Sheren Tang, (Dang Tuy Van) is one of the best actresses from Hong Kong. The legendary actress has so many iconic roles and won multi awards for many decades of her acting career. We are honored to have a heart to heart with the legendary about her acting life to celebrate the 13th anniversary with the Iconic issue.
Herworld Vietnam: Hello Sheren 您好!Sheren! For Vietnamese people that fell in love with Mr Gum Yoong’s movies for many decades and one of his famous masterpieces that the TVB Hong Kong, “The New Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre.” In this story show, there was one of the main characters that you have played as “Chow Chi-yeuk” very successful that made you became one of the biggest names in Hong Kong and Asia, and especially in Vietnam. Would you please let us know was that Chow Chi-yeuk character is one of your successfully roles beginning of your acting career in the early of TVB Hong Kong?
Sheren Tang: Frankly speaking, when the drama was first on, and I was at Hongkong and did not feel anything special about the role “Chow Chi-yeuk”, not to mention thinking that the role would make my acting career getting better. The reason for this is possibly that when I first started my acting career, I was lucky enough to had had an opportunity as the leading actress to participate a TVB drama called “Legend Of The General Who Never Was”, which was one of the highly rated serial with a strong casting team. So, I felt pressure at the time when shooting “The New Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre”. On the one hand, Angie Chiu had previously created a perfect “Chow Chi-yeuk” that was hard to be surpassed; on the other hand, I was not confident with my acting skill, being worried about not able to play such challenging role with a very complicated charater well. During the time of the shooting, I was very much not satisfied with my performance and was self-doubted very often. When performing this role, instead of demonising her, I was basically trying to show her as a person, from human nature, who would be easily accepted and understood by the audience for the change of her hatred of Cheung Mo-kei because of unrequited love.
Herworld Vietnam: Your acting career was very successful when you were still very young age that you became one of the queens of TVB during the Chow Chi-yeuk time. With Chow Chi-yeuk character that you became the love and hate with Cheung Mo-kie character that played by Tony Leung. What was your most memorable experience while playing that character? Face to face with the dreamy eyes of Tony Leung, did you ever let your heart down?
Sheren Tang: It was a huge challenge to me as I had the opportunity to play a role as complex as Chow Chi-yeuk when I was very young. At the time, I had had such limited experience in my own life. So, during the shooting, my attention was drawn more on how to do my best in acting the character role and how to rationalize the change of her feeling to Cheung Mo-kei, whom Tony Leung played the part of. And, I think Mr. Leung thought the same as I did, focusing on how to better present the character to the audience instead of thinking about something else.
As an actor, his / her emotions in the eyes will become richer as he / she builds more life experience. But, to Mr. Leung and me then, it was pretty much the simplicity of young actors in our eyes.
Herworld Vietnam: During 1996, you came back with another successful TV show “I Have a Date With Spring” that you played the sweet character, “Butterfly Yiu” got so many compliment in Vietnam and in Asia. Would you share with us any special memory during filming that TV show?
Sheren Tang: Even though I began my acting career as leading actress, it was not until “I have a date with spring” in which I had the opportunity to play a strong woman. After joining Asia Television (or “ATV”), the first drama that I played was “I have a date with spring”, giving me the opportunity to play strong woman. It was hard but interesting to creat the role of Yiu Siu Dip in this serial. The age span of the character role ranged from 16- to 40-year-old; in addition, there were lots of singing and dancing. As far as I could remember, Yiu Siu Dip might be considered the most hardest character role that I have ever performed, both mentally and physically. But, I was really happy and enjoyed the process of creating the character. Above all, I did not have to think about losing weight during the shooting and ate happily every day, as the 16-year-old Yiu Siu Dip was supposed to have a little baby fat, lol…
Herworld Vietnam: 2004, the people went crazy in love with Sheren Tang again with your character as Imperial Consort Yu of the TV show “War and Beauty” This character have placed you to become one of the biggest actresses in Hong Kong and Asia. Would you tell us how that character have changed your acting career?
Sheren Tang: Imperial Consort Yu Yue was the first role that I played in a show that was set in the Forbidden city, Qing dynasty China. Originally, I did not understand why the crew came to me for the role, since I do not have a strong personality myself. But, with more communication with the director and producer, I started to have a more comprehensive understanding of the word “strong”. That is to say, “being strong” does not necessarily mean “being tough in appearance”, and it might be the choice that a woman has to make for surviving in the context of the ancient court. For displaying her authoritative presence instead of tough presence, we put a lot of work into the style of the role. For example, I suggested the eyebrows of new moon style that indicated the feminine aspect of the role, making Yu Yue looking less strong in appearance. But most importantly, the overall look of the character was designed so well that I had the feeling that I was Yu Yue and Yu Yue was me when I looked in the mirror at the time of the cast photo shooting. And I felt like a different person, with Yu Yue’s headwear and costume put on me.
Actually, I was at the bottom of my life before and during the shooting of “War and Beauty”. Finally being able to get out of it, except the opportunity of “War and Beauty” given to me, I would also like to thank myself for the persistence of performing art and my religion, which gave me strength to move on during the tough period. As an old Chinese saying goes, “misfortune may be an actual blessing”. Life is like a box of chocolates that you will never know what you are going to get. I truly understood this feeling after “War and Beauty” was aired. So, to some extent, I could find resonance in the character role of Yu Yue, to see myself as objectively as she did and to learn to take control of my own life.
Herworld Vietnam: 2009 and 2010 were your 2 big years ever that you won so many big awards of 2 most very popular TV shows in Hong Kong and Asia were “Rosy Business”and “No Regrets” and during that period time in Vietnam, the people gave you the title the “The Best Acting Queen of TVB” Did you think those 2 TV shows were your biggest win ever of your acting career? And did you sacrifice of the turnout?
Sheren Tang: I don’t think I sacrificed for the success of the serials; on the contrary, I was really happy to play a part in both of them, which were produced by the TVB golden producer Mr. Lee Tim-sing. As Mr. Lee is famously known for his works of foregrounding of strong men, I hadn’t had any opportunity to work with him. But, I was so lucky to play in a part in “Rosy Business”and “No Regrets” and and so happy to work with both Mr. Lee and my fellow-actor in the show Lai Yiu-cheung. The shooting progress was considered at the very beginning of the script writing. So, the overall arrangement of the shooting was comparatively reasonable. But to me, I would work on the scripts whenever I had time, for being able to provide the best show and character role to the audience. So, we often went home around four o’clock in the morning during the shooting, and I would continuously work on the scripts and rehearse my lines after getting home till eight o’clock in the morning. And I would normally wake up at noon and get to the shooting site around 2 o’clock in the afternoon for make-up purpose, and then started shooting two hours later.
Herworld Vietnam: What was your childhood like and what was the reason that brought you to the acting career?
Sheren Tang: My parents separated when I was very little, and I was raised up by my grandparents. I felt I was like left-behind child at the time, so I was never really happy. My grandparents liked watching TV serials then, and I watched with them and barely watched any cartoon. Therefore, I kinda got to understand the grown-up world at a young age. And when I watched TV serials, I got into the character role very easily if I liked the role, and lived the part. Now thinking about it, that was my way of escaping from reality. When I was a teenage girl, I thought I could build a family of my own if I had money, and I also thought that getting into the show business to be a star would make money quickly. But, things did not turn out as I expected after I got into the business. However, I am grateful to have the
opportunities to act in many good works, to work with many great teams, and to be accepted by the audience.
Herworld Vietnam: Name a few actresses that you considered as some good friends of yours.
Sheren Tang: As a matter of fact, I have barely had any friends in the business, and I like keeping to myself, especially over the past decade. Jacqueline Law was a closed friend of mine in the show business. We were both sisters of the Christian Church and shared a similar life experience. So, I understood her very well, and we could honestly share the ups and downs, and our joys and sorrows. We both looked very smart, but were actually quite simple. Unfortunately, she passed away already. And the last TV serial that she acted in was “La Femme Desperado”, in which we played besties.
In recent years, I have had one more closed friend in the show business, Kit Chan, but she is not really actress, but a singer from Singarpore. We are very similar in our personality, lifestyle taste, aura, and requirements for performing arts. So, we hit it off straight away. Luckily, we met each other when we were both so mature that we can be independent while keeping close to each other. Thank god for his wonderful arrangement.
Herworld Vietnam: Throughout those your acting career, who was your favorite male actor that you have played with?
Sheren Tang: For male actors, there are many whom I appreciate very much but have yet to have the opportunity to work with, for example, Mr. Lau Chung-yan. Mr. Lau is both a friend and a master to me. Even though he has a high demanding for acting, that’s how it should be as a professional actor. In addition, I grew up watching his TVs and films, among which, “ICAC” and “Baak Dau Seng” were the two shows that I was impressed most. Even though I have forgotten all the plots as I was very young when I watched the shows, I remember the main points of the two serials which taught me to be upright, not greedy, and helping others. “ICAC” and “Baak Dau Seng” have shaped my values of life. It also makes me realized that the values in the film and TV works will have tremendous influence on children. Therefore, I think actors should have a sense of mission. As a professional actor, he / she is lucky to get acknowledged by many audience and should bring sound values to the audience through the influence that he / she has.
Another actor who I appreciate so much is Mr. Lai Yiu-cheung. I was privileged to work with him in “Rosy Business”and “No Regrets”. Like me, he is also obsessed with performing arts. Even though we did not have much communication about the characters on set, we played the opposite smoothly and tacitly.
Herworld Vietnam: We are very honored to have you as our iconic superstar cover for the Iconic issue. Would you please tell us what up coming projects?
Sheren Tang: Recently, I have started the works of my personal channel on social media. I want to get to know the audience with different background at different ages, and I hope to communicate with more audience. I think actor is supposed to be multifaceted. Of course, as a professional actor, I wish to have the opportunity to continuously present my potential. In addition, as a public figure, I want to share some of my understandings about life with my fans and the audience on different platform on social media, if possible. At the same time, I wish to learn from them as well about the most popular buzzwords, lol …
Herworld Vietnam: Thank you very much
Talent: Sheren Tang
Photographer: Dalong Yang
Stylist: Ivy Leung
Styling Assistant: Limo
Interview Editor: Michelle Yang
Art Director: Benny Duy Bang
Editor-in-chief: Vincent Tran
Executive Producer: Cory Couture Productions with FTL Moda