Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ma Zai, how do you plead?
March 17  2008
Radio Interview: Xiu Yan Jie interrogates Ma Chun Wai on 5 crime charges!
Steven was accused by some fellow colleagues of these 5 crimes while filming Sweetness in the Salt.  This was his response to the charges.
H= So, good person that you are, actually got embroiled in a rumor, eh? 5 crimes –you’ve been charged with.

S = Right!

H= Let me tick them off
1st off – You’re fierce. You won’t tolerate cast members’ tardiness
2nd = every one should know his/her script inside out
3rd = when positioning is called, no horsing around and noise from the members inside the set.
4th = you gave preferential treatment to bigwigs but stepped on the lowly. You’re in trouble here. You can defend yourself later.
5th = you taught the director how to direct. Why are you laughing so cheerfully?

S = First off, I don’t blame the tabloids for the news. We, the artistes, often times criticize the tabloids for erroneous reporting most of the time, but in this case, there was some truth in it.

H= all 5 charges?

S= not all 5. What they say about me acting like a Liza Jie male counterpart. Liza jie is a veteran actress that I like a lot. I admire people who are serious about work, because I’m a person who follows the rules.

H: Also adhering to rules makes things run smoother, the work gets done faster, and we get to go home faster.

S = Punctuality and time management have always being my principles.

H = I, too, have also committed this crime.

S = Actually, this is a good crime to commit. I think some crimes we shouldn’t commit, but some it’s good.

H = I think the person who said that it’s a crime to be punctual must be somebody who’s is never on time. How can be on time be considered a crime? Ridiculous! So bizarre!

S = And ..when it’s playtime, we can play hard, but once in position or inside the studio, I’m usually quiet and sometimes will urge others not to fool around. Especially for an emotional scene, one must get into character even before the camera rolls, else it’ll be too late.

H: Were you filming AJCL when you were accused of these crimes?

S: No. It’s for this recent series, The Salt Traders.

H: So who collaborated with you?

S: Oh, Yeung Yi is a very nice person. (laughter) Ah Yi co-starred with me…

H: Who else?

S: Many. And many were very nice, too.

H: So who were those who’re horsing around?

S: I don’t know. (laughter)

H: Just anyone who’s noisy; you'll ask them to be quiet.

S: I will. Frankly, I’ll say please stop playing.

H: Won’t that make someone unhappy?

S: I believe so. Especially when they didn’t know of my work ethics or understand where I’m coming from; they might be unhappy or they might think what's that got to do with you? Or that.. just a tad late ma, positioning has not even be called yet. I won’t impose on anybody, it’s just my viewpoint.

H: Just ignore them.

S: Also, they reported that I always arrived 15 minutes early to the studio that I would stand by the wall and wait. Of course, we have to get there early, because after make-up and costumes change, we have to discuss with the production crew on our positioning and setting arrangements

H: Frankly, when I read this report, I thought it was a very contrary piece, in that, all the good points are twisted into bad points. Virtues became shortcomings. (laughter) But there’s this one, it says that you treat people according to their status. I don’t know if you did.

S: Of course not.

H: Now this charge of treating people according to their status can be considered a crime.

S: Yes, if it is true, it can be considered a crime.

H: It alleged that during the BBQ you only brought food to the producer.

S: The producer didn’t even attend. Tin gor wasn’t there nor was..

H: Ah! How about some kind of supervisors?

S: No! Well it's like this, the restaurant has an outdoor deck and a karaoke room inside. The outdoor deck was really cool and breezy. Most chose to stay outside enjoying the breeze. But there was a karaoke going on inside a room. Some cast members and some lion dancers stayed in to sing, also some quiet members preferred staying inside. And I would interact between these two groups of people. At that time, there was this uninvited reporter who surreptitiously crashed the party and chitchatted with the cast. I guess at that time I must be inside the room, so giving the wrong impression that all the newcomers were left outside. Actually, I had just stepped inside the room from barbequing outside.

H: Well, forget it. The producer wasn’t even there as was reported. Forget about this point, scratch it. How about teaching the director how to direct?

S: That’s true. I think as actors, we should…I call it communication.

H: From my many interviews with thespians, they too said they did that. That they would examine their lines, maybe do some revisions, and would discuss the kind of expressions to use, is the smile too much? That’s not unusual.

S: Actually, I got along pretty well with all the directors. We’ll discuss how a series can be fleshed out and enhanced from the viewpoints of the director and the actor. This requires communication. I’ll say to the director, I can display different kind of expressions for you to pick from.

H: Don’t worry about it. Ma Zai. 4 of them are all virtues. And that preferential treatments to bigwigs but stepped on the lowly is not even correct. But it says here that you lost your temper. Do you?

S: Occasionally, I do. But only with myself.

H: How are you like when angry?

S: My face will darken. I’ll ignore people.

H: It shows? (Yes!) Won’t that strain the atmosphere?

S: Sometimes. If I angry with myself because I felt I didn’t do well; just ignore me.

H: So how did you get over your bad mood?

S: When the scene is done. I’ll also get mad if a scene is in progress but some people are disruptive with their frivolity. That will annoy me.

H: Would you say something about it?

S: Yes, I would.

H: What would you say?

S: I would say please don’t play.

H: That is during filming you would…like a police patrolling

S: No that’s not the case. I think every actor should have this kind of attitude like Ah Jie, or Dodo jie,.(?) Fei Jie, most veterans posses this attitude. Like in Land of Wealth with John Gor, they all have this ethics. I like that.

H: But in real life will Ma Chun Wai lose his temper?

S: Sure

H: Under what circumstances?

S: In a car, driving.

H: Well, it’s inside a car where nobody can hear you.

S: It’s like when someone is tailgating you. I hate that.

H: Let them pass you then.

S: I’ve no problem letting them pass me but they didn’t want to pass, it’s not because of who I am but that they like to tailgate. It’s their habit.

H: So honk them.

S: I will cuss them, but they can’t hear me because the car windows are all closed. I don’t have a habit of cussing, but occasionally under this kind of circumstances, I will. I feel much better after that.

Then the conversation got into his plans for the next few months which include his cruise vacation and preparing his pictorial journal for publication. That this vacation will be his longest since joining TVB.. a total of 2 weeks break. That taking off for a vacation after a stretch of nonstop production is very essential to all artistes as a way of recharging themselves to prevent drying up inside. Hostess quizzed Steven on his cruise partner(s). He said they’re all aunts and uncles. (laughter)

translator: Tamaya

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