Wallace Huo: A Grownup Capricorn
Popular TV, May 2007
Zhong Xiaogang’s love passion has been fully expressed by Guihai Yidao.
Wallace’s sharp facial features have remained the same since his period of old idol dramas in Taiwan.
Previously, people’s impression of him is was of an introvert and gloomy person.
Today what we mostly see are his smile while continuously saying ‘responsibility’ and ‘consideration’.
Wallace Huo, wearing blue sporty clothes and a pair of white Nike shoes, had a reddish face caused by the sun. He gave us a big smile when we opened his room door. The hotel is built against a mountain backdrop and the room is clean and has a classic setup. The music from the Apple iPod is soft and delicate. It even brought out a slightly sad feeling. When we mentioned the dead of Xu Weilun (Note from the translator: 许玮伦, who passed away on Jan 26, 2007 at the age of 29 because of a car accident), we all remained silent. There was only music in the room. That sadness drilled deep into Wallace’s heart.
That moment didn't last long, though. Most of the time he tried to remain sunny. Because he said he has grown up. He should think from other people’s shoes. He should consider other people’s feeling. At his left hand side there was a well-prepared interview agenda. It was full of his hand writing. Suddenly I felt Wallace Huo has grown up overnight.
Being a director in “A Mobile Love Story” was hard work
At the filming site all girls referred him as ‘Hua ge’ when actually they’re older than him; Wallace’s birthday is Dec 26, 1979; that happens only because people respected his devotion to work. It’s enjoyable to work with him. In fact when I searched the internet I discovered the Sina net referred his birthday as Dec 26, 1982. But he insisted on correcting it. He was anxious: “Will I lie to you about my birthday? I show you my passport!” He was serious like a child.
Later on we went to Hangzhou to visit him. He changed into suits and appeared to be thin. He didn’t have any advantage in term of height when standing next to Cecilia Han, who is 170cm and wearing high heel shoes. However, they looked like a perfect people when he stood next to another ‘girlfriend’, Yvonne Lim. He would say this: “In fact, it’s good to have 2 girlfriends”. Of course he was joking. Only because he was still single he was longing for love. He hoped to walk holding hands with his girlfriend on the tree-lined avenue in the evening. Getting married at around 33-35 is his wish, only because he should be more matured with a stable career at that time. He should have the ability to marry someone. Whether it’s needed or not he would feed her well. When dinning, Wallace is always the one who give the orders: “Because I know what they like to eat!” In a recent dinning he ordered the signature dish of spicy grass carp and 2 home cooked dishes.
“A Mobile Love Story” is his second time cooperation with Director Jiang Jiajun. The first time is was with Kristy Yang in “Modern Beauty”. There’s a mutual understanding between them. In this drama he is an advertising director. “I’d yell at people and experienced being a director. To me the director is the soul of the crew. An important person. The director controls the atmosphere and resolves problems at the filming site. It’s quite difficult. I’m satisfied (acting as a director) just being in the film. “ He thought of being a director and a manger before. But this takes time.
It isn’t easy to change
“There are things you can’t do even if you wish (when the road is blocked”), God will open another road for you. You’ll find that road more enjoyable. If you insist on walking the same road you’ll find it very difficult.” Wallace entered the showbiz hoping to be a singer. But today ‘actor Wallace Huo’ is his title which is the second road opened up to him by God. He has no time for singing now. The best he does is going to KTV to sing and drink with friends and relax his mind.
Prior to joining the military service at 19, Wallace was spotted by an agency company. The company arranged for him to work backstage. His first job was as assistant to Zeng Guocheng. He worked day and night following his schedules. Later on Wallace joined the military service. In those 2 years he trained with the crew, studied, drove the car for the commander, practiced his patience and obedience as well as fought against time. After releasing from military service he auditioned for “Star”. His acting and singing for the theme song made him successful overnight. Later he repeatedly filmed a series of idol dramas including “Westside Story”, “At Dolphin Bay” and “100% Senorita” until finally he met “Hands in the Hair” and “World’s Finest”. He would say: “I’m not in a hurry to change this situation. A make-over takes time. It isn’t that one day I tell you I’ve completely made over. That’s it. You’ll slowly see the differences. That’s change.” He believes it was just good to previously taste the idol dramas. He is longing to act ‘ordinary’ characters. He would say he didn’t watch “The Meteor Garden”. “Emerald on the Roof” is the last time he dressed school clothes.
In Baidu Bar his character as “Guihai Yidao” in “World’s Finest” won the internet pal’s poll by way ahead. In fact, Director Wong Jing was worried when he asked me to play Yidao. My acting was immature and not well trained. After all it’s my first ancient drama. First time I used the wire. Also it was a special character.” Stanley Kwan invited him to act in “Hands in the Hair” as hair stylist A Hua. A Hua and ‘Rosamund Kwan’ played ambiguous feelings, they also had a passionated scene. He treated it as a challenge. He doesn’t regret for it. “I didn’t think I could do it. But I did it. It proves that I’m brave. After that breaking through acting, I’m not afraid of anything. I dare to be more open. After that, a kissing scene is an easy thing for me ever since. I can have a kissing scene with a girl I first meet at the set.” Although “Guihai Yidao” received favorable comments, his acting as A Hua was awkward. He has learned not to mind those things. “Is Guihai Yidao popular? I don’t even know!” He was in doubt and asked his assistant. After he saw several nods, he still took no notice and gave a little smile, as plain as water.
So today Wallace is hoping to try more themes, even a homosexual theme. “Not beautiful such as “Bishonen” nor “Happy Together”, should be an ordinary theme such as “Lan Yu”. I’m relaxed with Liu Ye’s character. I’m afraid I can’t play Hu Jun’s character.” Other themes includes situation comedies such as “Swordsman”. Wallace instantly showed his funny talent. At the shooting site when he saw the photographer felt tired he gave him a piggy face. Now the cartoonist in “Sound of Colors” is no longer a dreamy character. “Emerald on the Roof” is about a love story of ordinary people. Li Jing in “Romance of Red Dust” is humor, “Love at First Fight” is nonsense. “Now I don’t play the characters that people likes or expects. For characters I haven’t tried I’m happy to act them.” His career is getting better, he has more choices of characters. From a newbie to now, he said he has fought alone all by himself. It’s a time that has made him matured. “I admit I got more chances because of my look. But if I am late every day and don’t study well and my acting is crappy I can’t survive thus far. No use even with better looking.” He believes the secret of success lies on dedication. This is the basic professional responsibility of an actor.
Happiness of an ordinary person
He was sent to an elite school when he was small by his parents who worked in courthouse. He felt inferior when others were scored better and richer than him. He learned to protect himself. After he grew up, he refused all personal interviews. He chased people out of the door when they tried to understand him. In the new year of 2007, when others were celebrating, he had a beef noodle all by himself at a restaurant below his flat. Because it was New Year day, he added a small dish and a bottle of root beer. “I like that state of mind. Because I process such characteristic I’m not afraid of losing myself. I only want to make myself better. That betterment is real. That betterment is from the soul….”
Wallace knew Xu Weilun in Taiwan from a drama. She was his girlfriend in the show. “That girl was especially nice. I was new but she was already popular. She was optimistic and helped me a lot. But fate determines many things. This is a pity.” At this point Wallace lighted a white Marlboro cigarette. The atmosphere was a bit oppressive. Wallace’s matureness very often is unconsciously revealed. When he was assistant to Zeng Guocheng and as the male lead in Elva Hsiao and Sherry A Mei’s MV, he went through being unknown to the public and was suffering. He couldn’t help but serve the popular stars for 3 years. Now as a star himself, he admires the ordinary living. They can date recklessly and care for nobody and can stay with their family. He would say: “This is something I can’t control. Live would be unhappy if I cared too much about gains and losses.”
After each film Wallace returns to ordinary life. He gets up in the morning and goes hiking. Dines with friends and plays basketball. “This way of living to me is sediment. I really don’t treat myself as a star. I’m only an actor, not a star. Putting up an umbrella or wearing sunglasses before going out are really unnecessary. I can just go out with sporting clothes.”
“Basketball is my love. It’s like my teacher. When I play basketball I sometimes forget about myself. That feeling is good. Basketball is something I can find myself beside acting.” Because of his love of basketball he extends it to another item. The luxurious things in Wallace’s home are his over 50 trainers. They’re packed in a shoe cabinet in one of his rooms. The price is around Rmb1,000-2,000. The most expensive one is over Rmb8,000. “I suppress pressure by taking out my trainers and look at them. I feel satisfied. Every day I change into new shoes before going to work. I’ll feel satisfied that day. I can do better that day.”
Translation by tobeme; edition by yuaniang.
蓝色的运动装和白色的耐克球鞋，脸上因为天气的潮热而微微泛红，霍建华（wallace）打开他房间的门，给了我一个灿烂的笑脸。 倚山而立的酒店顶楼最裏侧的房间布置的古典而整洁，从“Apple Ipod”裏放出来的音乐悠长而细腻，甚至略带著稍稍的伤感，在说到已逝的许玮伦的时候，大家都不说话，房间裏只有音乐，那一刻的感伤一直抵达到了霍建华的内心深处。