Wednesday February 13, 2013
Ronald Cheng keeps fees low for 'Hotel Deluxe'
By Yip Wai Yee
Ronald Cheng did not use his Golden Horse win to increase his fee for his latest movie.
Hong Kong actor Ronald Cheng did not take advantage of his Golden Horse Award win last year to increase his fee for his new movie, Hotel Deluxe.
Friendship and the Chinese New Year spirit mean more to him than money, says the 40-year-old, who was named Best Supporting Actor for his hilarious turn as a gangster chief in the crude sex comedy Vulgaria (2012).
“Of course I won’t ask for more money just because of an award. Besides, I wanted to do this movie because I want to help out my friend, director Vincent Kok. He asked me to join the movie, and I did without even thinking twice about it.
“This is a Chinese New Year movie, so I know that it’ll be fun and relaxing filming it. Plus, it’s about a hotel, and we get to film and stay in a real five-star hotel. I would say that I actually got the winning end of the deal here.”
In Hotel Deluxe, which is showing in cinemas nationwide, he plays a petty manager, one among a group of hotel staff who try to impress movie stars staying there. It was shot on location at the Intercontinental in Hangzhou, China, and also features Sandra Ng, Raymond Wong, Fiona Sit and Chapman To.
As much as Cheng enjoys jet-setting to new places to film, he says that these days, he is more inclined to stay put in Hong Kong.
“I want to see my family more often, so I think I’ll be taking on more Hong Kong-based projects in the coming years,” says Cheng, who is married to former TV news anchor Sammie Yu, 32. They have an 18-month-old daughter, Emma.
The son of a music company mogul in Hong Kong who once headed Polygram and EMI, he launched his show business career as a singer in 1996. His first single, Dilemma, a duet with Cantopop king Jacky Cheung, was an instant hit, and paved the way for him to release more than 15 albums.
In 2000, he tried his hand at acting and started appearing in bit parts in light-hearted films such as Dance Of A Dream (2001) and My Wife Is 18 (2002), before progressing to leading-man status in such works as Hidden Heroes (2004). Last year’s critical and commercial hit Vulgaria is a career highlight.
Now that he is a father, he reveals that he will ponder his movie offers more carefully.
“If the movie is too violent, I probably won’t want to take it on. I think maybe I should do some cartoons in the future so that my daughter can also watch them.”
The expletive-laden Vulgaria was an “exception” as it was rated Category III in Hong Kong, which means it was restricted to viewers 18 and over.
“It’s not publicly accessibly to all viewers, so that’s still all right,” he reasons. “It’s not like my daughter would be allowed to watch the movie anytime soon.”
If his daughter were to watch Hotel Deluxe in the near future, he would also have some explaining to do. In the movie, he plays a hotel manager with a disregard for morals, a man who goes to crazy extremes to kick out certain guests if he does not like them.
Although Cheng himself has never faced horrendous hotel service before, he says that director Kok has had a number of bad hotel experiences, which then formed the film.
He says: “The director told us a number of his stories where he came across some really weird hotel staff. He has also met some crazy housekeeping staff who were super obsessive about how clean the place should be, even when he was in the room.”
Cheng has his own quirks: He admits he himself can be a rather fussy hotel guest at times.
“If I had to go somewhere to film and stay at a hotel there for more than a month, I would definitely bring along my own pillow and my own blankets, even my own cup. It’s more homey that way.” – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network