American-Chinese actor Russell Wong is feeling his age. Or so he says.
Best known for his movie role in the seminal ‘Joy Luck Club’ (1993), he returns to the small screen as a devoted father with a wandering eye, on a new TV series 'Grace' by HBO Asia.
The four-part mini-series debuts on the HBO cable channel on 17 October at 10pm, and packs an all-Asian cast along with a plot line that runs on horror and family drama.
‘Grace’ is set in the present day, following a family embroiled in vengeance, sacrifice and dark secrets. It is the latest series to feature an Asian cast following last year’s ‘Serangoon Road’, a 10-episode detective drama set in the 1960s.
The 51-year-old Wong, who plays the unfaithful patriach Roy Chan, was glad to land the leading role at his age.
“I love that this is Asian content in English. In the States, there’s still a bit of stereotyping going on. Trying to fit into martial arts genre at my age is not working so well. So this works great!” he admitted candidly at a press conference on 2 September.
His co-stars include Singaporean actresses Constance Song, who plays his wife, and Pamelyn Chee, who plays his mistress.
Pamelyn Chee, a familiar face from TV shows such as 'The Pupil' and 'Little Nyonya', plays Ya Yi, a mistress
Familiar names on Singapore television such as George Young and veterans Lim Kay Tong, Lim Yu Beng and Nora Samosir also play supporting roles in the series.
A WESTERN APPROACH TO ASIAN HORROR
Taking a western approach to Asian horror conventions, ‘Grace’ incorporates supernatural mythology into modern-day scenarios.
Director Tony Tilse, who was also involved in HBO Asia’s ‘Serangoon Road’, was drawn to the “potential for a strong, emotional and character-driven psychological thriller”.
A scene from an episode of psychological thriller ‘Grace’ which stars (L-R) Russell Wong, Teresa Daley, Yoson An and Lim Kay Tong
Tilse said that the title of the series, while not immediately obvious, connotes “forgiveness, mercy, elegance”.
“Because of the story, we saw ‘Grace’ as wanting forgiveness – so it meant a whole lot of things,” he added.
While nothing spooky happened on set, Young, who plays son-in-law Charles Lau, quipped that “everything spooky was caught on camera”.
Tilse had the last word: “It’s a show that when you get to the end, you’ll want to go back and watch it again.”
‘Grace’ debuts on HBO on 17 October at 10pm, with a two-part finale airing on 31 October, Halloween. It will air in both English and Mandarin, with subtitles in selected territories. The mini-series will also be released on HBO GO one hour after it airs on HBO and on HBO On Demand the Monday after its debut.