Wong Jing (王晶) and TVB’s gambling drama Bet Hur <賭城群英會> is Patrick Tse’s (謝賢) first drama in thirty years. Premiering next week, the suspenseful TV series also teams up Natalis Chan (陳百祥) and Monica Chan (陳法蓉), whose last Hong Kong television drama was The Duke of Mount Deer 2000 <小寶與康熙>.
Also starring Charmaine Sheh (佘詩曼), Kenneth Ma (馬國明), Raymond Wong (黃浩然), Mat Yeung (楊明), Dominic Ho (何浩文), Connie Man (文凱玲), Samantha Ko (高海寧), and 2015 MHK Louisa Mak (麥明詩), Bet Hur is a revenge story about a hidden gambling god (Patrick Tse) and his opponent, portrayed by Lau Siu-ming (劉兆銘). Nat Chan and Monica Chan play Patrick’s disciples, who are being constantly threatened by their enemies. In the end, Patrick has to pass on his gambling skills to Monica’s disciple Charmaine Sheh to win their last defining battle.
Bet Hur has been compared to 1990’s All for the Winner <賭聖>, but Wong Jing said the show is actually more of a homage towards Patrick’s own The Shell Game <千王之王>, which was also produced by Wong Jing.
In regards to inviting both Patrick and Monica back to a TVB drama, Wong Jing said, “They are both very good friends of mine. The roles I’ve had for them were also very suitable for them, which is why I decided to call them back.” Monica and Nat play an ex-couple, who eventually reunite thanks to their own disciples, portrayed by Charmaine and Kenneth.
While Monica and Nat are leading the second generation of gamblers, Charmaine and Kenneth lead the third. Bet Hur is the duo’s first television drama collaboration as a couple. It is also their first collaboration with Patrick. Charmaine said, “Brother Four was the star in The Shell Game. He knows a lot of card tricks, and he will show them all off in [Bet Hur]. I’m just standing by his side, watching him. It’s like magic.”
Playing Monica’s disciple—Charmaine hasn’t collaborated with Monica in 18 years—Charmaine’s character is cutthroat ambitious, but her competitiveness comes to a cost of losing the most important person by her side.
In her first television drama since her debut in 2012, Connie Man plays Charmaine’s younger sister who starts a romance with Raymond Wong. She said, “This is my first time collaborating with many of them, and I’ve learned a lot from them as well. I feel that TVB actors really know how to take care of themselves. They don’t need the crew to remind them of where they should be. That synergy they have is great. It’s all about teamwork. We all worked together to make a good show, and so far, it’s definitely been a very happy experience for me.”
Dominic Ho, best known for his role in The Gigolo <鴨王>, will be having a Romeo and Juliet romance with Louisa Mak, who plays Lau Siu-ming’s granddaughter. Bet Hur is Louisa’s first acting role since winning the Miss Hong Kong Pageant in 2015. She anticipates receiving constructive criticism, adding, “I just hope I won’t make people hate me!”
She added that being an actress is a lot harder than she originally thought, saying, “You stiff up once you’re in front of the camera. I know I have this image where I’m good with memorizing things, but once the camera rolls, there are many other things to consider besides memorization. You need to get used to the camera. I really once to thank Dominic Ho for being such a good partner. Also my father Joseph Lee (李國麟) and brother Carlo Ng (吳家樂).”
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.