Oriental Daily interview with Michael Tao and Kathy Chow: Kathy ‘unties’ the knot in Michael’s heart, leave the ‘kissing’ up to fate
Starting in 1999, Michael Tao (陶大宇) and Kathy Chow (周海媚) collaborated on 3 series while they were at ATV – in those 3 series, the two of them got the chance to play lovers, mother and son, master and servant. These collaborations left a lasting impression on Michael, who playfully expressed that at one point, Kathy kept ‘popping up’ in many of his scenes and almost made him ‘go crazy’. Michael expressed that back in the day, Kathy had to resign from one of the series due to illness, which resulted in Michael having to do a kiss scene with a stunt double instead of with Kathy herself –he had to ‘hypnotize’ himself to pretend that the stunt double was Kathy. When Kathy found out about Michael’s ‘grievance’, she laughingly told him: “Ok, I owe you a kiss scene then – I’ll pay it back to you later!”
MT = Michael Tao
KC = Kathy Chow
KC: Michael, after we collaborated on the 3 series Flaming Brothers《縱橫四海》, To Where He Belongs《縱橫天下》, and Showbiz Tycoon《影 城大亨》[at ATV], we did not get the chance to collaborate any more. Afterwards, I shifted my career to Beijing [Mainland China] and in 2008, I attended your birthday party in Shanghai — we also bumped into each other 2 more times later on during a commercial event. We may not see each other often, but sitting down to chat with you today, the feeling you give me is that you haven’t changed one bit!
MT: That time when I was filming in Shanghai, you just happened to be in the area – thank you for stopping by and giving me birthday greetings. However, it seems that we still somehow lack a bit of affinity – even though we filmed 3 series together, our ‘relationship’ is a bit confusing…in fact, you actually caused me to ‘go crazy’!
KC: Huh…that serious?
MT: Back when we were filming Flaming Brothers, you had to quit after already filming half the series because you became ill, leaving your stunt double to finish filming our scenes with me. The storyline was about me madly pursuing you and there was a lot of deeply emotional dialogue [involved in those scenes], but your stunt double had no clue what was going on and she also had no acting experience, so for all the ‘romance’ scenes, I essentially had to act with myself! The funniest part was when I had to tell your stunt double ‘I love you’ and she responded with ‘1-2-3-4-5’…hahaha! The worst was that I originally had the opportunity to do kiss scenes with you, but in the end, I had to keep convincing myself in my mind that a stunt double was you – now you understand why I ‘went crazy’?
Does not have SLC illness
KC: That time I was not feeling well, but it wasn’t SLC (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) as rumored – from birth, I’ve always had a low blood platelet count in my body, so whenever I bump into anything, I bruise very easily. In fact, I recently hit my head accidentally and the bruise took a long time to heal – luckily I didn’t have to work at the time. Listening to you speak just now, it sounds like I owe you a kiss scene then…haha!
MT: Well, not really. When you were sick back then, all of us were very worried about you. Later on, when we got the chance to collaborate on To Where He Belongs together, I thought we would finally get the chance to pick up where we left off previously – to my surprise though, this time around, you played my mother in the series! When I saw your ‘old lady’ look in the dressing room, I was so scared – I remember I asked you with a shocked expression on my face: ‘What are you doing?’ At the time, I really could not accept it!
KC: Hahahaha! I feel that Wong Jing (王晶) [the series’ scriptwriter]was trying to play a joke on you!
MT: Then when we did Showbiz Tycoon, I was hopeful once again, since I would be playing the boss of a movie production company so it would make sense that I’d have the opportunity to ‘get close’ with the female artists who work for me. But the way my character was written, I played a boss with high standing who only has an attitude of ‘mentoring the next generation’ towards his female artists – it was almost like I was your ‘father’ in a sense, so of course no opportunity for kiss scenes!
Very brave to play ‘mother’ role
KC: My character admired you a lot, but you never had romantic feelings toward me – at most, our relationship was just a little bit ‘ambiguous’. No wonder you said that you felt like going crazy! However, I believe we will have the opportunity to collaborate again in the future. On July 1st, I signed with a new management company [SMI Corporation] and there will be a lot of new developments coming up, so we can talk more at that time – I should definitely have the chance to repay you [the kiss scene]!
MT: I admire you a lot for taking on the ‘mother’ role in To Where He Belongs, as most female artists wouldn’t take such a risk playing that type of role. I remember you telling me at the time that you purposefully took that role because you wanted to challenge yourself – I feel that you’re very brave!
KC: I took the role because I felt the character was very well-written. I was paired with Damien [Lau] (劉松仁) and a lot of the storyline was told via flashback scenes – the script was also very attractive: my character loses her memory and regresses back to having the personality of a little kid. I really wanted to challenge myself with this type of character, so I didn’t mind taking it on. I remember at the time, I would stare at a picture of my mom and constantly think about how to make myself look old.
Dated for 10 years, relationship with boyfriend similar to a ‘married couple’
MT: You really don’t have to worry about looking old, as you’ve taken care of yourself well over the years. I even heard that you’re currently dating someone?
KC: I’ve actually been dating for 10 years already. My boyfriend is 10 years younger than me – he’s an architect whom I met through a friend. In the beginning, my boyfriend was really opposed to me being in the entertainment industry – to be honest, during the first 2 -3 years that we dated, I declined a lot of job offers…true, making money is important, but I can’t let that be the only focus in my life – I don’t want to push myself too hard. In terms of getting married – my boyfriend actually already proposed to me the first few years we started dating, but I’m really not in a hurry, as I don’t want to completely give up my acting career right now. Our relationship is very steady right now and it’s no different than that of a married couple – the only thing missing is the marriage contract. I’m pretty much letting things happen at will – if later on I suddenly feel like getting married, then I’ll do it, but it will definitely be low profile…no need to have a huge ceremony because I’ve filmed way too many wedding scenes in my career and pretty much have already worn every type of wedding dress imaginable.
No problem walking out in the street with no makeup
MT: Since Beijing is already your ‘new home’, what brought you back to Hong Kong this time?
KC: Earlier I did the movie The Yang Female Warriors《楊 門女將》and the filming process was extremely exhaustive: we had to film in Inner Mongolia, where the weather was 30 degrees below zero and since there were a lot of fight scenes, we were pulled on wires a lot – I even got hit with a sword accidentally and it caused my leg to be swollen for a long time! I don’t know how I lasted through it, but now that it’s over, I really need to rest – I’ve pretty much been working for more than 2 years straight without much rest, so with the opportunity to take a break right now, I figured I’d come back to HK to visit relatives. The lifestyle in HK versus Beijing is very different – when I’m in HK, I usually go around shopping or running errands very leisurely. Reporters have snapped pictures of me taking the subway, eating ice cream, shopping, etc., but I don’t mind – they can take pictures all they want! Usually when I go out, I don’t like to put on makeup – I don’t see anything wrong with that, as long as I’m not affecting others. Sometimes, I even stand around the street corners eating fish balls from the local street vendors!
MT: I really admire your ‘not bothering with trifles’ personality! No wonder you’ve been able to keep yourself looking so young!
KC: Actually, my face just ‘looks’ cool – those who know me would laugh at me and those who don’t would probably be scared to death! Doing makeup and hair is a clumsy experience for me —the ladies who do my hair at work all dread doing it because each time, there are hair clips and combs all over the place. Sometimes, if we’re filming on location somewhere and I’m asked to touch up on my makeup, I usually tell the crew not to bother, as it looks fine the way it is!
MT: I feel that every artist has a certain temperament about them – your temperament is a result of your self-confidence!
Over the course of doing the 4 interviews with his friends, Michael Tao’s biggest concern was making sure that the needs of his guests were taken care of. With Kenix Kwok, he wanted to make sure that the interview didn’t interfere with her daughter’s exams [for getting into school]; with Bobby AuYeung and Felix Lok, he was concerned about whether the accessories he chose for them to wear were equally balanced; with Wayne Lai, he was concerned whether drinking wine during the interview would affect his ability to drive and wanted to make sure he got home safely; and with Kathy Chow, when he found out she still had bruises on her head from accidentally hitting it, he was concerned about her feelings doing a photo shoot for the interview, so he delayed the interview until her injury was healed. With the careful attention that he gives to his friends, no wonder all his buddies have nothing but praise for him and when he invited them for these interviews, they agreed readily!