Sammul Chan: “I Am A Nuisance!”

Since leaving TVB in 2010, Sammul Chan (陳鍵鋒) has slowly but surely built a successful career in mainland China. With nearly 5 million fans on Weibo, Sammul is certainly one of the most in-demand actors of his generation. Despite this, he remains humble and diligent, willing to put in utmost effort to achieve perfection on the set. At a recent interview, Sammul spoke extensively about his professional attitude and discussed the consequences of his fervent attention to details.

Sammul began his career in the entertainment industry after being recruited as a radio DJ. At 19, Sammul entered TVB, and in a few years’ time, became one of the station’s top young actors. Although his popularity continued to rise, Sammul received limited screen time and promotional opportunities since he did not sign a management contract with TVB. Displeased by the company’s contract policies, Sammul left the station when his contract expired in late 2010. Since then, Sammul has been active in China and has starred in several notable mainland productions.

Suffering Through Hardships

While his career climb seems smooth and easy on the surface, Sammul admitted that he had to navigate through some difficult moments. “There were many things you wouldn’t show to others. Soon after I debuted, I went to Taiwan to record a music album. Unfortunately the economy took a downturn and my album was never released. I was very upset at the time. Also, there were problems at work sometimes and that would make me unhappy…. I felt very troubled and was under a lot of stress. Workplaces have office politics; that also occurs in our industry.”

Despite the hardships, Sammul continued to move forward fearlessly and eventually learned how to stay sane in a sometimes hostile industry. “I am pretty relaxed in most situations, but I am also really stubborn regarding certain things. I am very strict about my bottom line. For example, if you say that there is not enough filming time today and ask for my assistance, I would gladly say yes. However, if we have agreed to two additional hours, then I will only give you two more hours. Otherwise, what is the point of signing a contract? If there is a lot more to film, you can wait until tomorrow. I insist on standing by my principles.”

Sammul’s Habits Are Not Always Well Received

Although his stubbornness is a valued asset, it sometimes does more harm than good in Sammul’s professional relationships. When his manager Ivy praised him for his professionalism, Sammul repeatedly said, “I am such a nuisance!” Explaining the negative result of his stubborn nature, Sammul said, “I am someone who insists on high standards. I would never release anything that I find unsatisfactory. Because of this, I really do not want to deal with social relationships. I’d rather spend my time thinking about the script or discussing it with my colleagues. This is why some actors dislike me. For example, when I am filming a depressing scene, I would maintain that mood for the entire day, sitting quietly aside. Others find me very strange and difficult to understand.”

Some of Sammul’s colleagues did not even bother to hide their displeasure. “Once, a colleague was filming a wide shot and said, ‘Fung Gor, we stood here with you for a very long time. We are all very tired. I need to go rest, you go ahead and stand all you want!’ I feel that I should watch others film so that I can better understand their reaction. I would then know how to adjust my reactions or expressions when it is my turn to film. If you go to sleep instead [of watching others film], would you know your colleague’s reaction when it is your turn? I don’t want to miss out on these opportunities. I am just showing respect for my profession.”

While Sammul maintains his stubbornness out of a sense of professional duty, there is actually a more personal reason for giving his all. “Even though a shot may last for just a minute, it will remain decades in history. Your sons and grandsons will watch it. Receiving decades of criticism over a moment of laziness, is that worth it?”

Aside from his acting career, Sammul also obsessively puts in a lot of time and effort on financial planning. “I am very cautious, this is probably related to the fact that I am a Taurus. I would invest in many saving plans. I began this habit many years ago, and would purchase a plan every five years. When you are old, wouldn’t it be great to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars every few years? If I have children or if unexpected things happen, I can easily withdraw money for use. That is why young people should save some money whenever they can, no matter how difficult it may be.”

With a rising career in China and a steady income stream, some may think that Sammul is no longer interested in returning to his native Hong Kong. He debunked this assumption immediately, sharing that he has been flying back to Hong Kong during breaks for the past three years. “Many people wondered why I don’t live in mainland. I still think of Hong Kong as my home. My friends and family are here. Everything is much more convenient here.” When asked if he would consider filming again in Hong Kong, Sammul would certainly consider it if the right script comes along.

Now that he has faded from the local scrutiny, Sammul finds it easier to enjoy what Hong Kong has to offer. “Before, I felt that artists should not ride on the bus or take the subway. I used to think: I also pay taxes, why should I hide at home? Now I always ride the MTR. I would just wear a face mask during rush hours.”


This article is written by Katrine for

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  1. If you say so!

    BUT why is every Sammul article nowadays sound like he is complaining about something?

    1. agree why with all the displeasure when i keep hearing that he’s having a great success and money in mainland now especially after beauty of the game? in fact he should be feeling carefree and happy now but i also keep getting that he’s still complaining and dissatisfied in all his latest interviews even after many years in mainland. why? money in mainland not enough? no boyfriend?

      1. i mean no girlfriend. and why was he never had one when he has 5 million fans? what’s wrong? too seriousuptight? afterall he did scold his own fans back then.

    2. I was wondering the same thing… Strange… About whether he has a girlfriend or not, I guess maybe he is too into his work that he has no time for love. There is nothing wrong with that.

      1. He didn’t complain?? Then why is everyone saying that he did. I am sooo confused.

      2. That’s my point. He didn’t complain but as usual people are reading whatever they want into it.

  2. I actually admire that he strongly stands for his own rights and principles. He makes a good point..

    “if you say that there is not enough filming time today and ask for my assistance, I would gladly say yes. However, if we have agreed to two additional hours, then I will only give you two more hours. Otherwise, what is the point of signing a contract? …”

    SPOT ON. I mean it’s understandable that some things such as filming can be very unpredictable, many factors that affect filming hence causing shooting hrs to go over time. But at the same time, companies and directors also have to respect artists’ assigned working hours hence their contracts…or else all artists’ would be taken advantage of such as what TBB does imo.

    1. I’m not too fond of Sammul overall, but I do like the fact that he stands his ground when it comes to his own values and principles — especially given that he’s in the entertainment industry, where it is generally very hard to survive long-term if you have a ‘strong’ personality like that. Yes, it does come across like he’s ‘complaining’ all the time and of course, he will get lumped into the ‘difficult to work with’ category of artists….but if he’s able to find success, then so be it.

      1. I don’t find anything wrong with Sammul. He seems like a decent guy who works hard and he may act like he is difficult at times, but you have to understand what he is going through. At least he is not being or acting fake just to try to please them or anyone. He is being real and showing his true feelings which I do not find a bad thing at all.

      2. @HTS: Exactly! That’s why in a sense, I don’t understand people’s mentality when they criticize artists for ‘complaining’ about things. On the one hand, people complain about majority of the artists in the entertainment industry being ‘fake’ and giving PC responses to every question, yet these same people also criticize artists like Sammul, Jessica, Felix, Wong He, Michael Tao, etc. for ‘speaking up’ about unjust treatment they received from their previous employers (or others for that matter). Nowadays, it seems like with everything artists do and say, they are ‘damned if they do and damned if they don’t’. Sad….

  3. This guy’s face looks very unnatural and stiff and why does he always look like he’s wearing red lipstick? Are his lips naturally this red or what? He reminds me of a woman.

    1. stiff face? Sammul Chan? Hell-oh, he’s one of my fav for that talented facial acting!

      1. Heck no, i’m talking about literally stiff and unnatural not figuratively speaking or referring to his acting ability. Saw him in only 2 serials, that Sentinel something and Comeback Clan. Can’t say i was impressed at all.

    2. I do not think he has had any PS so how can his face be stiff??? Unless he uses botox which I am not sure about. Maybe his lips are naturally red???

    3. He reminds me of Hawick with that same plasticky, frozen botoxed face. Never impressed with his acting at all. Like Hawick, he’s an ex-tvb 3rd liner who got lucky in China.

      1. Both Sammul and Hawick were not 3rd line actors in TVB. Sammul was the lead in Come Back Clan and Hawick in My Family. They didn’t get lucky in China. They did well in their roles. Have you watched their mainland productions?

      2. To Primrose: Sammul was not main lead in Comback Clan, main lead was Ha Yu, Sammul was only supporting, the story did not revolve around him. Hawick also played supporting roles only in tvb. He was co-lead with Patrick Tham in an atv drama which i can’t remember the title but his acting was stiff as a pole as the villain. Thanks but i hate china productions.

    1. Just because a guy looks a bit on the feminine side does NOT mean that he is gay. I have seen and known many very manly guys that are gay and have known girly guys that are not gay. A guys looks alone does not dictate that is gay or not.

  4. He sounds abit arrogant. As if he is really really good at acting. Honestly he can act, but ok lar.

    1. I do not think he is really arrogant but is just speaking his mind. I am sure many artists are fed up with TVB and other things in this e world but they do not dare to say anything, while Sammul has that courage to do so. I don’t find that a bad thing. Life in this circle is really hard.

  5. He has good principles but it’s obvious why he never fit in with TVB.

    1. I think a lot of people are but they do not dare to displease them.

  6. I liked seeing him paired with Ron. They had a good balance…visually.

  7. Don’t really know the guy… but he seems to wear more makeup than my wife!

    (which isn’t hard really… since she doesn’t wear any :P)

  8. Interesting. He comes off as a lazy, playful type of guy onscreen, but not so much offscreen, lol I respect him for sticking up to his principles.

  9. ” Before, I felt that artists should not ride on the bus or take the subway. I used to think: I also pay taxes, why should I hide at home? Now I always ride the MTR. I would just wear a face mask during rush hours.”

    Sammul, no need to hide lah. Chow Yun Fat also take the subway and goes to market.

  10. Here I come with my numerology again.

    Sammul is 3/4=7.

    34 is a very practical and formal number. It does not like to step outside of the personality it shows others, though breakdowns may occur behind closed doors. It is about orderly growth and sticking to the facts. In fact, 34 can be relied upon to give straight honest answers to most questions as it lays out the facts as they are. Like all 7′s, it is introspective and if not spiritual, then philosophical. It is a very patient number as it understands that the best things in life take time to acquire. It travels much, and its journeys only add to its growing pool of wisdom. Negatively, it is selfish and lacks common sense. It can be too energetic and can burn out before getting started on a project. It must control its impulsiveness.

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