Wayne Lai: “I Am Blindly Loyal”

Not only is Wayne Lai (黎耀祥) currently one of TVB’s highest-paid actors, he is also one of the longest-employed artists in the station.

Wayne was admitted into TVB’s artist training class in 1985, then graduating a year later when he was 22 years old. For the first 12 years of his acting career with TVB, Wayne portrayed many small supporting characters, even accepting jobs as a body double. It was not until 1996’s Journey to the West <西遊記>, in which Wayne portrayed the part-human, part-pig, Zhu Bajie, when his name became known.

Despite his minor successes in television, TVB decided to not renew his contract in 1998. Dedicated and passionate to continue a career in acting, Wayne moved to other filming prospects. Between 1998 and 2002, he acted in many film, theater, and a few television dramas for ATV. When the Hong Kong film industry became stagnant in the early millenium, Wayne failed to gain film offers. Under the guidance of TVB executive Catherine Tsang (曾勵珍) and director Chiu Sung Kee (趙崇基), Wayne finally returned to TVB in 2002.

Lee Tim Sing and Cheung Wah Biu are Wayne’s Benefactors

After winning Best Supporting Actor in 2008 for his role in the TVB comedy, The Gentle Crackdown II <秀才愛上兵>, more filming opportunities for Wayne followed. The Gentle Crackdown II writer, Cheung Wah Biu (張華標), teamed up with golden producer Lee Tim Sing (李添勝) for the Rosy Business <巾幗梟雄> franchise, and offered Wayne the lead role. The Rosy Business franchise helped Wayne win two Best Actor awards at the TVB Anniversary Awards in 2009 and 2010.

Being friends with each other for over 20 years, Wayne explained that only Lee Tim Sing and Cheung Wah Biu were willing to give him daring and significant roles in their productions. Wayne said, “Cheung Wah Biu is very good at writing characters that can disinter my positive qualities. As for Tim Gor, he has helped me a lot during the many stages of my life. Years ago, when I was thinking about switching careers and moving to Macau, Tim Gor encouraged me to stay. At that time, I was still an insignificant actor, and TVB definitely did not care if they lost me or not. Only Tim Gor took the effort to convince me to stay, and gave me many filming opportunities afterwards.”

Cheung Wah Biu: “Wayne is a Rare and Valuable Actor”

Although Cheung Wah Biu has left TVB, he revealed that he is still looking forward to working with Wayne again, “I worked as a producer once at TVB, and that was for 1990’s The Challenge of Life <人在邊緣>. Tim Gor recommended Wayne Lai to me, so I arranged him to play one of Leon Lai’s (黎明) subordinates. At that time, I already felt that this actor was different from others. His acting was very realistic and natural.

“When I was writing for The Gentle Crackdown II, I wrote a special scene to test Wayne’s abilities. I wanted him to count out the names of over 20 different bureaucratic officials in one camera take. None of the actors could do this all at once, so I told Wayne that he did not need to follow the script, and could just count his family members instead for convenience. But Wayne insisted on following the script, and actually completed the scene in one take. He is a rare and valuable actor.”

Camaraderie is the Most Important

Wayne is currently starring in TVB’s historical-fiction drama, King Maker <造王者>, which will air its final episode on Saturday, September 15. Wayne portrays Yu Jing, a devotedly loyal chancellor to Emperor Ningzong and the Crown Prince. Wayne described his character as “blindly loyal… Yu Jing’s entire life is burdened by justice and camaraderie, so he has been through many difficult struggles.

“In a way, his personality is very much like my own. To a certain degree, I can also be a bit blindly loyal. When everyone was moving their careers to the mainland due to the higher pay, I did not feel that I should do that too. TVB has taken great care of me. Money is not the most important factor to me.”

Wayne added, “My reasons probably sound stupid, but I still strongly believe in these traditional values. More or less, this is the reason why I am still staying with TVB.”

Source: ihktv.com

This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.

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  1. I like that about him. I don’t like people who leave just for more money, like Charmaine, even though TVB was the one who got her famous

    1. Charmaine leaves because she wants a new working experience. She already reach the highest level she can in TVB. If she stays on, she will just be stagnant. So, she took a risk and venture out. I don’t see what’s the problem with this. Sure, she got her fame from TVB, but, TVB also earn a lot from her fame.

      1. Even this Charmaine cannot resist the temptation of money.

        She also stripped her body naked until that she got bored and ventured outside with less demanding filming schedules

      2. Female artistes have shorter lives in acting. Charmaine is already 35+ and she needs to take advantages of it and explores opportunities outside of TVB. Can’t blame her for doing it.

        Male artistes can act 1st lead roles all the way up to age 50+, but female artistes may not be able to do it. Therefore, I support that Charmaine should explore other opportunities before her time is up.

      3. Correct. If an artiste is confident of himself/herself, it is an excellent way of challenging his/her abilities in acting and adapting to new environments with new people.

      4. All of us are salaried workers. LOyalty doesn’t matter if it does not commensurate with our market price. Charmaine is free to do whatever she wants. There is loyalty for TVB. I am sure TVB will dump her if she was scandalous and not popular at all.

        As for Wayne, I am happy for him. He is one of the best actors in TVB and he understands his character well. But how he got to Rosy Business was because of Safe Guards. Safe Guards made him popular and gave him awards overseas.

      5. There are 3 reasons for Wayne Lai to stay with TVB:

        1) He would like to be close to his family in Hong Kong
        2) He does not feel comfortable to work in a new environment with a new crew. He said he cannot act his best if he does not know the crew members.
        3) He does not speak good Mandarin and he feels that dubbing would not bring out his best acting/speaking dialogues.

  2. Wayne was AMAZING in Gentle Crackdown 2. Honestly, before I saw him in that series I didn’t really have an opinion of him. His character and storyline was the best part of the series so I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t watched it yet.

    Wayne is really close with his son so I’m not surprised he doesn’t want to film in Mainland since he wouldn’t want to be apart from his family for long.

  3. and i remember once wayne saying he wanted to become the 2nd louis koo and focus on movies but dont know what happen

  4. qq – Wayne was not in TVB from 1998 – 2002 because TVB did not renew his contract. Not on his own accord.

    1. Exactly. TVB chose not to renew his contract and left him to fend for himself so he had to look for other means of making money. TVB turned its back on Wayne (as well as numerous other artists which they still do) and despite this, he still remains very loyal to the company. Props to Wayne!

  5. It doesnt matter who got who famous or money. I really admire those people who are able to do the same times and go to the same place everyday. These are the type of people who are traditional and don’t like change. Im not saying that change is bad but I do think that these are the safest and most loyal people.

    1. “Coward” is a better word to term this people whether you like to hear it or not.

      1. In a way, it is true. Wayne has said in his interviews that he would not feel comfortable to film a drama series if he did not know the crew. He cannot act his best.

        He does not have good social skills, so he would rather stay in TVB and film in an environment that he is used to.

      2. There’s also a saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Maybe he truly is happy w/ his life and likes to stay in hk w/ his family. There’s nothing cowardly about that.

      3. Yea, I think to use the word coward, it’s just too harsh. There are circumstances when that word is true, and lots that are not.

        Also, change will occur, small bit at a time, but things will constantly change. The fundamental of working at tvb might not change, however, the ppls who he works with constantly changing, from just hk ppls, to like oversea hk, and mainland ppls (like fala?)

        I know quite a few ppls do not like to change things in their lives because they are happy fish in their happy pond, not some greedy fish want big fancy pond. Would you call the happy fish coward? And the greedy fish who abandon his love one hero?

      4. Oh not coward please!
        He did make a change in his showbiz life. He took a plunge, left TVB seeking a greener pasture out there but fortunes weren’t by his side. Those days, his little boy was younger and he thought a change would bring about something different and hopefully better…despite the struggles he has to encounter, he never regret of his choice. He learned a great deals of experiences and some working opportunity that he gained.

        I am truly happy that he returns to TVB, otherwise he would not have better quality work as most the movies he acted weren’t high in quality. (honestly i do not watch his movies except series).

        As his fans, I’m glad that he stays in TVB and hopefully produce more good shows for the pleasure of the viewers. I really hope he stays healthy and happy always with his beloved family. 🙂

      5. I would not call him a coward, but a dedicated and hardworking person. Who can endure playing minor roles for over 10 years?? Not many.. I was just rewatching Book and Sword 1987 the other day and saw him playing a very small role and many other series with tiny roles, but he still managed and has now found the success that he has today and I admire him for that…

  6. I would like to see Wayne act in a Chik Kei Yi’s series. I wonder how his acting will be in this type for series.

    1. It will be a good challenge for him. Different styles and different expectations!

    2. I remember Wayne was in a spoof of entertainment world and Evergreen if I remember was Wong Kar Wai. Wayne was sorta like TOny Leung ish, talking to an orange I think which was seriously funny. AND THAT is a Chik Kei Yi’s series. HE will do well but it will be too pretentious for him. Wayne belongs not in some fashion clad doomed and gloom glamarous world of Chik Kei Yi but to ordinary sort of series that needs good acting to make it so much better. He is the ordinary guy exceling in ordinary roles placed in extraordinary times.

      1. Agree ……. “He is the ordinary guy excelling in ordinary roles placed in extraordinary times.” Wayne just looks too ordinary ………. he is not young, tall, and handsome. This will limit his characters to a certain extent.

      2. I do find him handsome. He can be tall by standing next to someone short. But there is one thing about him that shows in most series nowadays but not utilised fully. He can be a rather good romantic guy. He can say romantic words and be convincing. I hope to see him in a bona fide love story BUT not those pretentious ones.

      3. Funn:
        Sorry, I don’t find Wayne handsome at all. He is just too ordinary to me. He is not a romantic guy either and is not good in acting romantic scenes unless he has a super good partner (such as Sheren Tang in “No Regrets”, Teresa Mo Shun Kwan in “Off Pedder”, or …….. ). He did not do well with Maggie Cheung Ho Yee or Nancy Wu in “Forensic Heroes 3”. Both Maggie and Nancy are good actresses.

      4. I find Wayne handsome too. I agree that his romantic scenes with Maggie Cheung were not very good, but, he has great chemistry with Nancy. Their romance was convincing to me.

      5. For his age, Wayne’s not bad. He was pretty attractive and romantic w/ theresa mo in “someday”.

      6. I also find Wayne handsome, but of course not the hot type. He is very convincing as a romantic guy, actually I think he did well with all of his previous roles. It’s not all about the looks, a lot of it is acting skills, which Wayne is very good at.

        Sandcherry: You can’t just blame Wayne when you don’t see the chemistry with his female co-stars. I actually thought he was fine with both Maggie and Nancy in FH3, but of course I can’t change your mind.

      7. He’s not romantic like hold hands, kiss, hug, say romantic words. No, it is the way he carries himself, the way he speaks gently and whispers or the way he makes eye contact, that despite being 20 feet away, you know he loves that woman. That suppressed passion. Like in King Maker with Kristal Tin who speaks her words like some cantonese teacher but the way they look at each other, the way he looks at her. Subtle romance, terribly romantic. I can see why his wife stood by him and all that. For me I feel deep down he must be a very romantic man.

      8. Compared to Him Law and Mandy Wong in Diva In Distress. What he does for her is terribly romantic. Fill in forms, trying to understand her pain and what she does for him is terribly romantic, putting up with that future monster in law he calls his mom. HOWEVER they have no chemistry and it is just action. I feel no suppressed passion or longing. Maybe it is because he keeps calling her cockroach. I find that very rude. Is rudeness the new romantic?

      9. Why the following pending moderation??

        Compared to Him Law and Mandy Wong in Diva In Distress. What he does for her is terribly romantic. Fill in forms, trying to understand her pain and what she does for him is terribly romantic, putting up with that future monster in law he calls his mom. HOWEVER they have no chemistry and it is just action. I feel no suppressed passion or longing. Maybe it is because he keeps calling her co-ck-roach. I find that very rude. Is rudeness the new romantic?

      10. @Funn: You hit the nail on the head in your description of Wayne! With Wayne, it’s really about the ‘internal’ acting that he is so great at which manifests itself externally through his facial expressions, gestures, and just the overall way he carries himself. I’ve actually found quite a few of his pairings romantic and memorable — to me, it’s really a matter of preferences.

        In addition to the ones that sammie listed, some of the other pairings where I feel that he had great chemistry with his female co-stars were To Love with Love (with Joyce Chan), Fantasy Hotel (with Angela Tong), and Trimming Success (with Halina Tam) — in all of those series, I enjoyed his relationship storyline way more than that of the series’ leads.

        Haha…talking to an orange! That reminds me of a scene in To Love with Love when Wayne’s character imitates a sitting Buddha statue and has a monologue where he talks to the floor — it was sooo HILARIOUS! Believe me, he wouldn’t have any problems at all in a Jonathan Chik series!

      11. @Funn: I agree with you too that Wayne does best in ordinary series where good acting is valued rather than the pretentious ones where it’s all about the glamor and packing. Case in point –Forensic Heroes 3….that was probably one of the few series where I really didn’t like Wayne’s role — not only because of the lack of chemistry with Maggie, but also because I felt the role was sort of ‘beneath’ him (meaning that the role was too easy for him)….I feel that he does best with roles that are more dynamic and challenging — basically roles that require more ‘subtle’ acting.

    3. What are some of the series that Chik Kei Yi has produced? I’m assuming he/she is a producer.

      1. War and Beauty
        Dance of Passion
        Gem of Life
        Fly With Me
        When Heaven Burns
        4 in Love
        Master of Play

      2. The older stuff he did was:

        Blade Heart – good story but way too long
        At the Threshold of an Era – haven’t seen
        Feminine Masculinity – a favorite of mines
        Secret of the Heart – the drama that got Nick Cheung popular
        Criminal Investigator I and II – another favorite of mines
        Cold Blood Warm Heart – a classic

  7. So true, he’s so loyal to tvb, so humbles, possibly one of the most hardworking actor I know (in term of doing so many supporting roles, and put his heart and soul into the role no matter how small they are) he has so many good qualities, and I love him since his chow pak tung days. In a sense, he’s like chow pak tung, xD superbly good (in acting. Lolol) and loyal

  8. Wayne being loyally blind? I do not think so.

    I believe he isn appreciative and grateful person, knowing what 感恩 is all about. As long as he has the ability and energy to work & is being cherished by others, he would continue to do what he loves most.

    Dare to change and leave the comfort zone of TVB? Not that he does not dare to do so, but I believe he has tasted the bitter sweet moments once when he left TVB to be on his own. During hardship, people grow and learn to cherish. I guees he has learned a great ‘lesson’ and feel it’s time for him to be more contented.

    Not a romantic guy? I personally feel he is. If you were to watch his older series like Pages of Treasure (with Sonija Kwok), Steps (with Claire Yu), The Conqueror’s Story (not sure the actress name), Best Selling Secrets (with the character Doris, the secretary), When Rules turn Loose (with the charater natalie). These are some of the supporting roles heplayed which are very convincing. I watched them all and love it very much, i tink they’re all so well acted and romantic despite bot the main roles.

    As long as he is passionate with acting, people who love him will be so fortunate to be able to catch his performance.

    1. Look at Bobby. He acts elsewhere also, for the money and comes back to TVB as well. I mean as long as he is comfortable, where he works does not matter as long as TVB pays what he thinks he himself is worth.

      1. more importantly, they produce good quality work such as No Regrets! Nowadays, when watching series…i really go watch out for acticng skills….this is really a pleasure! like Liza Wang & Gigi Wong in Divas in Dsitress…the only plus points of this series is watching they good acting skills. hehe!

  9. He’s a very charismatic man. Handsome ? Yes in own his way. I find him to be very attractive from his eye contact and body language with his co stars. Just re watched No regrets , found him to be exceptionally romantic with Sheren Tang.
    He is the type of man that is getting more attractive & with charisma as he grows older.

  10. I really admire this man. First you didn’t get to renew your contract, and when you actually come back, then you still stay faithful to the company that left you a periode. That’s what you call loyal.

  11. It has not been easy for him…. He’s an ordinary guy….. who has won the hearts of viewers through his acting…. for like ages….Everyone has been rooting for him & FINALLY tvb gave him a chance. Whatever it is, I’m just so glad he finally got the chance.
    Romance??? I believe some of us are still not used to him being in the romanic role yet. But it’ll change when we see him more often in these roles. He’s after all an excellent actor!

  12. There are many good (older) actors in TVB that the company fails to appreciate – Ram Tseung (Witness Insecurity), Joseph Lee (Beyond the Realms of Conscience), Henry Lee (The Truth). They play the crucial supporting actors that makes the drama interesting. These actors don”t even get nominated for any awards although their acting skills is far better than the siu sungs! Wayne Lai is one of the fortunate actors who managed to succeed. Hope he stays down to earth.

    1. Agree with your post. Many support artistes, such as Ram Tseung, Joseph Lee, Elena Kong, Nancy Wu, Elaine Yiu, etc., did not get appreciated by TVB in their fantastic acting. Wayne Lai is a very lucky one.

  13. I salute Wayne Lai for being loyal to TVB. Many artists (who have left and gone to the other stations or mainland) fail to appreciate the time and effort a company need to invest in their employee to make them who they are today. Well done Wayne. Keep up the great work. Love watching you on King Maker!

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