Steven Ma – An Ocean Concealed in a Water Droplet.- (An excerpt of the original interview)
166 edition TV Series sep 2007
Before my interview with Steven, I did not have much of an impression of him. Maybe it is because of his consistently righteous screen image that contributed to my “犯贱” (fan jian), a faddish term meaning that people tend to remember the flawed conversely overlooking the almost flawless. But to be near flawless is not his fault, not on screen, and definitely not in real life.
I can’t say what kind of man Steven is, what I can say is that, at least during our hour’s long interview, I could not find faults on him. In the Steps’ press conference, he kept his smiles, and was a thoughtful and courteous (tn:Mandarin) interpreter for his co-stars. He was neither low-key nor attention grabbing, sharing the limelight equally with his co-stars. Despite his infrequent visits to China, he was nevertheless a big attraction whenever he appeared, and wherever he went.
Because of his affability, our interview was very relaxed; it’s more like time spent getting to know a person than filling up blank papers with words. Although the jotted words might seem incoherent but actually whatever questions I’d wanted to ask he had already talked about – Just like a droplet of water will reflect the nature of the ocean. His voice is also very pleasing to the ears. He was very courteous throughout the interview, in every sense, an exceptional man.
TVseries: You are very interested in photography?
S: Yes, it’s been a year now. Almost half an expert now. I learnt it from friends. I have 2 cameras, so I can take pictures continuously, which is good.
T: Do you have any favorite shots?
S: Yes, but they’re mostly of people. Sometimes taken outdoor, and sometimes indoor. I don’t like to use studio lighting. Prefer natural light. Because the beautiful looks taken under studio lights are not as natural. I like color contrasts in the pictures. Every body has his/her beautiful angles, but not many people realize that. If the pictures are taken with studio lighting, then anybody can look pretty. But if there is no special lighting, no matter what the model does, if I were to take the pictures, I will sure to come out with the most beautiful ones. I’ve taken a lot of these pretty pictures, mostly of the females. Because the females’ expressions are easier to capture. When they looked at their pictures, they all said they didn’t know they could look so pretty. I was happy to hear that. (smile)
Actually, I wish I’ve time to travel, to shoot some scenery pictures; simultaneously shooting and documenting the scenery pictures as I travel along. I’m doing the preparation now. Maybe next year, I will write a prose journal. Still need some 40,000 words. So far, have only written 10,000 words. My company will publish it.
TV: I remember you saying your dream is to open a publishing company.
S: Did that already. Been opened for many years now. Only a side interest – help people to publish books. Next year, I, myself, will publish a prose journal. Also intent to publish a pictorial book. I’ll annotate the pictures with my feelings at that time, and narrate the stories behind them.
TV: What’s the name of your company?
S: 出色堂 (True Star Hong Kong) Actually, the name’s been changed several times, (smile) in the end, settled on this. There’s no special meaning behind it. Most thespians hope to just do their best in their acting or singing performances, other than that, they don’t necessarily want to be the best in anything else. It’s even better if there’s no need to communicate. But I don’t think that is possible. Besides, I think an interview will enable the public to get to know you better. It can be an advantage. Of course, it all depends on the thespians’ personality. Some people are naturally introvert or maybe just can’t express themselves well. They may think giving an interview is very tiring. Of course, sometimes, I feel tired too, like when the interviews are too rushed or too tightly scheduled, or when talking non stop. But..
TV: So, just have to bear it?
S: No, no. I don’t see it that way. In fact, it got me into the habit of seeking the 'fun' in it. Everybody has his/her own idiosyncrasy. You may be tired giving an interview, but the person interviewing you is also tired. (smile) They’re all tired. The person who finds the 'fun' during this interview will come out on top.. and happy, to boot. If you can’t find the fun in the interviews, and always go about them with a long face, then how miserable is that?
TV: You entered showbiz as a singer, and did quite well too. But when your acting career took off, your singing career got sidetracked. Is it because you had truly fallen in love with acting or because you had to give in to reality?
S: I truly like it. Truly. Actually, I have never put too much focus on singing. Acting is my main focus. To me, acting is my 2nd life, while singing is just an interest of mine. If both of them could be equally successful then, of course, that would be the best. But if I had to weigh their importance, I would choose acting, for sure.
TV: On a website, there was this question, “What is your favorite Steven’s character role?” Among the top are: “Where the Legend Begins”, followed by “Better Halves”. What about yourself?
S: Actually, Cao Zhi is one of my favorite characters. That was the first time I realized that my moods could be so intensely affected by a character role. Cao Zhi is a tragic figure. I was depressed everyday I did the shooting, because every person close to me tormented me. My brother even betrayed me. Ah, it was depressing, because the script was so tragic, but I was truly into it. The other is Shang Zhi in Safe Guards. I like that character, too.
TV: Did it occur to you that it would become a hit?
S: When we did the filming we all felt that it was a good script. But it was a small production. We all thought that such a small production would not stir up much interest. But it did become a hit. It’s all due to its good script. Also, the whole cast including Wayne, Gwok Fung, Kara Hui, they all brought their characters alive. However, if the script wasn’t there, then there’s nothing. Even if the actors were gods, but the script is bad and has no pull, then no matter how they (tn: actors) acted and strove to overcome its failings, their efforts wouldn’t do much. Conversely, if the script is good, and with the actors just doing their jobs (tn: without extraordinary effort), it (series) would still turn out fine. However, if the script was good plus the cast put in above-average efforts then it (series) would be all that more extraordinary. But good scripts are hard to come by.
TV: You’ve been in many shows, most of them as protagonist. But in the past, many TVB male leads have acted as antagonists leaving deep impression to the viewers. Have you thought about taking the role of an antagonist?
S: I often requested the company to cast me as a villain. But…. There are different types of villains. Some people seem to be born evil. (smile) This kind is pointless. I want to portray a person with a story. There must be reasons behind his turning evil, unless he’s psychotic. Actually, I would like to take on the role of a psychotic killer, or something similar; like he would randomly kill anyone he sees but stops when he sees a child. The kind of character that will arouse people’s curiosity as to his motive. Actually, it is always been this way: even the most evil person has his/her good side, likewise, a good person has his/her dark side. Anyway, I hope I’ll have an opportunity to take up different roles.
Today’s viewers have become smarter. They know how to separate a character in a series from its actor in real life. Like Susanna Kwan from the recent “The Heart of Greed”- she was outstanding and is now very popular. But she is a villain in that series. Did the viewers hate her - no, because that is only acting. If your portrayal of a villain is not evil enough, then that is not good. If your villain is diabolical, then you don’t have to worry, just let down your guards and go all the way. With the same token, there are also different types of protagonists.
TV: Which of the relationship in all your series left the deepest impression in you?
S: It’s still “Where the Legend Begins” – Cao Zhi and Yan Fu’s relationship. Ada’s portrayal was simply brilliant! In the story, their kind of star-crossed love of two people loving each other but can’t, obstructed as it is by society, family and tradition. Their relationship is halted, but still they love each other. Their hearts, transcending space, are intertwined. There’s a distance between them, but they are connected in spirit. This is very tragic, very tragic but also very moving. And also very real. Actually in our present societies, there still exists such love.
TV: Is it because of its imperfect, tragic love that makes it so memorable to you?
S: Right. People are like that. The more helpless, the more people will savor the “helplessness’. In fact, sometimes when love comes too easily, it loses its appeal. This is what people called, ““犯贱” fan jian” (laugh uproariously) Wants to have a good cry, to experience the heartbreak. When everything comes too easily, something is missing. People will only know pain when fallen, so that next time they will be more careful. If a person has never experienced it or fallen, he/she will regret it when he/she grows old. Life shouldn’t be too perfect.
Beautiful blow-up pictures in baidu fansite
Related pictures in fansite:温馨马仔小屋