Imagine playing a police officer in a movie—and then getting detained by the real police while acting as a cop. That happened to Hong Kong actor Kevin Cheng while he was filming his new movie, Invincible Dragon.

For one of the scenes for the action movie shot on location in Macau, the production crew did not obtain permits for filming inside a government building.

Together with the crew, Kevin, who was involved in the scene, was hauled off for questioning and spent 14 hours in a police station.

Recalling the incident with a laugh, the 49-year-old actor says: “The police were actually quite nice to us. I even had two meals at the station.”

But the matter did not end after he left the station.

“When I was released, I tried to go back to Hong Kong and was stopped from leaving because our crew’s issues with the police weren’t settled yet. That was when I got quite worried.”

He says director Fruit Chan, best known for his 1997 independent film Made In Hong Kong, treated him to a meal for putting him through the ordeal.

Invincible Dragon is fronted by Chinese action star Max Zhang, who was also Kevin’s co-star in last year’s Master Z: The Ip-Man Legacy.

A lot has changed in the two-and-a-half years since the film wrapped.

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Kevin married his TVB actress wife Grace Chan, 27, last year and their son was born in February.

 

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He says his son has eyes like his wife’s but a mouth, nose and a “difficult” temper like his.

“If he feels he’s had enough milk, even when he hasn’t taken what he needs to, it’s impossible to get him to keep drinking. You have to coax him into doing it really gently,” says Kevin, who handles most of his son’s feeding.

Celebrity kids can be a draw on television—Chinese reality parenting shows are now popular—but Kevin hopes to keep his son away from the limelight. He says: “When he eventually goes to school, people will know his parents are well-known. Even so, I hope he will have a normal childhood.”

With fatherhood comes a shift in Kevin’s career. The former TVB actor, who made his mark in time-travel palace drama Scarlet Heart (2011), says he would prefer to focus on films until his son is older.

 

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He says: “Being in a drama means maybe four months of filming in China—that’s 120 days away from my family. I can’t do that now.”

But he is open to challenges in film. Not only does he want to try more comedy and arthouse films, he also wants more action.

The fight scenes in both Invincible Dragon and Master Z mostly involved Max, a former wushu athlete, but Kevin hopes he will get more action roles in future.

He says: “I won’t be able to fight the way Max can, but I work out regularly and I think I can handle the basics.

“I want to do it now when I still can. Eight or 10 years down the road, I’m not sure I’ll still have the stamina.”

Invincible Dragon is in cinemas now.

Image: TPG/Click Photos
Text: Jan Lee / The Straits Times / June 2019