Mark Ma Makes Breakthrough Portraying a Doctor with Asperger’s in “Life After Death”

Mark Ma Makes Breakthrough Portraying a Doctor with Asperger's in "Life After Death"

TVB’s currently airing series, “Life After Death” (那些我愛過的人), is a surprise hit focused on a 7 year old accident that changes the fate of two families. The series also gained a lot of attention as it featured a character with Asperger’s syndrome, “Koo Hay Son”, who is also a doctor. The character is played by Mark Ma (馬貫東) and had led many netizens drawing comparisons to the Korean series, “Good Doctor”.

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Mark Ma might be unfamiliar to most audiences as this is his first time in a second male lead role in his 14 year career at TVB. Viewers will recognize him as “Professor” in TVB sitcom, “Come Home Love: Lo And Behold” (愛•回家之開心速遞). When he first left “Lo And Behold” in 2018, he went to film “Life After Death”. Many viewers thought he left the series for good.

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After “Life And Death” aired, Mark Ma’s portrayal of someone with Asperger’s gained a lot of praise. When speaking to Hong Kong media outlet, TOPick, he expressed about his role, “I was worried at first about portraying someone who is autistic. The crew arranged for me to meet with three people with autism for me to understand them more. I also watched documentaries and read books to quickly understand into their world.” In order to immerse himself into the character, Mark Ma was very quiet on set and would not communicate much with others. It lead to his love interest on the show, Shiga Lin (連詩雅), to ask “You also have this illness?” Mark Ma responded that he is a quiet person and doesn’t talk much. He also complimented Shiga Lin for being a good partner and revealed they broke into their characters quickly.

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Mark Ma is 33 years old this year and has been in the industry for 14 years. He got his first big break in “Come Home Love: Dinner at 8” (愛·回家之八時入席) and “Come Home Love: Lo And Behold”. He jokingly says that everyone calls him by his character names in the “Come Home Love” series. After graduating from high school, Mark Ma immediately entered the entertainment industry. He has done all sorts of roles and says he doesn’t mind starting from the bottom. He said, “It’s not too late to be a supporting character right now. Once I graduated, I immediately entered the industry. I had no life experiences. Even if I were to act as the male lead, viewers might think it’s very tame and unconvincing.”

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Mark Ma grew up in a single family household. He was raised by his mother and two older sisters. Every decision he made since joining the industry has been made with his family’s support. He revealed, “They have never complained. On the contrary, when I would run into financial troubles, they would take the initiative to help me. Even if they worried, they wouldn’t say it out loud.” Mark Ma also says that the most difficult thing about this industry is not having any series to film. He once blamed himself thinking if he did anything wrong because he had a job, but he didn’t have any work.

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It wasn’t until after getting paired up with “Mandy”, played by Jan Tse (謝芷倫), in “Come Home Love: Lo and Behold”, did Mark Ma have the financial capability to support himself and to continue chasing his dream. However, he revealed, “When I thought it wasn’t working out at that time, I would immediately do part-time jobs, like an assistant photographer and a fitness instructor to help with life expenses.”

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Many fans have shipped the on-screen couple. During the height of the couple’s popularity, Mark Ma had even revealed he had a girlfriend. However, shortly after announcing his relationship, Mark Ma revealed they broke up. It was also around this time that Mark Ma and Jan Tse’s characters were written out of the show. Mark Ma has since returned to the show, but Jan Tse still hasn’t yet, which has drummed up rumors she was frozen by the company.

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After “Life After Death”, Mark Ma currently has four series on hand. His life’s goal is not to become a male lead or become the best male actor. It’s actually to buy a home to live with his family. He revealed, “What I want the most is to travel with my family because the last time we traveled was when I was 7 years old. The other thing is to buy an apartment to live with my mother and my two older sisters. Even though this goal is distant, but you need to have a goal in order to be motivated to move forward.

Credit: TOPick, Shiga Lin IG