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Friday, June 29, 2007

"The Drive of Life" Premiere Party

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[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 29/06/07]

TVB and CCTV joint venture to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Return of Hong Kong to Chinese Rule in the form of 60 episode series "The Drive of Life" will begin airing in China tomorrow and in Hong Kong on 16th July. To mark the occasion, TVB held a special world premiere event at a Wanchai Hotel yesterday, attended by Vice-Director of the Central Government's Liaison Office in Hong Kong Mr Li Gang, CCTV Controller Mr Zhao Huayong and TVB Deputy Managing Director Chan Ching Cheung for a lighting up ceremony. This is the first time such an event has been held at the Grand Hyatt and cast members present included Charmaine Sheh, Jessica Hsuan, Myolie Wu, Sheren Tang, Damian Lau, Michael Miu and Raymond Lam.

After the earlier outcry over the 'One Show Contracts' offered to veteran actors, TVB has recognised the value of its supporting artistes during the production of "Drive" and Benz Hui and Felix Lok were invited to share their thoughts at yesterday's event together with Damian, Charmaine and Jessica. On the stage, Benz said: "Usually when I hear other people sing TVB's praises, it sounds awkward, but now it is my turn and I am very thankful to TVB for this opportunity to film. I was approached by other producers before, but Ms Lok refused me and I had to take out a loan to get by! I am already quite famous in the mainland, thanks to TVB series and to be watched this time by over 1 billion people, then you can call me 'Billion Benz' in the future." After saying this, everyone applauded him on stage and afterwards he explained that he was just speaking his mind and not intentionally having a dig at Ms Lok. He was just telling the truth and the reason he was not allowed to film was that he had exceeded his quota.

There are reports that the mainland version of the series was not allowed to be aired on the 1st July anniversary because certain scenes were not deleted, but producer Tommy Leung denies this, saying: "The mainland companies had a part in the production of this series, so they have a different view on things. Our target was always for 60 episodes, but this will be 58 episodes for the mainland because their schedules are different. (So are there deletions?) Of course there are some intimate scenes and some darker scenes that have been subject to agreement."

Charmaine wore a sponsored designer outfit by Giorgio Armani to the event, but the sequinned dress was very heavy and she was asked if she was worried that she might suffer the same fate as Yumiko Cheng. She says: "I have been breathing in to keep it up and there will not be any large movements at the event. (Have you used tape?) The dress is very heavy, so it is no use. (Yumiko did not wear any underclothes?) Maybe thanks to being in Miss Hong Kong, so I make sure there is plenty of underclothing, but accidents cannot be foreseen." Afterwards, when the artistes were on stage for the toast, Mr Cheung, the president of A-Fontane, one of the show's sponsors stepped up and stood right next to Charmaine, leaving her a little embarrassed. Fortunately Jessica and Raymond moved aside, allowing her to step backwards. Asked if she felt awkward, she said: "It was fine. I do know him and we have worked together for a while. All the executives were in the front row, so I stepped backwards. (Mainland actor Zhao Ke still stood in the front row?) I don't know, but Jessica and Raymond called me, so I stepped backwards."

Sheren wore a chipao for the event and she smiled: "I am quite alternative and I do love Chinese goods. I am tying in with the theme of the handover." Sheren says that a person's value is not in their outfit and although her dress only cost a few hundred dollars, the quality of the material and the cut is good. There have been rumours that during filming of "Drive", Myolie has been linked with mainland actor Feng Shao Feng, but they were happy to be photographed together at yesterday's event. Myolie laughs: "He called me after he found out about the reports and I told him to read it like a story, but he is not used to the reporting methods in Hong Kong. There is nothing really because it is not true. (Are you going to be a host for his visit?) No, I have to film and I don't want to be on the cover of magazines!" Myolie was more excited when asked about her kissing scenes with Bosco Wong and she said: "Fortunately I know him quite well, otherwise it would have been awkward. (Do the scenes get more passionate?) Plenty, but the scripts are very sparse, so we have to wait for the details. I am mentally prepared though and I will not mind."

As for reports that due to the hype of the show, much of the scenes rest with the veteran actors, Raymond says: "I don't think this is the case, because we have been working with CCTV and a lot of things have been arranged beforehand and cannot be changed at the last minute. As they were not aware of the changes in the mainland, then everything had to be done to plan."

Toby Leung has been rumoured to have been a diva on the set of her new series "Cold Encounters of the Third Kind" demanding special treatment. She denies this and says that she had to change her hairstyle in that scene, so there were a lot of people helping her. As for the comments that she is only getting opportunities because of her father, she says this is hard to respond to, but she hopes people will see her acting for what it is. She did used to be affected by what people said when she first entered the industry, but she has put this behind her now and she will not talk work with her father at home.

News translation credit to Em TVBspace.

More pics:

Added: CCTV8 full trailer and TVB newest trailer:

CCTV8 Full Trailer

Episode preview (Damien, Ray, Charmaine & Myolie)

TVB trailer

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