Wayne Lai Reveals Ruthless Side in “Detective Columbo”; Natalie Tong Stars As Female Lead
Since the announcement to film Detective Columbo <神探高倫布>at the TVB sales presentation last December, the drama was eagerly anticipated. Detective Columbo was reputed to be producer Lee Tim Shing’s (李添勝) last project before retirement. Wayne Lai (黎耀祥), who had worked with Tim Gor in the Rosy Business <巾幗梟雄> installments, committed to filming Detective Columbo months prior. Although Tavia Yeung (楊怡) was featured in the original sales presentation clip, the actress was busy with other filming commitments and unable to appear in the drama. With TVB’s current talent drain, Tim Gor lamented that he had no female lead to headline his new drama, until Natalie Tong (唐詩詠) stepped in.
In recent months, many of TVB’s veteran and leading artists left the company to pursue greater opportunities in mainland China and at rival television station, City Telecom (CTI). TVB was left with few casting options, forcing it to look beyond its current staff roster. Perhaps half in jest and half in earnest, Wayne Lai even suggested that Chrissie Chau (周秀娜) be cast in Detective Columbo, creating new sparks!
It turned out that Chrissie Chau has indeed been discussing with TVB regarding possible future partnerships. However, Tim Gor did not invite her to film Detective Columbo. The model turned actress had no current availability in her schedule. Wayne expressed his disappointment in being unable to work with Chrissie, but looked forward to work with her another time.
At the May 2nd costume fitting for Detective Columbo, Wayne revealed that he will be playing a ruthless character in the drama. Wayne said, “The character was a simple-minded man raised in a small village. After incurring an accidental bullet wound in his brain, his personality underwent an extreme change. His methods became increasingly ruthless. Fortunately, his conscience allows him to redeem himself before it becomes too late.”
For the last two years, 63-year-old Lee Tim Shing had vowed that he will retire from TVB, citing his declining health condition. Working at TVB for 43 years and producing many blockbuster hits, including last year’s Bottled Passion <我的如意狼君>, Tim Gor still possessed the “golden producer touch.” He had a fine eye for detail and specialized in period dramas. Tim Gor’s roots with TVB ran very deep and the company did not wish for him to resign, especially as the battle with rival stations such as CTI intensifies in the upcoming months.
Wayne also urged that Tim Gor continue to work if his health allows it. Wayne said, “Tim Gor does not wish to bear the big title upon himself. Actually, producing one drama per year is enough. If he is not mentally tired, then he can continue to work. I hope to be able to film Rosy Business 3 <巾幗梟雄3>!”
Natalie Tong did not mind that she was the “second choice” in Tim Gor’s casting choice for Detective Columbo. This will be the second time that Natalie has appeared as the female lead in Tim Gor’s dramas, after her appearance in 2010’s A Fistful of Stances <鐵馬尋橋>.
Sire Ma (馬賽) will portray a police officer in Detective Columbo. To prepare for her physical scenes, Sire has been training and learning fencing skills. She denied recent romantic rumors with Adrian Chau (周志文), who allegedly already had a girlfriend.
Detective Columbo also stars Edwin Siu (蕭正楠), Pierre Ngo (敖嘉年), Joe Junior, and Lau Dan (布偉傑).
Source: Oriental Daily via ihktv.com
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Jayne: TVB and fans are not ready to let producer Lee Tim Shing go yet. His productions truly have a lot of heart (often featuring the redeeming qualities of characters led astray by circumstances) instead of the gimmicks and marketing buzz that some producers seemingly prefer to employ.
In the 1980s, many of TVB’s productions had a lot of heart. The studio sets have becoming increasingly elaborate, the themes more sexual and controversial, and the actors speaking more English than necessary, but as the company grew, they strayed away from what it really means to tell a good story. Tim Gor still has that heart to tell a good story, with a keen eye on details, and that is what his “golden producer touch” is about.
My first reaction after reading Wayne’s description of his role was “amnesiac” since he had a bullet injury in his brain.