Hong Kong actor, Dicky Cheung (張衛健), hasn’t acted in a TVB series since playing the “Monkey King” in 1996’s “Journey to the West” (西遊記), which skyrocketed his popularity. Due to a contract dispute with TVB, he left shortly with the sequel being played by Benny Chan (陳浩民), who couldn’t exude the same energy as Dicky Cheung in the first series. Under TVB executive, Catherine Tsang’s (曾勵珍) persuasion, Dicky Cheung came back in 2017, after more than 20 years, to film “The Learning Curve of a Warlord” (大帥哥). The series was touted as an “anniversary series,” which means it’s highly regarded and gets the utmost promotion and attention, especially at the anniversary awards.
The series completed filming since September of last year. TVB even had a recent event to promote their upcoming “anniversary series,” but “Warlord” wasn’t even on the list. When Dicky Cheung first came back last year, he said he wanted to film this to celebrate TVB’s 50th anniversary. As filming lasted for six months, he had to turn down a lot of jobs. It is reported, Dicky Cheung didn’t discuss pay for this series, his only request was to have enough time to rest. This year is already TVB’s 51st anniversary and with only two months left, many people are saying the series is being passed over for other series so TVB can promote its own artists as it’s near award time.
Going from anniversary series to warehouse series
What was originally marketed as an anniversary series is now being rumored to be a warehouse series. The series was reported to air this summer, but there hasn’t been any marketing done to promote it. There were even rumors the delays were due to Sisley Choi’s (蔡思貝) image and the public not having a good impression of her. Oriental Daily News reached out to producer, Stephen Tsui (徐正康) and he says, “Early on, we already had a deal with mainland website, Youku, to air the series simultaneously. Also, the approval process takes times, so we decided to promote it as 2018’s finale series.” When asked if Dicky had any complaints, Stephen Tsui said, “Absolutely not. He is very professional.”
Oriental Daily News also asked Stephen Tsui about Sisley Choi being the reason for the delays, he said, “We didn’t blacklist her. She is filming another series called “Airport Security Unit” (機場特警). If she had issues, we wouldn’t let her carry such important series. She worked very hard on “Warlord” and got to play a different character from what she normally portrays.”
When asked about the delays and how it’s tied to Sisley Choi’s image issues, Dicky Cheung responded, “I don’t know. She was very serious during filming. She showed a lot of respect towards me and the other cast members.”