HK actor Anthony Wong may change his surname; set to appear in first English-speaking role

HK actor Anthony Wong may change his surname; set to appear in first English-speaking role
In White Dragon, a British television drama, Anthony Wong stars as a Hong Kong-based cop who finds out his British wife is secretly married to another man (John Simm, right) in England.
PHOTO: Fox Networks Group

Hong Kong actor Anthony Wong is one of the biggest names in the business, but he may be known as something else entirely in the next few months.

The 57-year-old tells The Straits Times he will likely go by his father's surname of Perry very soon.

"There've been some changes in my life recently that made me think it's time I do this," he says in Mandarin.

"The next time you talk to me, you'll have to call me Mr Perry."

One reason is that he reunited with his half-brothers from his father's side earlier this year - a heartwarming story that made headlines around the world.

Wong, who was only four when his British father abandoned him and his Hong Kong Chinese mother, had felt lost as a child not knowing much about his paternal side, according to reports.

Extensive research led him to the discovery that he has a pair of older twin brothers named David and John Perry. The three siblings met for the first time in Hong Kong in March.

"I'm still in touch with them regularly and we're bonding. They suggested I get a British passport and change my family name. I think it's a good idea. Technically, Wong was never my real name," he says.

Wong is his mother's surname. She died late last month of kidney failure.

Actor Anthony Wong finds family he never knew about

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    Hong Kong actor Anthony Wong's father left him when he was four years old.

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    For decades, the 56-year-old actor has been looking for him.

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    After a BBC story that was published in February and a thread created on Facebook, Wong finally reunites with two half-brothers he never knew about.

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    His two brothers, who are both 74 years old, travelled to Hong Kong for their reunion after receiving an email from a cousin in England, alerting them that there might a "sensitive matter" they should know about.

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    Over in Melbourne, Wong's two half-brothers, David and John Perry, watched the BBC video and saw the man in the photos. It was, without a doubt, their father.

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    They emailed a company, Dionysus Contemporary Theatre, mentioned in the video and managed to get in direct contact with Wong.

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    The three met in Hong Kong on March 20.

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    Wong's father, Frederick William Perry, had a family in Australia.

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    And another one in Hong Kong.

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    The Perry brothers said they did not know about Wong's acting career, but have started finding out more information about the veteran actor from the internet.

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    David told BBC: "We want to have a nice get-together and make Anthony feel part of our family - he is part of our family."

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    They also said their father, who had died in 1988, had never mentioned his second family in Hong Kong.

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    Wong managed to learn more details about his father and both his half-brothers said they were not upset at finding out the secret that their father had kept for decades.

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    Wong also told BBC that this experience is a "life lesson" and that he is finally able to make peace with the past.

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    The brothers spent their meeting piecing together the missing parts of their lives.

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    They believe their father would be pleased they're all finally in touch.

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    David and John spent a few days in Hong Kong with Anthony before returning to Melbourne.

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He says: "I might even move away from Hong Kong soon. I had to live and work in Hong Kong because I wanted to take care of my mother.

"But now that she has died, I don't have to. It depends on what opportunities I get."

Perhaps, more opportunities to work abroad will come up now that he has, for the first time, a starring role in a British television drama.

In White Dragon, which is airing on Fox (Singtel TV Channel 330, StarHub TV Channel 505), he plays David Chen, a Hong Kong-based cop who finds out that his British wife has a secret second marriage in England.

This is Wong's first English-speaking role. "I was very surprised when I heard I got the role. My English is not the best. I felt a little pressured to get the pronunciation right.

"The language was definitely the biggest challenge for me. But doing this show was quite relaxing because there is a lot of time in between filming, not like in a Hong Kong drama," he says.

The fact that his co-stars speak pretty terrible Cantonese does not bother him. "Many of the Chinese faces on the show are not from Hong Kong - they are British. Even for the parts where I speak Cantonese, I could have made up the lines and no one would have known," he adds.

"I don't really mind. The show was made primarily for the British market anyway. I just try to do my own part well."

•White Dragon airs on Fox (Singtel TV Channel 330, StarHub TV Channel 505) on Thursdays at 9pm. It is also available on streaming service Fox+.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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