We chat with TVB stars Benjamin Yuen and Eliza Sam at TVB Australia Carnival in Burwood Park, Sydney. As special guests at this annual event, TVB stars Benjamin Yuen and Eliza Sam speaks to our editor Johnny Au about their TVB careers so far and their impressions of Sydney. Benjamin talks about his award winning role as Mak Hang-cik in The Fixer and his latest drama A Fist Within Four Walls. Eliza chats about her favourite TVB roles and advice for the contestants of the Miss Australia Chinese Pageant 2016.
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Benjamin Yuen and Eliza Sam welcome to Australia!
Eliza Sam: Hello we’re so happy to be here
Benjamin Yuen: My pleasure to be here
Benjamin you are here for the TVB Australia Carnival. Are you excited to meet your Australian fans? What will you be doing at the carnival today?
Benjamin: Actually I’m very happy to meet the Australian fans. It’s the first time I’ve participated in such a large carnival because it’s such a large space here. Compared to Hong Kong which is small. So there’s not many opportunities for such a large crowd to ‘having fun’.
Eliza what about you? What’s your impressions of Sydney so far?
Eliza: Well I’ve been here once before to shoot a travel show but it was over so quick that I didn’t get to fully experience the city. So its just nice to be back and just see all the things again. We’re really excited to see alot of the sites in Sydney. Usually when we film, we film everything in Hong Kong so we feel the Hong Kong audience a lot. Its actually a really good opportunity for us to come overseas because usually we might see comments on our blogs or Instagram from fans around the world. So its finally going to be a day where we actually meet with them and interact with them so I’m really excited. We’ll be playing games and singing (on stage) so I’m really excited to see them.
Benjamin let’s talk about the TVB dramas you have been in. Last year you were in a drama called The Fixer (拆局專家) and you won awards for your character Mak Hang-cik (麥行直). What was it like to be nominated for the TVB Anniversary Awards?
Benjamin: Last year I won an award from Malaysia so I was happy about it. I felt like I was dreaming! When I was cast as this character I didn’t think I would win any awards, so I was nominated for an award and I attended the event. There was a special ceremony which was announced in Malay which I don’t understand. There were three nominees which they announced the winner in Malay which I don’t understand. So audience members sitting behind had to informed me that I was the winner. Then I realised it was real. It was an honour to go up to the stage and take the opportunity to thank a lot of people. It was really unforgettable.
Benjamin your last TVB drama was A Fist Within Four Walls (城寨英雄). I think it just finished airing! Talk to me about your character Duen Ying-fung (段迎風).
Benjamin: In A Fist Within Four Walls I actually played two characters. One is Duen Ying-fung and the other is his father Duen Tung-tin. The father is called Master Duen. So both characters is played by me and there is great difference between both characters. At the beginning of The Fixer Master Duen talks about the story…
Eliza: That was great!
Benjamin: The Master Duen character was very mature and he is very good in Kung Fu. In the 1950s the story develops to his son Deng Ying-fung and he is a dentist. It’s a type of character I’ve never played before. For one character I have to know Kung Fu and the other I’m a dentist.The costume I wore is was like a gentleman. It had taste. I had to wear a tie and glasses and had to wear a shirt. The character is similar to Mak Hang-cik from The Fixer, but Duen Ying-fung is not an easy character to perform. So most of the time I cannot over act and had to keep emotions inside. The main protagonist played by Ruon Chan is very different as he is more outgoing, more impulsive and straight forward, whereas Duen Ying-fung is more calm, introverted and he is more quite. It’s a type of character I’ve played before and it’s one of my classic roles.
Eliza let’s talk about your TVB career so far. What’s been your favourite character you have played so far? Is there a character you would like to play in the future?
Let’s see, my favourite character? It’s hard to choose just one! (laughs) I do like different aspects of a few of them. The first one I ever played was Hannah Heung (香乃馨) in Divas In Distress (巴不得媽媽) and that was one of the biggest challenges in my life. I had just moved to Hong Kong, I was doing a role in a language I barely knew how to speak. In Divas In Distress I went into a pig farm and got amongst the pig poo and pee, I had to roll down a mountain, I climbed train cars and had a car accident scene. So it was a really big challenge to play Hannah Heung but it was a great learning experience and it gave me the nickname I have today Princess Heung Heung. My latest drama’s is Inspector Gourmet but the one before it is My Dangerous Mafia Retirement Plan and its a very different role because I usually play very girly, more innocent and inexperienced at life kind of characters. And also they have just moved to Hong Kong from Canada or the US because I can’t speak Chinese that well (laughs). But in my role as Joyce Ho she more mature, she can carry her own, she can fight for other people and fight her own battles. She has a tougher background because of her parents. So when I played her opposite actors Kent Cheng, Tommy Wong and Kingdom Yuen it was really nice to learn from senior actors who have had so much success and experience. So I think my first role and my latest role are probably my favourite ones.
The Miss Australia Chinese Pageant for 2016 is coming up soon. What advice do you have for the 12 Aussie girls in the pageant?
I think the most important thing is to have fun. In an atmosphere where its a competition such as a beauty pageant its really easy to get caught up in comparing and that type of nervousness. The most important thing is to enjoy the whole process, do your best and no matter what the result is as long as you know you have put in your best then you will have a good result.
Benjamin and Eliza thank you very much for the chat and enjoy the rest of your visit to Sydney.
Benjamin and Eliza: Thank you.