Happy 26th Birthday to ELLE
Wallace Huo: Louder Than Words
He doesn’t post on weibo. He doesn’t talk sweet. He only conducts a few days of promotion in a year. Wallace said that to understand him, you have to watch his plays. He wants to reserve some privacy for the rest of his time. In this complex and hullabaloo, fussy world, he tries to remain a simple person. 12 years of career are Wallace’s persistence and highest demand of himself .
At the shooting site, we had a modified vintage motorbike which costs Rmb1 million. Wallace spotted it as soon as he came in. He gently touched the motorbike and grasped the handle. His eyesight turned from excitement to thoughtfulness…12 years ago; Taipei; he was a newbie; his working schedule was tight and he needed to work like a superman. He rode his motorbike to commute from one filming site to the next. One time he was so tired that he fell asleep and almost got an accidence.
Generally he woke up at 2 or 3am, put on makeup and out with his motorbike. He saw many younger people enjoying their night out, eating their supper and having fun. Their day still hadn’t ended yet but for him it was a new day. He thought why were they having fun and yet he’s so busy at such a young age? He convinced himself with “no pain no gain”.
2 years later, he finally escaped that life. He challenged the Mainland China market by ditching all the reputation he had built up. He also set up his own work studio. The main reason is, he didn’t want to repetitively play idol dramas and lose himself into it. The ambition that wasn’t mentioned by him is appearing gradually later on in his choice.
Wallace isn’t a short-sighted person. He didn’t explain or resist being called a “flower vase” (translator note: a person who doesn’t know how to act and simply depends on his pretty face). He has been sharping a sword within all these years. He has been accumulating by quantity (translator note: by acting in numerous plays) and focusing only on acting.
In the recent 2 years his acting seems to reach a milestone in his plays. There are seriousness as well as comedy; misery as well as happiness; a well-kept gentleman as well as a deep and worn-face person. He can play an idol ancient drama as well as a serious Minguo drama. “The audience slowly can see my possibilites. But I still think I’m on the road. I’m trying hard not to repeat myself. I want to be clear in all my characters. Although I only act them, I want to put in my own thinking and shadow.”
Wallace’s latest play is “Battle of Changsha” as shown on CCTV-8. His Gu Qingming is a rich son who gave up civilian life to join the army. Although he was covered in soil everyday and had to run around in explosive scenes, he was excited when we discussed his plays. But when we spoke about his normal days, his pacing slowed down. His normal days are ‘boring’. But at the filming sites he is like a fish in water.
“I enjoy being in a crowd. At the filming sites we all bear the same hard work. Filming is tiresome. Sometimes I just want to finish it and take a good rest. But when relaxing at home I don’t know what to do. Excise or jogging? Stay at home or dine out with friends? I fell hopeless with too many choices. During normal days I feel a bit anxious”
Ancient dramas are about willpower
Wallace created a high intensified record of filming 7 dramas in a year. After he left Taiwan, he set himself a rule that he would never take more than 1 play at a time. But lately he has broken his rule.
“The Imperial Doctress” and “Journey of Flower” are filming at the same time. During one period he had to turn up at both filming sets. One play at a time is because he wants to be more professional and also enjoy the process more. But he couldn’t resist these 2 offers. He knows the production company of “Imperial Doctress” well, plus the working partner is Liu Shishi. They had agreed to take on other plays together. As for “Journey of the Flower,” it was because fans wanted him to.
To Wallace Huo acting is hard work but fun. How hard is it? He said: “Just the costumes are already a killer.”
Wallace’s most heavier costume is in “The Imperial Doctress”. It exceeded 30 kilograms. Not only he had to wear it a whole day, he was also on wire and finished off his fights. When the weather was warm, it’s torturing. After sweating all over, he was so tired after work he didn’t even want to remove his makeup and take a shower.
At one time he forced himself not to sit down after returning to his hotel room, “If I didn’t force myself to take a shower, I would lie on my bed and didn’t want to get up.”
“Filming against the weather happens very often. Wearing thin clothes in the winter and 6 layers in the summer. Ancient people have their specific manners. Postures must be stable. “Being stable” means more strength is used. Many cameos faint because of the heat. But professional artistes can’t. Even those delicate actresses whom seem can be blown away by the wind won’t. The underlying secret is staying focused and the wining over willpower.”
“Why people only see a few people in ancient plays? Firstly because they’re suitable in ancient looks. Secondly because they can suffer a lot more than normal people.”
Like any normal people Wallace doubts about life when he’s tired. He’ll ask himself why. He knows he doesn’t have to be working so hard. He still has other choices, “But that thought died out in a blink of eyes. Most of the times I only think about how to stay energetic. I sleep right away.”
Discuss rules but not rigid
Other than “Battle of Changsha” the most expected play of Wallace is “The Great Protector” in this year. “The Great Protector” has a dream team. Famous scriptwriter Zou Jingzhi as producer and “The Grand Master” scriptwriter Xu Haofeng wrote the script. Wallace is the male lead. His character Liu Anshun started a journey in the jianhu from the age of over twenty years which spammed over from the late Qing Dynasty to Early Republic of China.
Wallace believes this play is his milestone. “If “Battle of Changsha” is about heart acting like in a movie, “The Great Protector” is about practicing for real. I could practice my way of acting in that play. These two plays have a strong team. The directors gave me room to explore.”
“His life has ups and downs. I also have faced ups and downs in my acting career. I understood his persistence and struggles. To play him at that current state was most appropriate.”
Producer Huo is about being gifted
Wallace also has added one more role recently– as producer Huo. “bBoth rating and viewership are good. It’s Wallace’s first investment. With such a quasi-steady and resolute vision, Wallace said he didn’t know for sure at the beginning. The outcome is a unexpected surprise.
With his change of role he acted differently. He picked up trashes and moved stage properties. “If it’s just an investment I wouldn’t stay at the filming set so long. I also happened to be the male lead. I was there every day. Of course I hoped the operation run smoothly. I needed to care for a lot of stuff". He made the decision to use Tang Yan who once cooperated with him in “Chinese Paladin 3”. He invited the female lead. Tang Yan felt his progress – he’s more open and bright and also helped to coordinate. “Actually I didn’t do it on purpose. It’s like when you see other people’s kids you’ll say they’re lovely and want to touch their head. It’s like that. But to your own baby you wish to hold her in your arms forever.”
First investment, his mood isn’t disturbed
“People think I’m under a lot of pressure because of my first investment. But I feel relaxed. The bigger the matter the more I don’t concern about it. Be big and drive small is the best thing.” At the filming site he tried to make people happy. Many funny scenes weren’t predesigned. They were the outcomes of them playing at the scenes. Wallace said frankly that isn’t a drama with an in-depth theme. “It’s just that the society is sometimes depressed and I hope it will bring a bit of happiness to the audience.”
As long as it’s a girl
12 years on the roads, Wallace has had numerous pink news. But Wallace didn’t admit publicly that he has a girlfriend. So how is his love life?
The lovely side of Wallace is – even though he has been steeped in the showbiz for a long time, he still resists elaborate and lying. For someone who doesn’t talk sweet he sets a high standard for himself. Of course he knows this industry needs endless civility talks, he chooses not to talk instead.
What kind of a girl you want?
He spoke out without thinking: “Just a girl is fine.”
“Must be someone I like.”
“But who would find someone he doesn’t like?”
“Some people want to find someone who is good to him. I hope to find someone who I would give out more.” In Wallace’s heart a good relationship is about mutual understanding and think in other person’s shoe. “This is due to my career. An actor needs his partner to give him more freedom, understanding and trust and support him to do what he wants to do.”
Wallace doesn’t expose himself unless when it’s necessary to do promotions. In the showbiz it’s inevitable to ‘get hit with no course’. Wallace said he’s used to it. “It’s a lie if I say I don’t mind at all. I do mind. But you can’t avoid it. Unless you want to quit.”
He insists on not opening a Weibo. He also seldom uses Wechat – He describes himself as a boring man – “I love to stay at home. Watch TV, Chinese dramas, and study acting. Other things are to eat stuff and take a walk.” In the past he collected automatic watches and trainers. Now he has given up. No desires at a young age isn’t a good thing. But Wallace concerns more about freedom of mind.
“My interpretation of freedom is that you feel you’re alive. It sounds simple. But not too many people know they’re alive. To pursue something they forget about their own existences. Although I’ve a load of work I still find time to make myself feel that I’m alive. For instance when I need to go to work at 10am, I’ll wake up at 7am to climb the mountains, listen to music and watch things around me. I want to know that I’m alive.”
Not only staying alive but he also needs to face the real self. “Sometimes I allow myself to release my temper. Being unruly. Allow myself to feel hard to get along. People expect to see you always smiling if you are an actor. People want to take pictures with you. But what if I’m in a bad mood and I don’t want to work? I try to act directly instead of hiding my emotions in my heart. It’s like you must tolerate everything because you’re a public figure. Actually now I’m already tolerant and accommodate people more. I need an exit for my emotions.”
12 years of time actually haven’t brought many changes. He’s still straightforward and simple. What is the best change in him? “I started being confused, tried hard to convince myself, forced myself and finally l fell in love with my job.” Wallace believes that it’s happiness to find something one loves. Only love can move one’s will without caring about what returns.
Translated by tobeme and edited by yueniang
他不开微博，不说场面话，一年难得抽几天宣传自己。 霍建华说，想了解我，看我的戏就够了，剩下的他要保留一点给自己， 在这个复杂喧嚣的世界里，尽力做个简单的人。 出道12年，这是霍建华对自己的最大要求和坚持。