Actor-singer Julian Cheung had a hand in creating his comeback role as a playboy pilot in this year's Hong Kong television drama Triumph In The Skies 2.
Cheung, who was in town for the 18th Singapore Hit Awards last Friday night, says the hit drama's producers had asked him what type of role he would like.
His response: He wanted to be the polar opposite of Francis Ng's strait-laced character.
Ng reprised his role as senior pilot Samuel Tong, who is "very professional and square", says Cheung, 42.
"Because I play his rival, I wanted to act as somebody totally different," he tells reporters backstage at the awards, held at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
As a result, the arrogant and flamboyant pilot Hsia Yang was created. His character, nicknamed Captain Cool, is a hit with the women.
The series also stars actors Myolie Wu, Fala Chen and Ron Ng.
When asked to compare the small screen persona against his real-life personality, Cheung is quick to interject that he is "totally different".
"I'm definitely not as cool as he is or as popular with the ladies," he says.
Cheung is married to Hong Kong actress Anita Yuen, also 42. They have a seven-year-old son.
However, he jokes that he might have brought his "cool" to Singapore, as he was dressed head-to-toe in a sharp black winter suit, with a crisp white shirt peeking through.
In a mock-serious tone, he adds that he might have worn too many layers of clothing for the tropical weather, delivering a line which may well have come from his on-screen Captain Cool instead.
"The female stars here are dressed so sexily, I want to peel off my layers of clothes to coordinate with them. But I think I still have to preserve my modesty."
Discussing his role, he says: "Captain Cool may be someone who is very proud, but he is also very competent and capable."
Calling his role an "unexpected success", he says he is hoping to ride on the drama's popularity, by working on an album with Cantonese and Mandarin tunes.
It has been two years since he last acted in a television drama. He was best known for his roles in popular Hong Kong dramas such as The Legend Of The Condor Heroes (1994) and Cold Blood Warm Heart (1996).
His role has clearly catapulted him back into the limelight, as Cheung arrived to the loudest screams at the awards, organised by MediaCorp radio station Y.E.S. 93.3FM to honour the best in Mandopop.
Taiwanese singers Alien Huang and Jolin Tsai picked up the two top awards for most popular male and female artiste, while Hong Kong singer-actress Karen Mok picked up the Best Female Vocalist Award for her English record, Somewhere I Belong.
Hong Kong veteran band Grasshopper were presented with an honorary award, and revealed their plans to hold a concert in Singapore in March.
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