Exclusive: Tong Bing Yu on becoming a film producer

The celebrated actress shares with us her new role as a film producer and more.
Reading time 5 minutes

If you're up-to-date with the latest Chinese drama series (be it international or local), then the name Tong Bing Yu (@tongbingyu) is no stranger to you.

A celebrated award-winning actor in the Asian region, Bing Yu is known to be a lady with fire, passion, talent and style. Now in her fourth year venturing into the entertainment scene in China, she has expanded her portfolio to way more than just an actor, model or personality.

Bing Yu is now also a film producer, and currently in the works of her first ever film production.

Between her busy schedule between Malaysia, Singapore and China, the talented multi-hyphenate sat down with us to share her latest ventures, her struggles within and her career as an actor and producer.


(Read on for Tong Bing Yu's exclusive interview with us)

"I remember that before I even joined this circle (about 8 years ago), I have always been one behind the scenes"

First off, congratulations on your debut as a film producer. What made you decide on this new career path?
In both Malaysia and Singapore, I am known as an actress and that becomes synonymous to the words “celebrity” and “personality”, but I remember that before I even joined this circle (about 8 years ago), I have always been one behind the scenes.

So I want to go back to my roots and see if I can venture into production.


So does that mean you will give up acting?
I will never give up my role as an actress! I became a producer because I want to produce something that I can be proud of. Something that will be my legacy.


As one who has been in the industry for over 8 years, what is it like now?
As time passes, sometimes people might forget your role as an actress and they just group everyone as a celebrity or just another “pretty face” in the scene and that includes me.

But I always identify and pride myself as an actress, more than anything else. I believe with hard work, they will see who I truly am.

And what are your thoughts on these stereotypes?
I think as an actor and a woman, I need to use my talents and skills to convince and capture the crowd – be it onscreen or offscreen.

Beauty is something that will fade but talents won't.


For this coming project, it marks your first time as a film producer.
Actually, this is my first time as a film producer but my second time as a producer in general.

I have actually tried my hands on producing a TV drama series with Hunan TV in China.


And can you tell us what will the coming production be about?
When I started this project, I wanted it to be something I can submit to all the international film festivals.

To keep it short, the film will be a psychological thriller that revolves around human emotions and focuses on how they are manipulated.

Sounds intriguing! Will you be part of the cast too?
Yes, definitely. In my first try (the drama series), I was solely the producer but with this coming film, I want to have more input and contribution to it – be it as a cast, the art direction or the script and budget planning.


What's something you've learnt from being a producer?
First thing is you get to call the shots on things that might be out of my hands as an actor.

You know, sometimes we (actors) complain about how things are done but we never know how hard it is for the production team. Well, now I know.


What is one lesson you would impart to your younger self?
Listen, a production is like cooking. If the ingredients are bad (in this case, maybe the script?), your job as a chef (the actor) is to make the best out of it and present it to your diners (audience).

Think of it as a chance for you to breakthrough. So, less complaining and more acting!

Was it hard to take you seriously as a producer?
It was difficult at first because coming from a pageant background and moving towards to becoming an actress. There is a stereotype of who I am and should be in others’ eyes.

But I believe that if I endure and fight it with all my might, no matter the hardships or obstacles, they will realise that there's so much more to me than what they think they know.


What's your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Surprisingly, it’s not my acting or the awards I’ve been nominated or won. I feel like my collaboration with Hunan TV is something I am very proud because it’s something I’ve pushed for since day one when I ventured the Chinese market in China a few years back.


Before we wrap this up, what is one of your favourite Malaysian productions?
Ola Bola. It took me a while before I watched it but when I did, it blew me away. 

The way the director Chiu seamlessly brought three unique cultures into one story was spectacular. It truly reflects Malaysian culture and the unity of the people.


What are your best traits?
I never give up, I am always grateful for the things I have and I always remember who I am and where I came from.



(Photos courtesy of Tong Bing Yu)



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