» Features

Go ahead, shoot me

Gunning for movies: Before his latest role as a deputy police commissioner in Cold War (above), Aaron Kwok has played a manic cop in Divergence (2005) and a deadbeat gambler in After This Our Exile (2006), both of which won him the Best Actor prize at the Golden Horse Awards. (PHOTOS: ENCORE FILMS)

Publication Date : 14-11-2012


Hong Kong singer-actor Aaron Kwok is the only one left among the Four Heavenly Kings who has yet to walk down the aisle and he is in no hurry to do so.

Andy Lau and Jacky Cheung, both 51, are married. Lai, 45, was married to model Gaile Lok until they divorced last month.

For Kwok, however, who has long been linked to China model-actress Lynn Hung, 32, marriage is not on the cards “just yet”.

Speaking to Life! at an interview at Equarius Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa, the perpetually boyish-looking 47-year-old says in Cantonese accented Mandarin solemnly: “This is about personal choice, and maybe my peers feel like it’s the time in their lives to focus on starting a family. But for me, work is still my top priority.

“I feel like there is still so much more that I can achieve until I can say that I’ve reached my peak in my career. I want to try to see what getting to the top feels like while I still can. New work opportunities are coming at me, one after the other, so I just cannot put them aside for marriage or kids just yet. I still have much to do.”

You know he is serious when he says that he is passionate and dedicated to his craft.

Over the past nine months, he has been busy splitting his time between a packed Asian concert tour schedule and promoting his latest movie, Hong Kong cop thriller Cold War.

The film, about the power struggle between two top police department chiefs in Hong Kong, also stars Tony Leung Ka Fai, 54, Eddie Peng, 30, and Aarif Rahman, 25. Directed by first-time writer directors Longman Leung and Sunny Luk, it opens in Singapore cinemas tomorrow.

Yet, in spite of looking rather tired during the interview, he gets visibly excited talking about his work and takes time to ponder over every question before giving thoughtful, detailed responses.

The multi-talented performer is famously chatty at press interviews. According to reports, even when answering questions via e-mail, he will write so much that he asks if the reporters can “try not to cut too much as I have spent so much time on them”.

TV reporters in Hong Kong are allegedly also “wary” of filming his interviews in general, as he will talk so much at one go that they have a difficult time editing the raw footage.

There is good reason why Kwok is so fired up about his work these days – he is enjoying a new lease of life as an acclaimed actor.

Though he has been acting in various projects since his first appearance on TV in the TVB series Genghis Khan in 1987, he has never been known primarily as an actor.

Rather, he has always been thought of first and foremost as a pop star – one without the strongest of vocals but who can always be counted on to deliver spectacular live performances that are packed with slick, fancy dance moves.

Some of his biggest hits from his discography of more than 60 music albums include "Para Para Sakura", "Wild City", "Sing This Song" and "Should I Quietly Walk Away".

But ever since he won his first Golden Horse Award for Best Actor in 2005 for his performance as a manic cop in Divergence (2005), the film industry and movie fans have started seeing Kwok in a new light.

In 2006, he clinched his second award in the same category for his portrayal of a deadbeat gambler in After This Our Exile (2006).

He is only the second person to ever win the Best Actor award in two consecutive years. Jackie Chan was given the same recognition for his work on Police Story 3 in 1992 and Crime Story a year later.

Kwok says seriously: “I think in recent years, people are seeing me as more than just a singer. Movies are a separate and different kind of creative field that give me the chance to express myself in alternate ways than the concert stage.

“I’m always looking to create new breakthroughs, and for now, I think the movie field is where I can do that. I find acting even more exciting and fun than singing at the moment, precisely because it’s newer and harder for me. That is also why I’ll be dedicating more time to movies for now.”

He has acted in a number of films, including sci-fi action flick City Under Siege (2010), where he played a circus performer with superhuman abilities, and romantic comedy Love In Space (2011), where he played a lovelorn astronaut.

On whether he considers himself a good actor, he replies by saying unabashedly that he has “garnered the trust of people in the industry”.

“Investors invest money in me, and directors want to cast me, because they admire my work, my professionalism, my talent.

“For Cold War, my role is a very senior member of staff in the police department and should be older in age, so the producers could have picked anyone else, like Simon Yam.

“But they picked me and made me colour my hair white to look older, so there must have been a reason for that. They must have chosen me because there was something about my work that they liked.”

Talk about his new movie leads him to quickly dish out compliments about his co-star Tony Leung Ka Fai, whose character in the film is at loggerheads with his own.

Kwok says breezily: “Tony is one of my personal favourite actors in Hong Kong because he is just so good at what he does. When I was first offered the movie, the filming schedule actually clashed with my concert tour schedule.

“But other than the fact that I loved the script so much, I just had to take on the movie because I heard that Tony had signed on. I pushed back my concerts by six months just to accommodate the film.”

Another person he got to share a brief scene with is fellow Heavenly King Lau, who makes a cameo appearance.

It is the first time Kwok got to act with Lau in more than two decades. The last time they collaborated on a film together was in 1991’s adventure fantasy Saviour Of The Soul.

Kwok says with a chuckle: "I had only a short scene with Andy here and it was just not enough. I don't feel satisfied enough but I have to say, even just in that tiny scene alone, you can see how accurate an actor like Andy is in portraying his role. It's amazing."

While he is full of praise for his co-stars, he equally impressed at least one of his fellow cast members with his work ethic.

In a separate interview with Life!, his Cold War co-star Taiwanese-Canadian actor Eddie Peng says: "We'd been filming tirelessly all day for so many hours and were completely beat at 2 in the morning, ready to turn in to bed.

"But Aaron will then go straight to dance rehearsals to prepare for his upcoming concerts. Can you believe that?

"To still have the energy to practise his dance moves at 2am? It's nothing short of praiseworthy."

During Kwok's most recent concert held here at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in September, it was reported that he performed aerial somersaults, among other acrobatic-like stunts.

Kwok says: "The energy required of me in my concerts is more than 10 times of what I needed 10 years ago, but that does not mean I want to stop anytime soon.

"As the years go by, I actually raise the expectations for myself even higher. Just because I've earned some awards doesn't mean I should take things lightly.

"Right now, these years are the golden age of my career in terms of the number of great opportunities that I am getting, so I will continue to seek only personal excellence.

"Otherwise, I will regret it in the future, for passing this wonderful time with only half-hearted efforts."


Mobile Apps Newsletters ANN on You Tube