For those of us who have kept an eye on the massive hit Chinese television series Story of Yanxi Palace, actor Lawrence Wong’s boyish smile and effortless charm in the role of Hai Lan Cha have made a deep impression on our hearts.
We spoke to him about his experiences while filming the show, his forthcoming projects, as well as some other important things – such as what superpower he would choose to have if he could and what he would do if he found a penguin in his freezer.
Why did you decide to go into acting?
It was a natural progression for me because I started doing modelling, television and print ads after I graduated, and I was sort of lost; I did that for a few years. One day, the wife of a producer on one of the commercials I did called me up to go for an audition for a movie, and I went and got the lead role. As they say, “the rest is history”.
What was your favourite part about filming ‘Story of Yanxi Palace’ and what were the challenges?
Story of Yanxi Palace is my first period drama, and that in itself is a challenge for me because the lines were extremely difficult; it’s different from the everyday kind of dialogue we do in modern dramas, so I needed to put in a lot more effort in remembering lines, understanding what the lines meant and how to read certain words that I’ve never seen before in my life.
Of course the weather was really difficult for me as well, because we were wearing so many layers of clothes and costumes and, as you were trying to get into your role and remembering your lines, your sweat and perspiration just kept dripping down, so that was kind of distracting as well.
However, it was a very good experience and I think I’m going to [do well] in my second period drama.
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A post shared by Lawrence Wong 王冠逸 (@ohohlawrence) on Sep 19, 2018 at 7:31pm PDT
Besides your own, who is your favourite ‘Story of Yanxi Palace’ character and why?
I think one of the main reasons that Story of Yanxi Palace was such a big hit is because there are so many characters inside the story that people just love to hate, and love to love.
The empress, even the emperor, is different that the usual emperor that you would see in other Qing dynasty dramas.
Ming Yu’s character would be extremely good to play as well, and Xian Fei’s character is good as well. It’s hard to pick just one!
If I had to choose, I would like to get my teeth into the role of the emperor, because I’ve heard that it’s an extremely good blessing to be able to play an emperor, so I would love to see how I would do in that part.
What are some of your forthcoming projects?
The first drama that I shot when I first came to China was a remake of a hit TVB classic Love and Passion. That one is coming out very soon, so you guys will be able to watch it very soon.
I have another show called One Boat One World, which is coming out at the end of the year or, at the latest, early next year. I’m looking forward to that as well, because it’s a genre that is very interesting.
It’s about two Asians, me and another actor called Hans Zhang: how two Asians rise up to the rank of captain in a cruise ship company, in an environment where it’s predominantly Caucasians.
It’s going to be an interesting story plot, so look forward to that.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
If I can have any superpower, I think I want to have the ability of space travelling. The fact that I can move from one place to another with the snap of my finger.
I think for someone like me who spends a lot of time on a plane, that superpower could be a huge time saver.
Would you rather never watch television/films again, or never have access to social media ever again?
I would have to say social media because, as much as I think social media is good fun, and currently it’s a huge part of my career, I do think that we can be a bit too occupied with social media sometimes, which can be unhealthy.
I do miss the good old times where you could get all the education, entertainment and information from just the TV and movies, which makes it extra special.
But now you can get all these things from everywhere around the world through just your hand phone, using various forms of social media, and that can take the magic away.
What would you do if you found a penguin in the freezer?
Oh gosh, this is a weird question. First of all, I would defrost it and I would check if it’s still alive, then call a vet, and definitely keep it as a pet after.
Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?
I would rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, because they’re smaller and easier to deal with, even though there’s 100 of them.
What is one item in your wardrobe that you can’t live without?
I would say white T-shirts. In fact, I have a lot of white T-shirts in various cuttings [styles] and various materials because I think it’s a huge staple in everyone’s closets. You can pair it with anything, and it looks casual and good.
You’ve been interviewed so many times, so what’s the one question you wish someone would have asked you, but never did?
Do you want to go and grab a cup of coffee? I mean, I would love for all my interviews to be more casual, to be over a cup of coffee, and to just relax things up!