CALL it the "uglification" of Aaron Kwok.
In Hong Kong sci-fi action movie City Under Siege, audiences will see the handsome 44-year-old like never before.
In 10 minutes of the film, he appears as a grossly overweight sad sack of a clown, who has a date with destiny. For the "fat" scenes, Kwok donned a 10kg fat suit and looks, well, nothing like himself.
In an e-mail interview with my paper, the actor said that, hey, the uglier the better.
"The more different the role is from my real self, the happier it makes me, because that means I have more space to express creativity," he said.
"Besides, making yourself ugly is purely for the...role, to make it more real and comprehensive." City Under Siege also stars Taiwanese babe Shu Qi and Taiwanese actor Collin Chou.
The story follows a group of circus performers who undergo severe mutation and gain superhuman abilities.
The overweight condition of Kwok's character, Sunny, appears only as part of the storyline, so you will get to see the star as his usual, good-looking self in most of the movie.
But the youthful-looking actor has increasingly been swopping his suave, pretty-boy roles for those of a more hefty calibre.
"To be a more abundant and skilful actor, an artist needs to continually accumulate a variety of different, good roles," he said in the e-mail.
He added that he prefers to take on challenging, unexpected roles as they are incredibly satisfying. His choices have been winning him accolades.
Kwok nabbed two Best Actor awards in the 2005 and 2006 Golden Horse Awards for his roles in Divergence and After This Our Exile, respectively.
He is the second actor in the history of the Golden Horse Awards to win the Best Actor award consecutively, after Jackie Chan accomplished this in 1992 and 1993.
Films like suspense thrillers Murderer (2009) and The Detective (2007) also earned him Best Actor nods.
Whether City Under Siege will do the same for Kwok remains to be seen. Already, the film is raising eyebrows as some critics have noted that the movie bears a strong resemblance to The Dark Night and X-Men.
But the actor refuted the "copycat" rumours adamantly.
He said film director Benny Chan wanted to explore the theme of how, ultimately, physical attributes do not matter if one has a good heart.
"There is absolutely no way he copied it from any Western movie," Kwok insisted.
And is he worried he might turn some fans off, given that Sunny is physically unattractive?
No way, said the actor. If anything, he believes he will gain more fans.
"The audience nowadays is very intelligent. They root for sincere and serious performances by actors. They will not base their support purely on superficial physical features," he said earnestly.