Local veteran actor Chen Tianwen has hit the big time again, thanks to two videos that went viral.
The first clip, Unbelievable, was released on Monday and the follow-up, Sandcastle In My Heart, which co-stars local actress Irene Ang, was released on Wednesday. The clips, both two minutes long, have garnered more than a million views in total.
The videos, uploaded on MediaCorp Channel 5’s Facebook page, are promotional material for Channel 5 comedy series Spouse For House 2.
Chen plays Ah Beng Eric Kwek, dressed in a retro 70s outfit complete with a wig.
He performs in English, in a singing style modelled after local Mandarin pop king Huang Qingyuan.
The popularity of his music videos also saw Chen being featured on TIME’s Facebook page yesterday.
For Chen, who has been in showbiz for three decades, this unexpected late-career resurgence in popularity is a blessing.
And it comes soon after his role as a hapless jobless father in the award-winning 2013 local film Ilo Ilo.
Speaking to The New Paper, the humble 52-year-old said in Mandarin over the phone: “I feel very lucky to be more high-profile now. This feels like my second peak in the industry after working hard for so many years. My efforts are paying off.”
He added: “However, even though I have such results now, I must still continue to work hard. I cannot slack off because such popularity is short-term and will go away soon.”
Chen, who married China-born housewife Bao Xiao Hui, 30, last May, is expecting a boy on June 8 and feels that his unborn baby has brought him good luck.
The first-time father is excited about the arrival of his child and said they have been busy shopping for the baby’s clothes and food recently.
Chen, who is filming the long-running Channel 8 series 118, has also sought parenting advice from his co-stars.
He laughed and said: “They told me to get all the sleep I can now, because once my kid is out, I won’t be able to sleep much. They already gave me some mental preparation.”
Chen has gone from playing heroic leading men when he started in show business in 1984 to overlooked supporting parts in the past decade, but his dedication to his craft has never wavered.
He said matter-of-factly of Unbelievable’s success: “I agreed to do it because it is my job and I have to do it well. I felt that the song is nice and catchy, but I certainly did not expect the overwhelming response.”
He added: “Hopefully, this popularity can land me more commercials and gigs. I will have an extra mouth to feed after my baby is born, I need to work even harder.”
"I felt that the song is nice and catchy, but I certainly did not expect the overwhelming response." said local actor Chen Tianwen on Unbelievable’s success.