Gregory Charles Rivers, Actor

The Australian-born, Hong Kong actor speaks to us about his road to fame in the SAR.

gregory-charles-rivers

I ended up being an actor with TVB for 20 years. They reluctantly hired me after my audition and I earned $300 a day. It was only after I complained twice about the low wages that they offered me a contract. I stayed with a friend’s father on Broadcast Drive, which was where TVB’s studio used to be and saw a job post for a Caucasian role in a drama series.

Caucasian roles in Chinese dramas are often a one dimensional character and you’re usually an accessory to the main actor. Roles that give the character dimension appeal to me the most. I had the chance to play these characters in Always Ready where I was a helicopter pilot and C.I.B Files where I was a police chief.

I like to watch American television where there is more of a story line. I pick up the skills from the actors and use it in my roles.

It all started when I was studying medicine at University in Australia. At first, I wanted to learn Chinese to show off then it became loving learning the language. I clicked with the students from Hong Kong and they introduced me to Cantopop.

I was Cantopop superstar Leslie Cheung and Alan Tam’s driver when they toured in Australia. Meeting them had a great impact on me. I memorised song lyrics and participated in competitions in China town. I failed my exams in the third year of my degree and had to repeat subjects and that’s when I decided to buy a one way ticket to Hong Kong and moved May of 1987.

My wife and I moved to Clearwater Bay in the 2000s. We ended up really liking the area after visiting a friend. I grew up on a farm in Australia and I gained an affinity for animals from my father.

My wife and I have cared for 13 rescue dogs over the years in our 700 sq ft village house. We currently have six dogs, the others have passed away due to complications and illnesses. In the last month, we lost my wife’s favourite dog who I cared and watched over him when he fell ill.

I had no expectations when I moved to Hong Kong, only anticipation which is my approach to a lot of things. There’s a sense of adventure when you go from an Australian society to a Chinese society. You can miss out on so much if you cling onto just one culture.

Read about more amazing Sai Kung people here.

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