TVB Management Didn’t Want Felix Wong in “Looking Back in Anger”

Felix Wong‘s (黃日華) hit drama Looking Back in Anger <義不容情> is currently on re-run and he has been watching with his family to reminisce. Felix’s daughter Adrian Wong (黄芷晴) disclosed that when she was younger, Felix would play videotapes of the drama and force her to watch during dinner. This is one of his most famous dramas, but it is a little known fact that he nearly lost the chance to participate in the filming.

Felix joined TVB in 1980. He shot to stardom in 1983 with The Legend of the Condor Heroes <射鵰英雄傳> and was part of the Five Tigers which comprised of Andy Lau (劉德華), Michael Miu (苗僑偉), Kent Tong (湯鎮業), and Tony Leung (梁朝偉). In an older interview, he discussed the hardships that he faced while filming with TVB, “We would film till 3 or 4 a.m. and then we were expected to be back at work at 6 a.m. So once I got off work, I would run to the washroom to sleep.” Due to exhaustion, he was diagnosed with hepatitis. At the time, TVB only allowed him to take 18 days off from work but he still remained loyal even when the other four Tigers had left to explore other opportunities.

The final straw was when it came time for his contract renewal in 1987. TVB had offered Felix a new contract spanning five years with an increase of $500 HKD annually. Angered, he declined to renew and vowed to leave after his contract ended in three years, “I only asked for a couple thousand dollars extra in salary and they said that I was way over my head!” Thus, TVB declined to continue promoting him. From leading actor, Felix suddenly found himself in small supporting roles.

In 1989, the producer of Looking Back in Anger, Wai Ka Fai (韋家輝) wanted to cast Felix as the leading man. TVB management did not want someone that was going to leave the company in a year to be the leading man. However Wai Ka Fai insisted that he would only work with Felix. Thanks to the his persistence, Felix’s career reached a new high point as Looking Back in Anger received great ratings and reviews.

The re-run of Felix’s classic drama allows viewers to once again witness his charismatic acting. Felix has not accepted any new jobs since his appearance in HKTV’s 2015 drama Paranormal Mind <開腦儆探>. He has been spending time taking care of his wife who was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago. As can be seen, he is very similar to his character in Looking Back in Anger– a loving family man.

Felix with daughter, Adrian

Source: hket

This article is written by Kiki for

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  1. What a show that was, one of my all time favourite dramas. I Remember going through so many emotions all those years ago and of course the final cliff hanger…did his wife forgive him and was it her at the church? Aaahhhh!!

    Cannot imagine anyone else doing a better job than Felix. He was one of favourite 5 tigers, his acting has this raw, unpolished but very genuine appeal about it. Not to take anything away from Deric, he was also magnificent in his role.

  2. Was it Michael Miu who said Felix had 1 iconic role and that role sustained him until today and that was condor heroes. Well that tells you how much the management knows. They let the good ones go. HKD500 annually? How insulting. Well now mediocre stars are paid much much more. Payback time. I hope dicky got paid a lot.

  3. Out of the five tigers, Felix was the only one that stayed and thought he would get a bigger raise. That didn’t turn out so he held a grudge all these years. He is now the only five tigers that is publicly criticizing TVB and the other four kept a professional relationship or keep working with TVB.

    1. @mike When your employer doesn’t pay you your worth, when you contribute to their success, and they tried to sabotage you and insult you by paying a pittance when you are asking a reasonable sum, is that a grudge or is that injustice?

      The other 4 didn’t had it as bad as he?

    2. @mike That’s actually not entirely accurate, as Tony Leung also stayed (his last series with TVB was 1989’s Hap Hak Hang, which was TVB’s remake of Jin Yong’s Ode to Gallantry). Besides, the story back then was that TVB had been deceptive in that management had pulled each of them into a room separately and gave them essentially the same “speech” pressuring them into signing a longer contract, claiming that the others already signed (when they actually didn’t sign). So who is in the wrong there? Besides, what Felix did —asking for a raise — is a normal part of any contract discussion (plus it’s not like the amount was out of line)…what TVB did on the other hand — lying to the employee with the intent of coercing them into signing an unfavorable contract — was not only wrong, it was likely also borderline illegal (though in that day and age, probably couldn’t do anything about it).

  4. Um, it’s not really a “little known fact”….anyone who followed HK entertainment news closely back then would probably know. The rumor back then was that management wanted to give the role to Alex Man (feeding off the popularity of The Feud Between Two Brothers, which came out the year before Looking Back in Anger) but Wai Ka Fai (who has obvious eye for talent) insisted on Felix for the role. Wai Ka Fai was right of course and LBIA went on to become a hit not just in HK but across all of South East Asia (at the time).

    And honestly, I don’t see what the problem is with Felix criticizing TVB when everything he said was absolutely true. Besides, it’s not like he never gave TVB a chance – he agreed to return to film Gun Metal Grey back in 2010 (after much persuading from Michael Miu), only to once again be treated like crap by TVB…given his fiery personality, of course he is going to speak out about it. I honestly don’t get the mentality some people have that all those celebrities who criticize TVB get labeled as “traitors” who should’ve kept their mouths shut so as not to rock the boat. Why should TVB be above reproach and not get called out on stuff when it’s warranted?

    1. @llwy12 Ahhh Alex Man would have been a wonderful casting too, except he would yup the emotional level a million times more. Alex Man is admittedly a better dramatic actor, he and deric would have played off one another very very well. I believe the series would have had the same success. But was Alex Man right age back then?

      1. @funnlim I think Alex is only 4 years older than Felix, it’s just that he looks way more mature. I actually prefer Felix…yes, Alex is the better dramatic actor (and also a Golden Horse Best Actor winner, an award he won back in 1988, which is one reason why TVB management wanted him over Felix), but personally I’ve always found his acting a bit too OTT for my tastes. Besides, he was already paired with Carina in The Feud Between Two Brothers (in the first half of the series anyway) and I actually felt they didn’t match (Alex is already mature-looking to begin with and at that time, he was much older than Carina). To be honest though, if it had been Alex in Felix’s role, I don’t think Deric would’ve gotten the chance to shine as well as he did in the series, since Alex tends to dominate the series he’s in and the focus tends to be more on him…with Felix and Deric in LBIA, there was a good balance…for me, both of their performances were equally memorable.

      2. @funnlim

        I agree with Wai Ka Fai that Felix was more suitable for the role in LBIA. Alex Man was too emotional and violently mean, and he would look like Deric’s uncle more than brother. The character would be very different from Felix’s portrayal of 丁有健。

  5. I don’t blame Felix for leaving tvb because it’s over work and under paid and it’s unhealthy for not having enough sleep especially when working long hours.

  6. Remember Justice Pao and how he punched the car window glass and all? Felix earned the right to criticise TVB. He was a huge star, still is a big star, he is forever associated with TVB’s most iconic series and TVB is forever associated with his most iconic roles and he wasn’t very appreciated back then when TVB was big brother. Moreover it is his opinion, he has been through that heartless system, and I will say same system even now except no one talks about it because having an opinion now is not a good thing unless you are a huge star and Felix, Dicky and the likes are huge stars. I wish Felix will come back to TVB or a wuxia series. It is time to remake one of those true wuxia series. C drama doing wuxia are such nonsense most of the time. What C drama has are pretty girls who mostly can act and looks the part but the other castings and interpretation are mostly poor emphasising more on casting than suitability in a role.

    1. @funnlim Well-said and completely agree! People tend to associate criticism with negativity but that’s not always true…there is such a thing as constructive criticism, which is done with the hope for improvement, and especially from those who have been through it and close to it, is especially necessary. It is TVB’s problem that they refuse to listen to criticism and instead choose to remain complacent…the way I see it, Felix and all the other former artists who’ve brought up TVB’s issues over the years are actually doing TVB a favor by letting them know what isn’t working and giving them chances to improve…it’s not those artists’ fault that their advice falls on deaf ears…

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