Wallace Huo: To Love, to be Loved 霍建華 愛我的和我愛的
TV Series Vol 145, Nov 01, 2006
Tanslated by orion
Our conversation with Wallace Huo happened in the filming studio of Modern Lady. It was more like a mutual communication rather than an interview. Emerald on the Roof is no doubt a landmark in Wallace's career. As sweetness only arrives after a lot of hardships, Wallace was happy to share his love and sorrows in making dramas since I told him I was a big fan of Nien-Chong, his role in Emerald. Just as any other hot stars, Wallace has legions of loyal supporters. Throughout these years they had been endorsing his career with every possible means, in public or in private. Wallace was proud of his fans; in the end, what an actor can expect in his whole life are works that he loves and fans who love him. And Wallace has them all, at the age of merely 26.
The Emerald I Love. Nien-Chong is a sophisticated character beyond my words.
T: I just finished watching your Emerald on the Roof. W: (raising his tone, anticipating) Is that right? How do you like it?
T: Very much. Your depiction of a high school kid is phenomenal, so real.
W: (laugh proudly) Thanks a million! I took this role with a lot of pressure. I am afraid that people will think of my performance as pretentious because I am already 26. I worked hard on this role and pulled out all my experience and remembrances as a high school student. I am glad that people like it. It seems that my worry was totally unnecessary. It is not a problem if you have a young heart.
T: The director and the scriptwriters were extremely satisfied with you and SunLi.
W: (smile) This is a great team to work with, both the director and the scriptwriters. In terms of acting, SunLi is one of the greatest among my collaborators. We had great chemistry. I think we had achieved nearly 100% of what we expected in Emerald. I never worked with her before this show. However, the filming went extremely well. We had the same appreciation of our roles in the story. I think we even did better than what we could imagine.
T: There are three phases in Emerald: Hainan Island, Shanghai, and England. I like Hainan the best.
W: I agree with you. White uniform gives you a sense of purity. There are all kinds of pressure in our lives, and it is good to go back to our school years. A pristine youth is what I expect to show in the Hainan part.
T: The show is now broadcasting in Taiwan. Did you get any comments?
W: (smile) I got pretty good comments. My friends like it and encourage me a lot. Some of the comments are even too good to imagine.
T: Is Nien-Chong's house in Hainan a true local building? It is quite unique.
W: Our crew built that house. It had to be unique without being luxurious, since it was a house for a poor family. I believe you can appreciate their creativity with this house facing the sea and a small windmill in front of it. Sometimes I think it will be really happy to live in such ambience.
T: This is your first time playing someone from a poor family.
W: Exactly. How to make the audience identify with your character of a poor kid? You have to BE It rather than ACT IT, doing everything from your heart. When I played Nien-Chong in his early years, I wore ragged clothes without hairstyling or make-up. I went to the filming spots with only my glasses. You got to do some sacrifice if you want to bring out the essence of this role. There is no way you can be chic as a poor kid. For a kid grown up in Hainan Island, he must be sun tanned and thin, because he has no money. I want that kind of feeling. Nien-Chong is the most sophisticated character I have ever played; he is beyond my words.
T: I was impressed by the scene in Shanghai where you walked on the street with your light clothing.
W: (laugh) Yeh, I wore that dirt-color jacket. You thought that I was acting? No, I was really frozen. (when was it?) November, I guess. It was freezing in Shanghai. With my light clothing, it gave the audience the impression of a miserable man.
T: It seems that the China version lacks the wedding scene of Nien-Chong and Pei-Yu in the hospital. Some audience found it confusing to see Nien-Chong and Chia-Chi break up in the end. Can you help us on that?
W: Pei-Yu was severely burned and the make-up might be too much for the censorship of Chinese TV bureau, so they cut that out. In fact it is an important scene, in which Pei-Yu was burned and lying in bed, while I proposed to her in front of the people and said I will marry her no matter what she becomes. It was very touchy. The Chinese version may skip this and jump to where I asked SunLi to support my decision, and it did look too abrupt. I hope people have the chance to see a more complete, director's cut.
T: Even so this is a tragedy with a lot of regrets in the end.
W: It is. People will definitely feel sad when they watch it. But the idea is that even though you cannot be together with the one you love, he or she is always the love in your heart. It is the same in our real life. The one you marry may not be your true love. However, I do not quite agree that it is a 100% tragedy; there is still hope, and there is still love.
T: I may want to advise my friends to skip the ending part because it is so sad, especially when Nien-Chong walked on the beach with the emerald necklace.
W: It is not like that. My interpretation is that when Nien-Chong walked on the beach with the necklace, he had gone through that difficult situation and reached a deeper appreciation of their love. In the original script Nien-Chong walked in deep solitude with his eyes wet in tears. But I don't want to dump the audience in despair, so I let him walk with a smile and look at the necklace with hope in his heart. I try to light it up a bit instead of making it a bona fide tragedy.
My fans love me. I am touched by their tenderness.
T: You had been working in China in the past year. How do you interact with your fans in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other countries?
W: I will read their messages on my official website. I am very quiet and leave few messages. But when the time is right, I do write something on the website. When I finished filming Emerald earlier this year, I left a message because it struck my heart.
T: You had your birthday when you filmed Emerald. I heard that your fans wrote a semi-biographical fiction for you, and it was 120,000 characters in total, from your debut in show biz to when you gave your first concert.
W: I had my birthday last year in Shanghai, and I kept that book. I did not read it immediately when I was busy with filming. But I will when I have time. I have great fans; some of them can be good scriptwriters! (smile)
T: There was also another fan who wrote a huge novel on At the Dolphin Bay. Do you have any memory?
W: Yes, she is from Malaysia. When I met her at an autograph section in Malaysia (correction: Singapore), I told her my appreciation and praised her for doing a fantastic job. My fans are truly talented and considerate.
T: Do you know what you fans call you, besides the well-known Little Wallace?
W: I have no idea. What? (“Wallace the nerdy”) Ha Ha Ha! I am totally happy with it as long as they are happy. I will be more than satisfied that they enjoy my dramas and appreciate my constant improvement in acting.
Wallace in reality: looking forward to a future breakthrough
T: Nien-Chong had his first romance in senior high school. How about you, Wallace?
W: Ha Ha, Let me think about it…junior high school, I guess.
T: If there is a girl in your life who loves you as Pei-Yu does for Nien-Chong, will you do the same thing for her?
W: No. I will find someone whom I love. (smile) I will do more for her and try to make her happy, if I love her more than she loves me. If she keeps doing things for me just because she loves me without my response, I will feel sorry for her and for myself. Emerald is a romantic dream and Nien-Chong is a lover in that dream. In reality there is more to consider.
T: Among your works, Romance of Red Dust, Sound of Colors and Emerald on the Roof have been broadcasted, Wu Shi Lan finished and Modern Lady under vigorous filming. This is a stunning number of dramas. How do you think about yourself this year?
W: (smile) It is not stunning, really, and I just keep my output at a constant level. For me, however, there are so many interesting things happening. For example, I tried comedy in Wu Shi Lan, and challenged fashion series in Modern Lady. Sound of Colors and Emerald are again completely different dramas. I am really lucky to have a lot of chances. Maybe you guys feel the same way as me. I will try to follow this principle to meet all your expectations.
T: What's your rule of taking offers in drama? What kind of role do you want to try most?
W: I can choose my own favorite offers now, which is something I could not do when I just started in this business. So I try not to play similar roles. I wish I can try a lot of different images and do a good job on all of them. My rules for taking offers are good scripts, good directors, and roles in which I can show my potential. I still want to try a lot of roles, and I hope I keep making progress year after year.
T: Michelle Yip mentioned a while ago that if possible she may work with you again in Chinese Ghost Story 2 in December. Is that real?
W: I am not sure, because there are several projects for me to decide. I may make one more drama after Modern Lady all the way to the New Year.