Anthony Neely: Eyes on Hollywood

He might be better known for his raspy voice and songwriting talent in the Mandopop world, but Anthony Neely is actually hungry for Hollywood.

"It's definitely one of my fantasies, starring opposite heavyweights like Anthony Hopkins, James Franco, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Leonardo DiCaprio," said the 27-year-old American-Taiwanese singer in an interview with M at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on Monday afternoon.

He was in town to promote his third Mandarin studio effort, Friends.

He said: "Oh man, if I could be in the same movie as Leonardo, I wouldn't even mind being an extra."

Neely - who became an overnight Mandopop sensation four years ago after blowing everyone away on Taiwan's top singing reality competition One Million Star as a guest contender - has recently taken steps to turn fantasy into reality.

CRAZE

If he gets his way, his first Hollywood vehicle could very well be the kind of romance-adventure and vampire-themed schtick that has sent legions of teen fangirls shrieking in excitement.

In April, he boldly tweeted popular US young adult fiction author Cassandra Clare, 40, expressing his interest to play the role of Eurasian Shadowhunter (a half-angel, half-human warrior) Jem Carstairs for a possible movie remake of her The Infernal Devices trilogy, which is currently in development.

"If you're willing to consider me, I'll talk to my company. Oh, and I'll read the books," he tweeted Clare.

Neely quickly followed up with another post, where he uploaded a picture of Clockwork Angel (the first book of The Infernal Devices) and wrote: "I got me (sic) some reading to do."

According to reports, The Infernal Devices, the prequel to Clare's hugely successful six-book series The Mortal Instruments, is currently in the process of scripting.

The film adaptation of the first book The Mortal Instruments, City Of Bones, was released in August, starring swoonsome Taiwanese model-actor Godfrey Gao as a powerful warlock.

CHALLENGE

When quizzed about his overt cinematic ambitions, Neely grinned widely.

"After my Twitter conversation with Cassandra Clare, the buzz died down for a while. The movie's not in pre-production yet by the way," the California native explained.

He added: "I've read her books and I'm absolutely keen on the role. Young adult isn't my favourite fiction genre, but hey, I enjoyed Twilight too.

"I just don't know how and whether I'm eventually going to land the part. Well, at least I've sent her a message."

One thing is for sure, portraying Carstairs will not be a walk in the park.

Carstairs, who's of British-Chinese descent, is penned as a tortured soul. His parents were killed by a demon and he was forcefully fed a demon drug that left him painfully addicted.

CONFIDENCE

Neely has appeared on the big screen only twice in Taiwanese movies - in last year's romantic comedy The Soul of Bread and this year's inspirational sports flick Faithball.

Looking fit and spiffy, he dropped 7kg prior to Friends' release and displayed a newfound confidence.

"When it comes to acting, I've become more comfortable in front of the cameras... I guess having a better physical frame helps," he said with a laugh.

So does he feel his mixed heritage will work to his advantage in the glossy world of Hollywood?

"Absolutely," said Neely.


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