In the past few years, many popular Hong Kong artistes have been filming less local television dramas while pursuing higher-paid television dramas from Mainland China.
While these artistes may be seeing larger numbers in higher paychecks, how much longer can they maintain the momentum before Mainland viewers grow tired of them?
Recently, a Mainland Chinese media outlet reported that many Hong Kong television artistes tend to film disappointing, low-quality Chinese dramas, criticizing the actors for only seeing China as a pot of gold and without a care for quality.
According to Jayne Stars, the article specifically chastised high-paid TVB artistes Kevin Cheng (鄭嘉穎), Charmaine Sheh (佘詩曼), and Myolie Wu (胡杏兒) for choosing poor dramas to film, implying that they are “worthless” actors.
Kevin Cheng, who shot to fame in Mainland China after starring in the popular period drama series Bu Bu Jing Xin <步步惊心>, is reportedly paid 250,000 RMB per episode in China, and is currently the highest-paid TVB actor in the country.
After his success with Bu Bu Jing Xin in 2011, Kevin switched his career focus on Mainland China and filmed period dramas such as Mystery in the Palace <深宫谍影>, Ip Man <叶问>, and Red Dust <滚滚红尘>, all which were critically panned by critics and fans alike.
Mystery in the Place was voted as the first worst drama of 2012, and viewers complained about the drama’s inaccuracies, plot holes, and “illogical scenarios that even primary school kids could notice”.
Since leaving TVB’s management in 2011, Charmaine Sheh, one of Hong Kong’s highest-paid actresses in China, filmed a string of underwhelming Chinese dramas in the last two years, which included The Female Constable <带刀女捕快>, Marry into the Purple <嫁入豪门>, and The Legend of Kublai Khan <忽必烈传奇>.
Charmaine’s acting was also criticized to be “insufferable, always using the Lau Sam Ho-style”.
Myolie Wu was chided for her poor taste in choosing dramas. “She chose to do the cheesy Yu Zheng (于正) drama Happy Mother-in-law, Pretty Daughter-in-law <欢喜婆婆俏媳妇>, the old-fashioned dramatic family soap opera Jin Yu Man Tang <金玉满堂>, and corny idol dramas.”
Even Hawick Lau (劉愷威), a former TVB star who did not score leading roles until after starting his career in Mainland China, was criticized for being typecasted into portraying handsome but tragic “wealthy prince” roles. A majority of his dramas also have predictable endings.
Patrick Tam (譚耀文), who once used to be a leading TVB actor, has not filmed a single memorable Chinese drama since leaving Hong Kong for Mainland. His villainous eunuch role in The Emperor’s Harem <后宫> has left an impressionable mark on Mainland Chinese TV goers, but the drama itself was poorly received critically.
Former TVB actor Benny Chan (陳浩民) has earned the nickname “Best Actor for Worst Dramas”.
With their questionable projects from from China, Hong Kong television actors are beginning to receive poor responses from the general Chinese public, leaving viewers to feel exasperated whenever they see a Hong Kong actor headline a drama.
The report also expressed that Hong Kong actors do not care about quality, have little value, and are only in China “for the money”.