HONG KONG - Hong Kong actor Him Law is not one of those hunks who is eager to shake off his heart-throb status and have everyone focus on his acting instead.
In fact, he readily admits to regularly putting "a lot of care" into his looks, adding that it is the "duty" of an entertainer to look good.
"As entertainment artists, we are always in the public eye, so I do think it's important to look good.
"I started working out only after becoming an actor, you know," he tells Life! frankly in Cantonese at a sit-down interview.
The 29-year-old is so known for his pretty face and massive pectorals that he is nicknamed "juxiong tongyan" (Chinese for "huge chest, baby face") in Hong Kong media reports.
He says with a laugh, however, that he feels like his "time has passed" with that "badge of honour".
"There are so many buff men around these days, so I'm really old news in that arena. But it's all good pressure - the fact that they're around is a good reminder for me to stay fit."
He was in town to promote the launch of new entertainment TV channel cHK (SingTel mio TV Channel 510), which features his TV crime drama SFC In Action, about white-collar criminals and their shady business deals.
The actor, who debuted in 2005 in the action movie Mob Sister, has become hot property in the past year due to his hit film and TV roles. They include those in TV dramas such as Tiger Cubs II (2013) and Triumph In The Skies II (2013), and the movie Young And
Dangerous: Reloaded (2013), a reboot of the iconic 1996 Ekin Cheng gangster movie Young And Dangerous.
"I'm just really grateful that I've been given the opportunity to try so many different roles. There's still a lot I want to do and I will continue to work hard.
"I'd hate audiences to think that I'm only playing a version of myself - I want them to see me as versatile, as someone who can play any role."
Of course, part of the reason he is so often in the news lately is due to rumours about his love life. He has reportedly been dating A-list
TVB actress Tavia Yeung, 34, since they met on the set of last year's hit TVB medical drama The Hippocratic Crush.
His role in that show as a neurosurgery specialist trainee earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the TVB Anniversary Awards last year.
Though he declined to answer any questions about their supposed relationship, he remained sunny throughout the interview, adding that he "completely understands" why journalists are forever hounding him about it.
He says: "The media asks these questions because these are the topics that the public wants to know more about. As public figures, it's only normal that people would be interested in this kind of thing. But sometimes, I wish we would get some privacy."
8 Questions with Him Law
1. You are considered one of Hong Kong's hottest actors of your generation, as most other actors there are older veterans. What do you think about that claim?
Oh, I can't possibly agree that I'm the hottest - there are so many other rising actors who are doing well. Look at people like Jason Chan and Adason Lo. They are all doing well, don't you think? It's just nice that we're given opportunities to further our careers, all together.
2. To look so good, what are your exercise and diet regimens?
I used to work out quite a bit at the gym, but these days I'm too busy. But I'll definitely watch what I eat. When I was younger, I would eat everything - no matter how fatty and greasy it was. But now, it's all about less salt, less sugar and less oil. Also, I eat a lot of vegetables. I'm getting older, so I must take better care of my looks and health.
3. Are you willing to make yourself ugly for a role?
Definitely. I take care of my looks not just to look good in public. It's also because some of my roles call for it. For example, if I play a fireman, I cannot look too out of shape, right? So if I happen to get a role that requires me to look ugly, then by all means, I will do it.
4. Out of your roles so far, which is your favourite?
It would probably be the one in Young And Dangerous: Reloaded (2013). As you know, it was the reboot of the Ekin Cheng gangster movie (1996), which I was a huge fan of. I felt a lot of pressure doing the movie because so many people remember Ekin in the role, but I wanted to take it on anyway because it was one of the few chances I got to portray someone who is more rebellious.
5. Does that mean you feel like you have been pigeonholed in nice guy roles so far?
Yes, sometimes I feel I've been limited. People are always casting me in good guy roles, such as a good fireman, or a good policeman, or a good doctor. In Young And Dangerous: Reloaded, I finally got to swear a little and get into fights. As actors, you hope to do a variety of roles.
6. Many Hong Kong actors have gone over to China to act. Do you have plans to do that?
Sure, but not just China. I want to come here to Singapore to act as well one day, or Malaysia, or Japan or Korea. In Hong Kong, the South Korean or Japanese artists who come over always get such a huge reception, and it would be great if Hong Kong artists can do that as well in all corners of the world.
7. If you go to China though, you must work on your spoken Mandarin. How do you feel about that?
Yes, that is something I really need to work harder on. Mandarin pronunciations are quite difficult, but to better myself, I must work hard. If one day, a China producer suddenly shows up at my doorstep and offers me a role, I have to be prepared for it.
8. How would you like to be remembered?
Hopefully, I can be like Ekin and have a memorable role like his Young And Dangerous movie that people can remember me by. Or even a whole string of really memorable roles. That would be really nice.
SFC In Action airs on cHK (SingTel mio TV Channel 510) on Sundays at 9pm.
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