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[2008.07.13]Handsome Chun Was Also Unlucky Chun Once
Looking at that practically flawless face of Wu Chun, terms that most people used in books to describe looks that were beautiful but soulless, such as “ruby-red lips, bright dark eyes and jade-like face” automatically came to mind. When seeing him for the first time, he looked like a typical new matinee idol. Slowly, his family background came to light. There were more opportunities for him to appear in front of the audience. Is this “beauty” truly “all looks but no inner substance”? From being cheated by friends in business to running two large fitness centers all by himself, despite coming from a rich family background and yet preferred to leave that all behind to be an actor and suffer endless rebukes from directors, how to break through the language barrier and from an idol lead man evolved into a martial actor…This person who was crowned by his fans as the Prince Charming of their dreams, his personal life was not perfect like a fairy tale. Through understanding his real life, perhaps we can tell whether the tranquility and subtlety he demonstrated was natural or intentionally suppressed.
Wu Chun came from an extremely rich family in Brunei. His father is the local land baron and his older uncle is one of the ten richest men in Brunei. Wu Chun went overseas for his formal education at 16 and at 24, became the owner of a large scale fitness center. At the same time, he was also a player for the Brunei national basketball team. He was, in a literal sense, a prince who lived in a castle. This type of lifestyle seemed to be without any worries or obstacles. He also admitted that during childhood, many things in his life was smooth sailing, even in taking exams, he had never failed. “When growing up, I had pretty good grades. When I was in my early teens, I started to like sports and dropped out of the top 3 spots in my class but my grades were still Ok up to university. I had never failed. As soon as you work hard, you will pass…oh but that does not mean with high marks.” This flower-like man that everything seemed to go smoothly his way was truly still at the growing-up stage of “Being young and not acquainted with worries”. He still was like a “well-behaved cub”. He added: “But in Brunei, there really was not much for entertainment. That’s probably why students are more focused on schoolwork. Normally I also love to play but I would insist on finishing my homework before going out. When attending university in Australia, I would often stay in the school by myself. I did not go to pub for drinks or anything like that. I don’t really like that kind place. Probably it is because my attitude is not that open.”
Unlucky Event #1
Cheated by Friend in Business Venture
Between the time of being an excellent student and basking in the glory after becoming famous, Wu Chun actually experienced several obstacles and blows. Speaking of the first labor pain in his life, it would be his first experience with going into business after his return to Brunei: “Before I opened the fitness center, I had opened an auto body shop with a very good friend. Because at that time, I was also working as a model, I was not involved in the shop. My friend had the full running of it. Through it all, I trusted him very much and so never asked him how many money was made. I felt embarrassed to ask and I was also afraid that he would thought I don’t trust him. One day, I did ask and only then I realized he had not been honest and had squandered all the money had the business had made. He said he would return the money to me at a later date. I was very angry, utterly disappointed in him. I withdrew all my investment, reclaimed everything that belonged to me and decided to go our separate ways. It is later that I decided to open a business on my own.” Pausing for a moment, Wu Chun said meaningfully: “So I tell you, if you go into a business with someone, don’t trust them too much. In a business, there are lots of questions that everyone must be cleared on. It is not to say that you should not trust your friends, it is just a better way of running a business together. This is one point that I only realized later.”
Unlucky Event #2
Mother Passing Away Too Soon
If betrayed by a friend was only the first obstacle in Wu Chun’s career, the passing of his mother from illness when he was in school was a much bigger blow. “Since the start, there were even more times when I was away from home. I did not have to time to be with my mother when I was in school. By the time I wanted to be with her, it was too late. This type of regret is not something money or anything else can buy back. It was smooth sailing for many little things but it is things that I placed the most importance on, the biggest things that have not been smooth.” The regret of “the child wanting to care but the parent is no longer around” led to Wu Chun spending more time with his family whenever he can. However faced with the opportunity of entering the business and becoming an artist, Wu Chun had struggled in his heart: “No matter how others discuss my family background, I know that I gave up and sacrificed a lot to enter into the business. Actually even now, I still have inner struggles. Is that worth it for me to leave home, enter the business and sacrifice the time that I can spend with my father? But it is also because the passing of my mother that made me wanting to challenge myself. I had always been afraid of performing. When I was young, going on stage to accept a trophy for winning basketball games, I was afraid. The more I was like that, the more I wanted to challenge the feeling of fear. It is this type of thinking that upheld my decision to enter the business and become an artist.”
Unlucky Event #3
Encountering Language Barrier
When first arrived in Taipei, Wu Chun who was not very familiar with the language must face yet another difficult barrier in his career. Although he was fluent in Malay and English but when it came to Minan and Mandarin, he must start afresh. “Before coming to Taiwan, I already have not spoken Chinese in 15 years. I also cannot understand when someone speaks too fast. I only know simple phrases like eating or drinking. In my first drama [Tokyo Juliet], I am already playing the male lead. There was great pressure. You know, there is a big difference between the leading role and a supporting role. In a supporter role, once you finish uttering your own lines, you are done. As the male lead, you are in almost every scene. There were many lines of dialogue. It was very difficult to act. At that time, I would even cry in secret. The first year was so tough that I did not want continue.” Because of the cultural and language differences, Wu Chun must work several times harder than others in acting performances.
Earlier when he was filming [Hana-Kimi], he saw Ella bind the loose pages of the script together into one book and he copied her method. To make reading it easier, he even printed out a script outline in English using his computer and taped it on the cover of the script. Everyone teased him about the thick book, saying that it looked more like a textbook than a drama script. When filming [Tokyo Juliet], in addition to attending pronunciation class, he even went into the office to practice reading newspaper and scripts aloud. All these efforts paid off as his Chinese, both spoken and reading, had improve tremendously.
Unlucky Event #4
Gruelling Training in Martial Arts Movie
After appearing in three dramas, [Toyko Juliet], [Hana-Kimi] and [Romantic Princess], Wu Chun invaded the big silver screen and gave his first Martial Arts performance in [Butterfly Lovers]. This is very different from idol drama which consisted of going to the beach to shoot the breeze and engage in love talks. For this movie, Wu Chun underwent intense training two months before the movie start shooting. Everyday, from basic stretching, boxing, swordplay to holding a stance, Wu Chun practiced non-stop and would cause Wu Chun to scream in pain and start tearing up. He also needed to practice the motion of swinging the sword 100 times daily, to the point that his hands would shake holding chopsticks at mealtimes. “This is my first Martial Arts movie and I really care about my performance in it. Each day I had to practice swordplay and martial moves. Each fighting scene took a week to film. It was me against a lot of people so I had to keep up my condition and also had to remember moves. It was very difficult. But the hardest thing was that this movie is a tragedy. Filming like this on a daily basis really affects the mood. In Shanghai, it was very hot in the daytime and very cold at night. That also made it difficult to adjust.
As filming officially started, he insisted against using a stunt double. The experience of one scene in which he was to jumped down from a three storey height still gave him the shivers in recollection. “Originally the director arranged a stunt double for me but I did not want that. So I asked the stuntman to demonstrate it once. Later when I climbed up and got into position, I then realized that it really was very high. I had never been afraid of games such as bugee jumping or roller coaster riding. In Las Vegas, there was a ride in which one spins around at the height of 70 storey and that did not scare me. But the feeling of falling face down during a fight scene was very different. You don’t know what would happen when you jump. I was a little scared at the time. In the end, I forced myself to jump.” Although doing a martial arts movie made Wu Chun exclaimed “I don’t want to do a costumed Martial Arts movie next time”, but “upon seeing the result after editing, it felt pretty awesome. Maybe I should make an attempt towards this direction.”
So Many Unlucky Events
Regarding Going Sole and Relying Only on Looks
Within FRH, the track record of Wu Chun is obviously not on the same level as the other three members. The rumor of “going solo” had never stopped. Wu Chun no longer insisted on “will not go solo”, instead he left a lot of leeway: “Actually right from the beginning, we all do acting job individually and come together to release albums. So there is never any talk of going solo. Each person has his own opportunities and direction focus.” Wu Chun had confirmed that he will not be doing any dramas this year in order to concentrate on preparing for concerts and doing movies. He denied that he will not be doing dramas because his asking price had increased dramatically. His words did not hide his plan of putting the focus of his work on making movies. “It really is because there is no time available in the second part of the year that I won’t be doing any dramas although I am very interested in doing action martial arts movies. As for TV dramas, if there is a good script, I still would do it.” When he first started, some audience described Wu Chun as “relying only on looks” because of his immature acting skills and overly handsome looks, how does he view himself today? Wu Chun went silent for a moment and then said: “Actually all along, I feel that I am not as what others think. I worked very hard to improve, to upgrade my acting skills, I have tried my best.”
Unlucky Event Turned Into A Good Thing
Described by Ah Sa as Having the Appetite of An Ox
In [Butterfly Lovers], Wu Chun collaborated with Ah Sa. The mandarin speaking ability of both of them is only so-so. This time, there is even classical Chinese and idioms. Wu Chun described that the most often used terms nowadays is “It is nothing” and “Well met, well met”. Wu Chun’s ferocious appetite is well known. Even Ah Sa, this female connoisseur of food, said that he has four stomachs like an ox. As soon as he stepped into a restaurant, his usual elegant manner disappeared. He would jumped up and chased after the waiters asking “where is the food, where is the food”. When the food arrived, he would then rush and make the waiter to bring rice, sometimes even went as far as going into the kitchen to help bring out the food. About this, Wu Chun said a bit shyly: “Actually it is not as exaggerated as that. I don’t have a big appetite but I can eat continuously. It is a hardship to go to different locations to film, so every city I go, I would find local dishes that are tasty and must try it all. This way I won’t have any regrets and won’t feel that I came to this city for nothing.” Wu Chun even revealed that he already planned to have a cooking competition with Ah Sa who loved to eat just as much. “Because the director also loved to eat, Ah Sa and I will compete cooking mash potato and the director will be the judge.” He even indicated confidently, “I think what I cook will taste better than hers.” How fancy can mash potato be? This Wu Chun would not elaborate. “That will depend on how you make it. I cannot tell you the recipe. What if she found out? Regardless, we will have a competition…this I insist.”
When Will the Blessed Event Happen
In Comparison Likes Ella More
In almost every drama, Wu Chun would have rumors with the female lead. From Ella, Angela Zhang to now Ah Sa who is “already spoken for”, each rumor was strong and intense, seemingly both real and illusory but Wu Chun had never let up and admit to any one of them, only insisted that they are all friends. “Ah Sa is a noisy and gregarious person. We both like to eat and thus became friends. Ella is also very outgoing and very approachable. Her type of no-big-deal personality makes it very easy for others to get along with her.” When asked further regarding Ella and Angela Zhang, these two different type of girls, which type he likes better, Wu Chun admitted indirectly with a bit of awkwardness that it would be Ella: “Her ability of becoming familiar within a few sentences, there is only one in a hundred.” Next, Wu Chun sighed in thought: “Having a relationship is not as easy as saying I want it, therefore I have it. If it comes out, perhaps we cannot even be friends. In that case, it is better to leave it at a safe distance.” What he said left a lot of room for the imagination.
Speaking of his opinion on love, Wu Chun said that he is like Liang Shan-Bo without any awkwardness, “I feel that love should be like that of Liang Shan-Bo and Zhu Ying-Tai. I can give up everything for her, even my life, because to find that someone you love is not easy.” As for the criteria for his future girlfriend, Wu Chu twice mentioned “sincere, unpretentious”, “I don’t have any requirement regarding appearance such as innocent looking type or hot chick type or whatever type. The most important is be unpretentious, has a kind heart, be sincere, make me willing to share everything with her. In the end, it is the feeling that is most important.”
Notes of the Interview: Approachable Attitude
The first time seeing Wu Chun was last April when he came to Guangzhou to promote [Hana-Kimi]. Ticket price was almost at $200 and yet people vied for it. Later at the press conference in preparation for interviews, that was when reporters from all media were sharpening their knives and that was also when one can best observe stars through little details. Wu Chun seemed very relaxed, peering left and right looking around with curiosity, even occasionally used Cantonese to greet everyone (although later in his blog, he said that he was very nervous because it was the first time he had to face so many reporters). Suddenly, he said to one photographer: “I have a top just like yours, from this brand too.” I guess this photographer had never met a star that have such an approachable attitude and was stunned momentarily without knowing how to respond.
This time interviewing him again and trying to “pretend familiarity”, used a friendly greeting, “Wu Chun, how are you? We met last year around this time. Don’t know if you remember.” I never expected him to respond. Never thought he would said cheerfully, “Right, last year’s [Hana-Kimi] promotion in Guangzhou.” I was surprised, “You remember?” He responded very quickly, “Yes, too bad I can’t go this year.” At the second interview, he even started with a “Hey, how is it going?”
I have seen many artists who are really cordially or just faking politeness. The greatest appeal of Wu Chun is that he is the naturally friendly and approachable person as described by his fans. If you can get one step closer to him, you would discover that he can make whoever he is talking feel relax and comfortable. While chatting, he suddenly asked me in curiosity whether I am taking notes as I am listening to him. Upon receiving his answer, he would exclaim in surprise: “That is awesome.” This type of attitude bears no relations to doing a promotion. It is really him being curious. Perhaps it is this curiosity that led him out of Brunei. Some Taiwanese artists would always posses a piece of the local market. He only entered the business for three years, but he has already step by step expanded the boundary of his career. Recently he even attempted to enter the realm of movies. Just on this point, he has the strategy and the foresight of a businessman. Call him a flaming star? Well, this flaming star may keep on burning for a long time to come yet.