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Added by shotswerefired on 24 Dec 2021 12:06

In Praise of Alex Man

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His personal king of television acting: "I think that honour goes to Alex Man. I loved watching him when I was young!"

His favourite performance of his is not Fong Gan Cheung (The Feud of Two Brothers) but that of Fourth Brother (Dynasty):

"Alex played Fourth Brother (Yongzheng) extremely well. I remember there was a scene where once he knew his pop Kangxi was going to pass the throne to Fourteenth Brother, he decided that he was going to poison him to death. At the time, Kangxi was very sick. Alex Man was at his bedside, fighting back his tears, while he was speaking to him and trying to force the poisoned wine into his mouth. Wow! The level of inner turmoil that he put on display was simply off the charts! After I finished watching that scene, I dashed off into the bathroom and practiced impersonating him."
Average listal rating (8 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 0

On his start as an actor:

“A lot of these roles didn’t even have dialogue,” said Gordon. “It was a frustrating situation for me. It was to the point where I had to find another part time job to do for a living. I once worked as a salesman selling parallel-imported shoes. I was also a water bar worker for a period of time.”

Gordon then earned a regular spot as a variety show host, catching the attention of a few TVB producers and directors. He believed that he had closer shot to success, but Gordon’s hopes were brutally shot down when a TVB executive called him a “yee da look”, a Cantonese expression meaning a person of inferior status.

“A director once recommended me to film this new program, but the executive said I was just a yee da look, so I was eventually dropped. I got very dispirited. I hugged my mother and cried. It really wasn’t fair—even after working hard for five years, even after receiving so many praises from seniors, it still didn’t mean that I would get more opportunities. After that incident, I decided to not do variety anymore.”

But Gordon found his way to the top, eventually becoming one of TVB’s top actors in the late nineties. Gordon said, “It’s all thanks to Alex Man (萬梓良). He really takes care of his juniors. He kept encouraging the directors to film me more and got the executives to notice me. That gave me the chance to get a leading role.”

"The first time I met Brother Man Ji was at a banquet. We became friends very fast after that night. I was working in the food industry during that time. There were hardly any jobs in acting for both tv and film. It was fortunate that I have my own business and managed to keep myself afloat through that."

"Whenever Alex was in Hong Kong, he would visit me at my restaurant and invite me to have dinner with him. He would also introduce me to various producers and people who worked in the film industry to help me build a network of connections."

"'Cast him. He's very good.' He would say to the producers."

"One time he brought me to Singapore for one of his shows and formally accepted me as his pupil in front of an audience. He bought me a bracelet as a memento."

"There was another time when he called the producer in the middle of the night. I told Alex not to disturb him from sleeping, but Alex said it’s okay as he knows him very well. Alex asked him to cast me. He was really concerned about my well being.”
Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0

Excerpts from her Hong Kong 1941 interview:

"When I started out in the acting business, Alex Man and Chow Yun Fat were already established names in the industry. So I didn't have to try hard to bond with them in order to make the onscreen chemistry between us work. They were very professional and we became immersed in our roles fairly quickly. Maybe it's because I was the girl in the movie and they needed to be doting towards me. I was treated very well and looked after by the two of them as if I were their sister.

"At the time I had a bit of pressure, because of their great reputation. But they were very friendly and gave me a feeling of security when working with them. I was very grateful for this opportunity. I also learned a lot from them. For example, Alex Man in the movie was a crass person, but was very courteous towards my character. Likewise, he was also very nice to me on set. Whenever there was something to eat, he would be the first to share. When work was finished, he would give me a lift home. During our free time, we would chat and build a rapport."

"In the movie, there was one scene that left a deep impression on me. It's the one where a firecracker was forced into his ear. I thought the acting there was marvelous. The fearfulness in his expression was spot on. Although I was part of the team, whenever I rewatch that scene, I was still very afraid the firecracker is going to explode despite knowing full well that it's fake."

Excerpts from Be My Guest interview with Stephen Chan (2009).

On the advantages of having a boyfriend who was a lot older than her:

"Fantastic! I thought it was awesome. I would describe him as my mentor, friend and father. Isn't that great? It's what I was craving for at the time. When the qualities are clear to see, the attraction becomes instantaneous."

"He was manly and chivalric. He writes poetry. Sometimes he would kneel on the street to express his feelings for you without caring what others might think which can be romantic."

"What I most admire about him was his acting. He was a good artist. That's what we normally talk about during our relationship. I was very young and had no idea what acting entails. He told me to read more often. Listen and do what is asked of you by the company. When I said he was my mentor and father, it's because nobody taught me anything, and my father was gone. At the time, I thought it was perfect."

"I am naturally very obstinate and disobedient. But because of his manliness, his older age, his worldliness, and his standing career-wise, was I able to become submissive towards him. When he tells me not to do something, I won't do it. Not everyone is capable of that."
shotswerefired's rating:
Average listal rating (0 ratings) 0 IMDB Rating 0

Big Fat in conversation with Mr Fong.

Big Fat: "Many people rave about his ability in acting. For me personally, I liked him during his earlier period at RTV (1977-1982)."

Mr Fong: "I'll reel them off for you: The Sword of the Third Master; Dragon Strikes; Enigma; Superstar; Dynasty I and II; Love's Runway; Tai Chi Master and so on."

Big Fat: *claps* "I enjoyed The Sword of the Third Master enormously. Because he knew how to play a bum. Everybody knows he was at the brothel, cleaning the hookers' feet and concealing his real identity, changing his name to Ah Gut. It was very faithful to the novel. It's only through watching Alex Man's The Sword of the Third Master did I begin to read the novels of Gu Long. There were Gu Long adaptations before it, but this one had a very deep impression on me, and persuaded me to give Gu Long another look."

Big Fat: "At first when he arrived at TVB, he wasn't faring very well, but he turned that around as you all know. I think it has a lot to do with his character. He went to The Hong Kong Baptist College (now a university), a top institution, featuring alumnis that went on to dominate the city's showbiz industry such as Lawrence Cheng, Man Jun, Chan Hing Ka etc. It was pretty impressive considering his past education at a rundown delinquent school and the shitty circumstances of being brought up by people who weren't his biological parents. The guy was made of sterner stuff. He brought this steely determination into his acting, where his standards are sky high."

Mr Fong: "I think he's the kind of person who is very strict with his work and likes to put in 120% effort to do something. To others, being on time, meeting the quota or the bare minimum is enough. So working with him will be tough. But wouldn't you agree that, without Alex Man, the product will be less entertaining?"

Mr Fong: "There's a scene in The Price of Growing Up (1987) where he was required to vomit because his character was drunk. Stephen Chow said that during filming, Alex was constantly devouring watermelons while drinking tea on the side. Alex said to him: 'Let me teach you something, to give a realistic impression of barfing, you need to consume foods of different hues until they end up being brown when mixed together.' Not even Kenneth Tsang nor Dodo Cheng was aware of what he was going to do in the scene, only Stephen Chow knew. When the time came and he barfed all over his suit, everybody on set was alarmed by it and really thought the vomiting was real. Only then do you realise how crazy this actor is, that even something as seemingly insignificant as barfing, had to be bang on in terms of accuracy."

Mr Fong: "During the filming of The Price of Growing Up, in a casual conversation, Stephen Chow went up to Dodo Cheng and asked her: 'Dodo, do you think I will ever be famous?' Dodo looked at Stephen and replied: 'Forgive me for saying this, but I don't think you'll ever be famous.' Alex heard her and retorted: 'Now, don't ever let anybody look down on you Stephen! You will be successful one day. Just work hard on your acting and you'll be fine.'"

Mr Fong: "Do you think Alex's style of acting takes away the glory of others? Not really. The supporting actors who've acted alongside him have shone too."

Big Fat: "It can be said that the demands he puts on himself is reverberated on others."

Mr Fong: "Right. People within his presence level up as a result."

Big Fat: "When you work with him, you're more serious. Not with him, looser."

Big Fat: "Imo, Alex Man is a great actor. However, he puts too much effort during his younger days. It can be overwrought. We understand now why he has bipolar. He thought of himself as Numero Uno in RTV. When he jumped ship to TVB, he had to start from the bottom again before climbing to the top. He wanted to improve himself even more, which meant more ridiculous targets to reach, eventually leading to his mental illness."
Average listal rating (130 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0

On the secret to Alex Man's realistic vomiting: "When I was working with him in The Price of Growing Up, Brother Man Ji treated me very well. He was always teaching me. One time he told me to buy 10 cans of beer and 10 pineapple buns. The scene needed him to be drunk, so when he finishes the dialogue, he would vomit. The vomiting is meant to accentuate the fact that he was intoxicated. More buns meant more in reserve in case the scene called for additional takes. After he had finished, he wanted me to buy a watermelon. I couldn't resist asking him the reason behind it. He said Kenneth Tsang's clothes were black, when I vomit out pieces of the watermelon, it would be red meets black. It's such details you have to think about."

"So what I got from him was the mentality of an actor which is to be fully immersed in the roles, to take risks and to proceed without hesitation."

In a 1993 interview with James Wong:

"I have been doing children's shows. Still, when I get home, I would study acting as a preemptive for when I'm cast in a part. When I finally get the part, I threw myself at the opportunity. But over time, I just realise how terrible I am and came to the conclusion that I have no talent. Forget it, acting's not for me. I sucked."

"Then I acted in a tv series called The Price of Growing Up. It was during that period I began collaborating with Mr. Alex Man for the first time. I'm not sure what lead to it, but after a few scenes with him, he told me: 'Hey, you're really talented!' That really hit the spot! 'Is it true?' I thought. Then again I'm not a girl so why would he try and flatter me? But thanks to him, I'm still working in this field."
shotswerefired's rating:

"Brother Man Ji's acting is definitely great. But there are others who say it's a little too intense, to the point where the veins start popping out of his neck. Of course, that's his own personal style."

"The good times Sing-ye (Stephen Chow) has now was mainly thanks to Brother Man Ji who has always been supportive of him. Every time he bumped into a new director, Brother Man Ji would ask them to take notice of Sing-jai. Give him some opportunities. From then on, many offers did open up for Sing-ye. That is why Brother Man Ji remains highly respected in Sing-ye's eyes."

Alex Man Chi-leung (萬梓良, born 25 July 1957 in Hong Kong) is a Hong Kong actor and businessman famous for his roles in late 80s/early 90s Heroic Bloodshed cinema and his successes as a TV actor for RTV and TVB. From the 1980s to the mid-1990s, most of the series that starred him were ratings champions. He also won the Taiwan Film Golden Horse Award for the "Best Actor" category in the 1988 film "Gangland Odyssey".

Known as a versatile actor with a wide range of performances, Alex had equal parts starring as both heroes and villains, and is one of the bigger names in Hong Kong gangster films.

His film idols were Ng Choh Fan (whom he portrayed in the 2010 film Bruce Lee, My Brother), Cheung Ying nicknamed "The Young Man with a Thousand Faces", and Hollywood great Marlon Brando.

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In Praise of... (19 lists)
list by shotswerefired
Published 5 years, 4 months ago

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