Continued from part 1
After Gallen left TVB, War and Beauty became a phenomenon, marking the overpowering of female artists in HK (TV) showbiz. It was closely related to the shortage of lead actors. For the last two years, nobody has really taken up TVB’s Yat Gor title. Their TV series do seem to be missing something. I (the reporter) try to push Gallen to reveal his intention on whether or not he would return to HK. But he seems to be truly content with the decisions he has made.
Screens captured from Divergence (Universe, 2005)
G: Gallen Lo
R: You rarely come back to HK these past two years?
G: In Mainland I’ve joined in about 4 TV dramas now. Two of them are ancient, My Fair Lady and Lady Wang in Exile. I was the “emperor” in both, one comical, the other heroic. Then there is a modern comedy, Magic Chef, with Dicky Cheung and Francis Ng. Permutation, on the other hand, is an interesting drama on the backdrop of Shanghai 1930s. I could only stay in HK for about 8 to 10 days per visit.
R: How difficult is it for you to adapt to working (condition) in Mainland?
G: I’m pretty much used to it by now. The hardest time was at the beginning, with my family being so far away.
R: Your wife doesn’t go with you?
G: Only when she has time. When my son has breaks, my wife takes him to come and see me for about a week. At the beginning I felt very lonely, since there aren’t so many HK people over there. Often times, only the directors are from HK, while all my fellow actors would be from Mainland. I did need a little time to get used to (the new environment). I guess I need to learn how to relax more. Beside trying to earn a living, I also want to have more friends. People are generally nice and I guess I am now more comfortable. Moreover, working in Mainland enables me to travel and visit many interesting places.
R: War and Beauty shook HK showbiz last year, were you thinking of filming in HK at the time?
G: TVB has contacted me a few times, but my schedule couldn’t accommodate. I still have a couple of projects (contracts) I need to finish. It depends on the script, mostly. Nowadays I hope to be able to pick out an interesting role instead of focusing on how many drama (I could pack into my schedule) each year. I could only then be sure about my performance.
R: The past two years can be seen as a new beginning for you?
G: Most of the projects I’ve committed myself to (these past two years) are from my own choices. And I feel I’ve made quite a number of good decisions. The development goals I set for myself earlier can now be achieved, and they can be achieved at my own pace. That’s the greatest thing. At TVB my colleagues and I usually worked very late hour, and I often spent the nights right there at the studio. There were many things happened around me but I didn’t have time to “see” them… It’s a big change as now I have on average up to 10 hours a day to rest. It benefits not only my health but many other aspects of my life.
R: So it’s not just the financial reason (behind the move from TVB to Mainland)?
G: Money is important, of course. I make more now, yes. But you’re right. I needed to go outside just to see what people are doing, to re-evaluate myself.
R: From what you’ve been sharing, it seems you’ve attained some new life philosophies? How much has Gallen Lo changed these past two years?
G: I hope not much on the outside, haha. But inside me, yes. In my house I have a calligraphy written by one of the top ten Chinese calligraphers. On it was the words Ordinary Heart (lit.), and that’s all I hope I could have. Whatever will be will be, and being worried won’t help much. Many problems need to be solved with certain tolerance and flexibility. It enables you to attain a different perspective on the matter. It’s not so easy to irritate me now, as I know how to be happy. I know when I’m happy, those around me will, too.
Screens captured from Golden Faith (TVB 2002)
R: Golden Faith is currently aired in Singapore. Both viewing rating and audience’s feedback have been highly positive. The public still prefers you in goodie role, it seems.
G: I was very nervous “being” Ivan, as he’s too good to be true. I kept asking myself whether someone like him was still walking the Earth. Sometimes while rehearsing for the next scene, I just felt totally helpless and didn’t know what to do. I even went to the director. A few times we almost argued. Really, there were details that I didn’t understand why they happened like they did, and not in any other ways. Before I fathomed what Ivan was thinking and feeling, I simply couldn’t act him out. Ivan was a difficult one. He had so many internal conflicts, and so did I (haha). I needed to “believe” him to “be” him. A while after the drama was done and I had more time to ponder, I suddenly realize – it actually is the way of life. Sometimes you have to protect yourself and those beloved to you, and you have to think over each and every word you ever about to use. The distance from individual to individual is getting further and further. Maybe that’s why I don’t really like to use emails or SMS. Why can’t we try to meet in person for a chat?
R : You don’t use emails and SMS?
G: I prefer not to use them. When you meet someone in person, the voice, the eye contact, the tone, everything helps me to “feel” the person. How could a PC transmit that? (Not to mention that) Many people abuse the internet to assume a different identity. I do use SMS when necessary, but try to limit myself since I don’t want to get into the habit.
R : You are old school.
G: I am, I think.
R: You still keep in touch with Jessica (Hsuan)?
G: Much less than before. We both are busy.
R: Leaving TVB means leaving your old life and friends, doesn’t it?
G: Many of my friends work backstage. We used to meet frequently. Since I left it’s been less but whenever I have a chance to come back to HK, I’d ask them to go out. The other reason is that my family has moved to Lantau Island last year. It’s more private and quiet there. Disneyland is opposite from my house, and in the future I can enjoy the nightly firework display.
R: For people like you, changing your life and habit must be hard.
G: I had to mentally prepare myself. Back to the time when Clare and I decided to move out (of my parents’), it was hard since I didn’t want to be away from my family. It was the same when I left TVB… I had slept over the thought for 4 years before reaching the decision. I needed to be sure what I was doing, and how it would affect not only me but also my family.
R: Your family, why?
G: Of course. Moving out means I’m on my own. There would be no guarantee for my family. If it’s not a viable path, it’ll be selfish (for me to choose).
R: Have you had to do anything against your wishes these two years?
G: No, it’s been rather a smooth sail.
R: Have you ever questioned your decision?
G: I’ve never regretted on the decisions I made. Life isn’t that scary as long as you don’t dramatize it.
I-weekly # 392, May 2005
Special thanks to Mouse for the magazine