In a surprising move, TVB executive Virginia Lok (樂易玲) has negotiated a deal for Raymond Lam (林峰) to star in rival station now TV’s grand production Han Empress Wei Zifu <大漢賢后衛子夫>. The 40-episode period drama is former TVB producers Lau Kar Ho (劉家豪) and Mui Siu Ching’s (梅小青) first contribution to now TV. The series also stars Niki Chow (周麗淇), and is set to begin filming in June.
Some speculated that Raymond is paving his path into the lucrative mainland Chinese market, and is planning to leave TVB once his contract expires next year. When reached for comment, Virginia Lok firmly denied the allegations, and assured that Raymond will remain with TVB. Ms. Lok further revealed that Raymond is scheduled to film a new TVB drama with veteran actor Tony Leung Ka Fai (梁家輝) early next year.
Since March, Raymond has been living in Hengdian, China working on 3D wuxia drama Lu Xiaofeng and Hua Manlou <陸小鳳與花滿樓>. Producers Lau Kar Ho and Mui Siu Ching tried to recruit Raymond for their new drama during this time. Due to conflicts between now TV and TVB, the husband-and-wife team asked their partner, mainland production company Hua Ce Media, to negotiate the deal with TVB. Virginia Lok initially requested a $20 million RMB fee for Raymond’s appearance in the drama. Because Raymond maintained a good work relationship with the producers, both parties finally settled the deal for $10 million RMB.
Since losing out on the TV King title during last year’s TVB Anniversary Awards, Raymond has repeatedly dodged rumors that he is planning to leave TVB. Reporters reached out to Virginia Lok regarding Raymond’s future plans. Ms. Lok commented that the new drama is a high-budget production that will give Raymond a lot of exposure within the mainland market. She added that the deal was reviewed and approved by TVB, and that in return, TVB will receive priority broadcasting rights. Ms. Lok also denied that Raymond is leaving TVB, sharing that he is currently negotiating contract renewal and is very likely to remain with the company. She also revealed that Raymond is scheduled to star with Tony Leung Ka Fai in a new drama series early next year.
Producer Mui Siu Ching also spoke about Raymond’s appearance in her drama, saying that he and Niki have already completed costume fitting. Mui added that Raymond was willing to take a lower fee and risk fatigue from filming two series back-to-back because of his friendship with the producers. Mui expressed excitement over Raymond’s participation, and shared that they are planning to produce a bilingual version that will be broadcast overseas.
Source: Ming Pao
This article is written by Katrine for JayneStars.com.