Yet another standing ovation for Fox Network—after releasing the highly acclaimed The Trading Floor <東方華爾街> last summer, the renowned production company came back with the crime thriller Stained <心冤>, and it’s pushing all the right buttons.
Stained, directed by Patrick Kong (葉念琛), stars Kara Hui (惠英紅) as Senior Inspector Po Fei-fung, who is on a vengeance spree to save her husband Chief Inspector Lau Wai-yi. Her husband, portrayed by Anthony Wong (黃秋生), is being accused of spying on the police force—a black cop. Tse Kwan-ho (謝君豪) stars as Kara’s superior, Chief Inspector Kei Tak-shing, but his motives are unclear. Even to the end of the final episodes, viewers were left sitting on the edges of their seat, wondering if Tse Kwan-ho ever had intentions to harm Kara.
In the final episode, it was revealed that Yau Ho-lam, portrayed by J. Arie, was the true villain, but there is still one more final boss behind her—someone she likes to call “Baba,” or father. The true identity of Baba was never revealed, even at the end.
Viewers believe that Tse Kwan-ho’s Inspector Kei might be the final boss, but Tse Kwan-ho remained tight-lipped. “Kei Tak-shing does have a good heart, but you’ll have to wait and see! Was he trying to get rid of Madam Po? It does appear that everything he does is for a reason, but sometimes, he just wanted to help her. It’s really hard to explain. You will have to keep on watching! If there is a second season, we will have to see how Patrick Kong will handle it. There is still so much to tell!”
Stained is not only Tse Kwan-ho’s first Hong Kong television drama in five years, it is also his first collaboration with Kara.
“It’s great to be back,” he said. “Before shooting Stained, I rarely filmed dramas in Hong Kong. [For Stained,] I got to use Cantonese, my mother tongue. I don’t need to speak in Mandarin anymore. It’s great!”
Despite being veteran performers and Golden Horse winners, Stained is Tse Kwan-ho and Kara Hui’s first collaboration together. Kara said, “I definitely felt pressure [to work with him]. He was classically trained to be a stage performer, so he has a very aggressive take on his role. Very sharp. Although we’ve never worked together before, I had to act as a ‘psychologist’ to read him, and observe his performance.”
Tse Kwan-ho held up his hands and said in response, “We actually never met, but of course we knew of each other. She is a multi-winning HKFA film queen. She was really amazing [in Stained]. Everything felt pretty heavy, but it was very thrilling at the same time.”
Tse Kwan-ho and Kara’s very first scene together was in the first episode, when his character “Kei Sir” questions Kara’s “Madam Po” in the interrogation room. Madam Po welcomes Kei Sir with a powerful sitting stance, manipulating the power in the room.
“That was our first scene together, after meeting for the first time,” said Tse Kwan-ho. “It was actually a very suitable team for us. Like our characters, we didn’t know what to expect from each other. We were all trying to see what’s going on. It was great!”
Tse Kwan-ho went more in depth on how they shot the scene, describing, “The scene started off with just Kara. She was waiting for me in the room to interrogate her. Once she sat down, she spread out her arms in a powerful stance. I had to do something else.”
He also wanted to act out the scene in a similar way, but Kara was one step ahead. “A good actor is someone who can inspire you to think of a second plan,” he said. “Kara took stole my thunder, so I had to take it slower, be more gentle, and not act aggressively. There’s no point of having two very aggressive people in the room. When she goes soft, I will go hard. That is what makes it fun.”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.