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'My bod must be worth seeing'

Despite being one of the best-looking actors in MediaCorp, Julian Hee decides to leave the TV station. -TNP

Sat, Mar 07, 2009
The New Paper

By Tan Kee Yun

WHEN friends told local actor Julian Hee that his naked pictures were circulating online, it was a case of deja vu for him.

The 30-year-old hunk has had 'nude' photos of himself on the Internet when he was younger. Those turned out to be fake.

But these new pictures are the real thing.

They show him in the buff, with his private parts covered by a towel.

In another shot, his groin is strategically blocked by a fire extinguisher.

The pictures were featured in various slideshows uploaded on video-sharing website YouTube.

Asked about the pictures, he explained that they are film stills from Perfect Cut 2, as his character was embroiled in a nude scandal in the later part of the series.

The second season of the series, a sleeper hit drama about plastic surgery, debuted on Wednesday on Channel U at 10pm.

'I don't know how that person got hold of them,' he said with a shrug.

Mr Molby Low, the executive producer for the series, told The New Paper that the pictures were not meant for circulation until the airing of the series.

He denied that the leak was a publicity stunt.

He said: 'My production team and I have no idea how the pictures got into YouTube.

'Our guess is that after we made soft copies of the pictures, they were sent to various departments (within MediaCorp) and circulated internally. Somehow, they must have got leaked along the way.'

Mr Low said the four pictures that were leaked were the ones that were going to be shown onscreen anyway.

He said some photos did not make the cut.

He added: 'The nude pictures were part of a twist we wanted to unveil in the later part of the series.

'But now that they've been leaked, audiences already know that Julian's character will get embroiled in some nude scandal.

'We actually wanted to make that plot line a surprise.'

Mr Low said he had a long discussion with Julian over the photo shoot.

'We did discuss initially whether we should take the pictures as you see them, or whether we could Photoshop them.

'We felt it would be more convincing if he really took them as they were. It was good that Julian was open to it and very professional.'

Julian confessed he was in the buff when the shoot was done.

Nothing to be shy about

'On the set, the photographer and the cast were all guys, so there was nothing to be shy about. If you've been through national service, it's not such a big deal.

'My private parts were covered throughout,' he explained.

He said he doesn't see the fuss over the pictures, and when he first heard about them being leaked online, he 'just brushed it off'.

He's also trying to see the lighter side of it.

'The consolation is that if the pictures were leaked, it means my bod must be worth seeing!'

It's not the first time it's happened.

He recalled his younger, modelling days when nude pictures of him were found online.

But even though the pictures 'apparently had 'full frontal nudity', he said they weren't real.

He said the furthest he's gone was for these series of photos.

However, he seemed unfazed by all the attention.

That may be because he sees himself as non-conformist and anti-establishment.

It is precisely that devil-may-care and independent streak that resulted in his deciding to leave MediaCorp after only a year. He left the station officially last August.

Before that, he was an actor with Dream Forest Productions for three years.

His departure from MediaCorp is a surprise considering his good looks and hunk status.

Why leave when he obviously stood out from the pack with his fitter-than-fit, toned physique?

Was it because he was not getting enough meaty, leading man roles?

He said with a grin: 'I would be lying if I deny it. That's certainly part of the reason.

'But it (his departure from MediaCorp) really had more to do with the fact that I've come to a point where I realised I got to make long-term plans for myself. I'm already 30, not exactly young any more.

'Acting is my passion, but it's more of a hobby. Career-wise, I need something that's more secure, stable, with results that are proportionate to the effort I put in.'

He revealed that he will be starting a health supplement shop.

He said: 'Everything's still in the initial stages at this moment, but it's exciting to be able to make your own decisions and not be tied down by higher management.'

The parting with his former bosses was mutual and amicable, he stressed.

'They (his former management) did ask me to reconsider, but I stood by my decision, as I believe it's time to strike out on my own.'

However, he said he will continue to act.

Perfect Cut 2 is his last screen appearance as a full-time MediaCorp employee.

His first project as a freelancer will be the Channel 5 drama Red Thread in April.

He said: 'I still love acting a lot and should a good script come by, I might even plead to be in it.

'Of course, now that I'm doing this part-time, I know I probably won't have as many plum roles landing on my lap as the full-time actors. It's inevitable.'

One thing's for sure, he's not in showbiz for the fame game.

'Fame is addictive. I've seen how people gained it, and then lose it,' he said, but declined to give any names.

'It's painful when you lose it, so I'd rather not be addicted to it in the first place.'

He has also faced criticism for his acting abilities, but he's taking them all in his stride.

'If there is truth in the criticism, I learn from it and try to improve. But at the same time, I won't let myself be enveloped in negativity for too long.

'It doesn't do any good for my morale.'

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