Lawrence Wong is the black horse Mediacorp let slip but we're happy they did.
If you've been keeping up with number one hit drama The Story Of Yanxi Palace, you'd surely know Hai Lan Cha 海兰察, the Imperial Palace Guard turned Military General aka Fuca Fuheng's best friend. Guess what? He was a Singapore actor!
With a cumulative 11.2 billion views online and more than 530 million viewers on iQiyi (China's biggest streaming platform), the 70-eps drama is possibly one of the most popular period dramas (besides My Fair Princess 还珠格格) of our time.
With that, it does seems like Malaysia-born Lawrence Wong 王冠逸 finally got the big break he's been waiting (and working hard) for his entire life.
Not sure about you but we were literally wow-ed when we found out he's actually acted in local dramas on Channel 8 like Three Wishes and 118. If you've watched 118, you might remember him as Xiao Bao, a kind-hearted ah beng who likes Yahui's wanton mee seller. Yes, that's him!
Lawrence first found fame in 2009 as Julie Tan's love interest in The Promise, a Channel U telemovie where he played a rebellious teen who falls in love with an intellectually-disabled girl played by the latter.
The hit show pushed him to stardom (in Singapore) where he was then nominated for Favourite Male Character at Star Awards 2010.
For most of the past decade, Lawrence travelled extensively and worked in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand but despite this, it seems that his career was "going nowhere".
As if it was all predestined, he met Chinese actress Qin Lan (our Empress Fuca Rong Yin!) when she was here in Singapore in 2016 to shoot a campaign for Singapore Tourism Board.
"The boss of my Singapore management company introduced me and some other artistes to her. We hit it off and they asked me if I was willing to go to China. I was like, "Of course!"
"I needed new challenges and there was nothing to lose for me. It wasn't like I was an Ah Ge or I was being groomed by the station and that I would be giving up a lot of things to start afresh. If I were somebody in Singapore, I might not have had the courage [to go to China]. But for me, it was a no brainer."
Within a month, he got his first acting role in Love And Passion, a remake of the 1982 TVB classic. The Story Of Yanxi Palace was the second drama he filmed since going to China and the rest is, well, history. Working hard in Singapore paid off, even if it means not being appreciated Though he was born in Malaysia, Lawrence have called Singapore home since 2009 but found little to no success.
For me, it's really about luck and timing. Yes, I've worked hard for many years, like in Singapore, when I was feeling down about not getting the kind of roles that I want or the opportunities that other people had. But I also feel like this luck and timing is an accumulation of the hard work I've put in over the years. Making sure I stay relevant, making sure that I'm always improving my craft. (I think it was in) Maybe 2014, 2015? I was feeling like, "Why am I doing the same roles over and over again?" It wasn't that I didn't appreciate what I was doing then but I felt like I had more to give and that I could do more so I felt stuck as an actor because I didn't have an outlet to show what I can give. I was very frustrated artistically. I felt like maybe it wasn't meant to be. And that maybe I could go overseas and try and if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, then I can do other things. I have a degree [in Mass Communications] so I could go into PR, marketing or even branding.
Toughest part about filming Yanxi Palace
"The lines were very challenging for me because the kind of Chinese they used is not our everyday Chinese. I'm known to be an actor who can memorise my lines very well but this really got me. And the weather was very harsh too. We filmed for four months and all through summer. Can you imagine wearing so many layers and filming in Hengdian where the temperature was like over 40 degree Celsius? It was crazy! You would just perspire like mad after every line. And the director would say, "Cut! Wipe your sweat!" Which made it hard to get into the role because you're distracted all the time by the sweat and the wiping of the sweat."
Check out how his character's relationship with Ming Yu began in the hit drama!
A post shared by Lawrence Wong 王冠逸 (@ohohlawrence) on
Though things didn't end well for Hai Lan Cha and Ming Yu, we still love them! Let's hope they reunite again sometime, somewhere.
'Like' and 'share' this article if you support their relationship in The Story of Yanxi Palace!
Photos: Weibo, Lawrence Wong
Text by: Girlstyle SG