Going to school on just a few hours of sleep is tough enough – so imagine what going to work is like for actor Owen Cheung, who often goes for weeks without much sleep. Cheung, 30, is a Hong Kong actor that graduated from TVB’s acting class in 2011. He has recently finished starring in TVB drama series Legal Mavericks alongside follow actor Vincent Wong Ho-shun.
“‘Just hold on until filming is finished!’ That’s what I told myself,” Cheung laughed as recalled the lack of sleep he suffered. “Vincent and I supported each other through it – we told each other to stay strong. It’s all about perseverance.”
His role as a private detective in the drama called for a lot of running about, and a lot of lines. The finale aired on September 15, and the show has been a success both in Hong Kong and on the mainland, where it attracted more than 100 million views.
Young Post caught up with Cheung after the last episode aired to hear about the actor’s experience filming the show, and the rise of his career.
“Before I entered show business, I preferred singing over acting,” Cheung said. After graduating the company’s acting class, Cheung signed a contract with TVB in 2011 – but for the first two years of his contract, was given very minor roles.
In 2013, Cheung landed a contestant spot on The Voice of the Stars,a televised singing competition,where he began to gain attention. Despite not winning the show, he credits it for giving him the exposure he needed to be given bigger roles.
A month after he appeared on The Voice of the Stars, Cheung wowed Hongkongers with his acting in his supporting role in TVB drama Karma Rider.
“I like to act more than I like to sing now,” he laughed.
Cheung went on to explain he felt this way because of how much he has to push himself as an actor. “I’ll get a role sometimes that’s the complete opposite of who I am as a person, or how I’m feeling at the time – like having to play someone really happy, even if I don’t feel happy that day. If I do it well, I feel good about myself,” he said.
His singing and acting skills aren’t the only things that have propelled him into the spotlight though – Cheung bears a striking resemblance to Cheung Chi-lam, better known by his stage name Chilam, a very well-known Hong Kong singer and actor.
Cheung put their likeliness to good use in 2014 on entertainment show Walk The Walk, Talk The Talk, where he impersonated Chilam, 46, as his famously “cool” pilot character from Triumph in the Skies II. He looked so like the older actor that people still talk about their similarity now.
“I’m pretty happy when people say I look like him because he’s so handsome,” Cheung laughed.
HK teenage singing sensation Feanna Wong on her audition for "She Remembers, He Forgets", and balancing school and singing
“But I want to be myself. It took a long time to set myself apart from Chilam, and even now, some people still say the only thing I can do is to imitate him,” he said.
That might be changing now, thanks to his role in Legal Mavericks.
“Thanks to my role as Gogo Kuk, people no longer see me as Chilam – they see Owen Cheung. Though, sometimes when my hair is a bit flat or my skin is a bit pale, people see me as Chilam again. That’s why I style my hair!”
So what’s next for Cheung, now that he’s making a name for himself as his own person and not as a Chilam-lookalike? Certainly not resting – the actor is currently filming a drama called Flying Tigers, and will start shooting for another TVB drama next month in a starring role. Good luck Cheung – and get some sleep when you can!
Edited by Ginny Wong