31 Oct – Two-time TVB Anniversary Awards Best Actor Wayne Lai has arrived in Penang, the "Pearl Of The Orient" recently to begin shooting for Bryan Gao's new local film "The Beggar Hero" on Monday.
As the male lead of the Cantonese film, Lai will play a "talented" beggar named Chan Tai Lik, who has ambitious dreams but is restricted by his daily activity, which is begging for money on the street.
"I'm playing a beggar who has dreams. He wants to turn over a new leaf so bad. We have designed different beggar costumes for different plots of the movie. At the end of the movie, we are trying to convey an important message to the audience, which is as long as you have dreams and determination in your life, nothing is impossible," Lai revealed.
The 48-year-old veteran who gained fame for his portrayal of Chai Kau in "Rosy Business", one of most famous TVB period drama ever made and Lau Sing in 2010's "No Regrets", which made him the second actor to win the Best Actor award at the prestigious TVB Anniversary Awards for two consecutive years after Gallen Lo, claimed that playing a beggar was much challenging than he thought.
"To me, every character is tough to portray including playing a beggar. I've never begged on the street. It is very challenging for me to understand these people psychologically. So as an actor, I will study more on the scripts and rely on my imagination," said Lai, who spend his first day filming with co-star and local Hakka singer Zhang Shao Lin in a clinic located at the Lorong Selamat in Georgetown.
He also said, "There's a huge difference between what we are doing on the silver screen and what we experience in reality. I'm not going to be more realistic with my character as I realize that too much realism won't work for the film's storytelling. I'll seek advice from the director and producers to perform better." The "Journey To The West" actor had also been embracing the local food.
"I told the producers that I can't stay here in Penang for too long. I will surely gain weight just because of the variety of delicious food choices. I love the Hokkien mee and seafood," said Lai.
Director Gao and his team have confirmed that they will be touring around Penang to film "The Beggar Hero" at 60 different sets in 25 days and they were expected to shut down 19 streets for production purposes. 80 per cent of the shooting will be conducted outdoors.
"This place has its own unique culture and background. Most of the scenes will be shot in small and narrow streets, so I think Penang is a setting that suits the storyline. Besides, our producers and sponsors are based here. They are hoping to see their first movie to be filmed in this beautiful state," said Gao.
The director added, "I hope the residents can bear with us and thus support us during the filming."
"The Beggar Hero" also stars Singaporean comedian Henry Thia and "Nasi Lemak 2.0" female lead Karen Kong, and is expected to be released in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and China next year.