MediaCorp star Chen Hanwei denies 'sucks' slam
BY CHEW WAN YING
MediaCorp actor Chen Hanwei caused a ruckus this week when he allegedly told Singaporean reporters that the script for The Enchanted, a Chinese TV serial made by a Malaysian and a Singaporean production house, "sucks" and apparently complained about the constant changes.
Well, according to a Malaysian director and another scriptwriter who have worked on local Chinese TV shows, while it's normal for revisions to be made during filming, something is horribly wrong when over three-quarters of a script gets edited, which was the criticism levelled by Hanwei at The Enchanted.
"It's rare that 80% of a script is getting changed during a shoot,” said Dannis Chow, the director of Glowing Embers, Footprints In The Sand and Laws Of Attraction. "That's not a good sign. The script is the most important part of a drama series."
Minor edits are only made on the spot when necessary, said Chow, "Like when there are difficulties in finding the right location, or when it rains and the scene is supposed to take place on a sunny day."
"Time is money," he added, pointing out that it's the job of the producer, the director or the scriptwriter, not the actors, to amend a screenplay.
Meanwhile, a scriptwriter source told Daily Chilli, "The script should be ready and approved by the director and producer during pre-production. If someone's unhappy with it to the extent of changing 80% of it, they should bring it up at the beginning, or consider if they're the right person for the job."
Speaking to DC on the condition on anonymity, he added, "I've collaborated with MediaCorp. They're professionals. They have strict requirements for scripts."
But though unusual, situations like that reportedly brought up by Hanwei do happen, he said. "Sometimes, a small production company comes up with a half-ready script, and the cast and crew have to work on it on the spot."
He added that there might have been a communication breakdown between the creators, which can happen even between regular collaborators. "In my opinion, he was being fair in his judgment. Maybe local producers should take it positively and try to improve the quality of their productions," he said.
Hanwei, 42, is a Malaysian-born actor and one of Singapore's biggest TV stars, and a four-time Best Actor winner at the Star Awards, one of Singapore's most prestigious entertainment accolades.
He was speaking to Singaporean reporters when he grumbled that it was hard to play his part in The Enchanted as the script was being churned out and rewritten everyday by the director and actors on the set. His statement was soon one of the hot trending topics on the Internet.
However, MediaCorp Regional Productions VP Yeo Saik Pin, who produced the hits Metamorphosis and The Champion, quickly came out to defuse the situation and do some damage control, saying it was nothing more than a misunderstanding between Hanwei and the reporters.
"Hanwei texted me and said that what came out in the report was not what he meant," said Yeo, adding that he understood that changes have to be made during a shoot sometimes and that Hanwei was misquoted as saying that Malaysian TV scripts "sucks".
Published: 25th July 2012