedian, a villain… you name it. I can do all of those.”
Nonetheless, with the success he has achieved this year, Oscar still wants to widen his prospects. “I want to get the approval of not only in television, but also in film. And not just in Hong Kong, but also in the mainland, in Malaysia, as well as the rest of the world.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.
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