Actor Christopher Lee used to do manual labour and odd jobs in Malaysia before becoming a successful actor in Singapore and East Asia.
His experience as a factory worker helped him prepare for his role of Ming Qi, an iron worker in HBO Asia’s original series, Workers.
Lee, 48, shared during an interview reported by malaymail.com on Friday (May 8) that, six years before joining the show business industry, he was a factory worker. He added that he liked his role in Workers because it reminded him of the days when he was younger. Public holidays, getting an allowance and working overtime were familiar to him.
Lee grew up in a small village in Melaka and his family was poor. He had to start work when he was young. He used to take on night shifts and that is why he likes night-time. Lee said his family and friends around him were humble and carefree. In Workers, there is a sense of familiarity which attracted Lee. He previously worked in a factory, and as a butcher and a waiter.
The Singapore-based actor said all his past jobs helped him build his character.
Lee won first-runner up in Singaporean talent search programme Star Search in 1995 when he was 24. He joined the contest because of the prize money. After the contest, he became part of the show business industry by accident. Lee then acted in several TV series and was given awards including Golden Bell award for Best Leading Actor in 2013.
Lee recalled that when he was a young manual worker, he desired things like those wanted by the workers depicted in the series, such as winning the lottery, striking it rich and earning more money from working overtime.
Workers is a story of workers in a construction site in Taiwan who have hopes of being rich. They get involved in get-rich-quick schemes only to end up being fooled.
Lee hopes viewers have a better of understanding of the lives of workers through the series and that workers from different regions can relate to it. When he accepted the role, he felt that he needed to represent workers in every sense.
Construction sites are a familiar sight in South-east Asia and Lee’s mission is more relevant now. Employment uncertainty is happening due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 circuit breaker has meant that Lee can spend more time with wife Singaporean actress Fann Wong and their child, Zed, 5. Lee said that his son is glad because it is rare for him and his wife to be at home every day to spend time with him. Zed understands that they cannot go out during this time.
Lee has also been spending time in the kitchen, cooking at least a dish a day. Despite not being able to go out much, the family still enjoys being at home. Lee said his wife said that he should not be going out from now on so that he can cook more for the family.
The show will be airing on HBO GO on Sunday (May 10) at 9 pm. /TISG