Mining Magnate, NTV7, a Mandarin TV drama.
This week, I shot a couple of episodes of Mining Magnate for Mediacorp, for NTV7. This is a Mandarin (with English), TV drama about, as you might guess, a mining magnate and family. It is one of those very complex family dramas filled with intricate relationships and much in the way of tension between people. It is expected to begin showing in December 2012. I appear in episodes 9 and 12, which will be out, most probably in February 2013.
I played the role of Mr. Robinson. He is a British man involved in business dealings in Malaysia. He is not the nicest of guys and holds certain chauvinistic attitudes more common, perhaps, in the 1960s, in which my scenes are set. He is also not beyond taking bribes and being otherwise less than straightforward in his dealings. He was disagreeable, but fun to play nevertheless.
The shoot was one of the most complex I have ever been on - in fact, the main scene had the most different shots that I have ever been in. It was a scene of many characters. Each character was at least a supporting role. So, each character ended up getting their own close up. When this was added to all the wide shots, shots at odd angles and so on, the total was an incredible number of shots for each aspect of the scene. Given that it was also quite a long scene, with much conversation, it took much longer than any comparable length of scene, I have ever shot in my life.
I can see why the director did this, though. He wants to create an intimacy with the reactions and feelings of each character, with the audience. Each of us was shown in detail. Our every little response was captured. As a result, I think the scene will have a great deal of intensity, when it is finally cut together.
I enjoyed the shoot, but found it very demanding. I cannot recall another scene in my acting life that required so many different shots of the same lines. It was instructive, however. I think I learnt a new level of appreciation for the technical possibilities of a dramatic, conversational scene.
The Director, Ken Ng, told me afterwards how much he enjoyed my work. "Your acting is really good.", he said. To others, he called me "the best". He also went on to say that he wished he had known me earlier because he had finished an English language film with a Hollywood star only last year - and remarked: "You should have done that film!". It was clear he meant for me to have taken the Hollywood star's role. That was a high compliment indeed.
He promised to work with me again. I hope we do. It was a good experience.
When Mining Magnate comes out on NTV7, please let me know what you make of my work in episodes 9 and 12, by commenting below.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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