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Monday, March 27, 2006

At 37, Benny Chan Speaks About His Career

At 37, Benny Chan Ho Man admits that fate has dealt him a good hand in life. Although Benny did not achieve great success as leading man in TVB in the past, he went to China to film dramas and was immensely successful.

Returning to TVB last year after a 4 year absence, his new series has gained good ratings, breaking TVB's ratings slump for the last 2 months.

"I always had luck on my side, even during difficult situations. For example, I started out my career as a singer. But my music company went bankrupt. I was lucky to receive an offer to film a Vitasoy milk commercial. Afterwards, TVB producer Lee Tim Sing asked me to try out for 'Semi-Gods and Semi-Devils.' I have been filming non-stop ever since. So when I come across difficulties, I will not become too upset by the problems. Perhaps there is a better opportunity for me elsewhere!"

In the past, TVB had "demoted"
Benny into supporting actor status. Benny said, "During 'Vigilante Force,' Bowie Lam and Joe Ma Tak Chung were the first leads and I was only a supporting actor. At the time, I was unhappy and didn't feel that TVB valued me anymore."

"A production company from mainland China contacted me. I was popular with audiences in China because of 'Semi-Gods and Semi-Devils' and 'Gods of Honor.' I wanted to capitalize on this popularity and hope to make more earnings. Since I was no longer playing first lead at TVB, I wanted to try new opportunities in mainland. As I was already in my 30's, I wanted to take my career to a higher level."

First Barrel of Gold
Benny said, "I remember when I was speaking with a Taiwanese production company one day, they put a large pile of cash before me. There was a total of $300,000 (HKD) in down payment that they gave me. I still remember vividly that scene. I was looking at my first 'barrel of gold' in life and my eyes were glowing. The next day, I went to deposit the money in a bank. I was very nervous that someone might steal the money, so I kept looking in all directions!"

"Actually the market in mainland China is quite exclusive. It is not that easy for anyone to be able to make good money there. You have to see if audiences there like you or not and whether you have the right contacts. The actors who are quite popular in mainland include Gallen Lo Ka Leung, Dicky Chueng Wai Kin, Ada Cho Siu Fun and myself."

Benny actually planned his return to TVB. "When I left TVB, I planned that after 3-4 years, I have to come back to Hong Kong to film some series to maintain my popularity level in Hong Kong. Otherwise, if the lapse is too long, I might have to act as 3rd or 4th lead upon my return."

Suddenly Confident in Acting
Benny left TVB, he finally realized what acting is about. "In the past, I had to rely on eye drops in order to do crying scenes. But one day suddenly, I was able to cry real tears in one of my filming scenes. In the past, when I received script dialogues that were long and difficult, I would always become anxious and my hands would become sweaty. I would not be able to relax during filming and unable to act naturally."

"After I was able to cry real tears during filming in China, I realized how to immerse in my characters. My confidence increased as a result. Perhaps in the past, my opportunities came too easily. That's why I thought that if you had luck on your side, you don't have to try as hard. While filming, I didn't spend time on focusing how I can improve as an actor. It is natural for others to demote me to supporting actor roles as a result. Although I am still as supporting actor in 'A Pillowcase of Mystery,' but my mentality now is very different than 4 years ago when I left TVB. They gave me a new opportunity to come back and film again."

On His Rumors with Charmaine Sheh
Benny has been absent from Hong Kong for the last few years, there has been frequent dating rumors with Charmaine Sheh. As a result, Benny's name has remained in many people's minds. Benny and Charmaine have been spotted many times going out together. But even till this day, Benny still insists that Charmaine is only a "good friend."

"Among all my female friends, Charmaine is the most compatible with me. She is very understanding. Without my saying first, she has already performed the task. This is her best quality. Our standard response to the media is that we are 'good friends only.'"

Although Benny is 37, he is not ready to settle down yet. "I often have to travel during filming. So I do not want any additional worries. Once you get married and have a wife and children, and you can't return home to see them due to work travel commitments, it will affect your work performance. That's why I do not want to start a family so soon."

[X] credit: Jayne @
The Sun


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