S'pore actor Chin Han 'ready for romantic or sex comedy'

In recent years, Singaporean actor Chin Han has been carving a name for himself in Hollywood.

The LA-based actor has scored roles in movies like The Dark Knight (2008), 2012 (2009) and Contagion (2011).

Chin Han, 43, has gone from starring in local drama Masters of the Sea in 1994 to US television screens - he was last seen as a Chinese ambassador in American military drama Last Resort.

His resume continues with a role as a World Security Council member in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, alongside Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Redford.

Meanwhile, he is back in Singapore to promote something closer to home.

Chin Han stars in the HBO Asia original drama series Serangoon Road as Kay Song, the ambitious grandson of a secret society head.

The 10-parter, shot in Singapore and Batam, also stars Joan Chen and local artists Alaric Tay and Pamelyn Chee. It premieres on Sept 22 at 9pm on HBO and HBO HD (StarHub TV Ch 601 or StarHub TV Ch 655).

Happy to be back filming Serangoon Road?

Singapore has always been my home and I take every opportunity to come back, such as for holidays like Chinese New Year and Christmas. It so happened that in between projects last year, they managed to get me in town for two days. It's a great opportunity to be home and work at the same time so that was very attractive for me.

What's the difference between working on the set of a big-budget film as compared to a TV series like Serangoon Road?

I love the intimacy. It's communal, I get great conversations with people. It's very collaborative and I feel like I'm in some kind of artistic village.

In movies, you feel like you live in a trailer for months. So filming for Serangoon Road felt like I was back in the early days of theatre, creating something special.

 

What's your role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and how it was like working with Robert Redford and Chris Evans?

That's more action for me, but there's very little that I can say about the movie because everything is under wraps.

I got to work with one of my childhood film idols, Robert Redford, and it was a dream come true.

It's so inspiring to know you're on set with the actor from movies like Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969), All The President's Men (1976) and The Natural (1984).

Things are very fast-paced on these US$200 million (S$255 million) movies, but when we finished the shoot, I had some time to chat with him. I found him to be very elegant and an independent thinker so I like him a lot.

The movie will be out in April.

How do you land roles in big flicks?

It's about being in the right place at the right time, and also being ready as a person and artist for the roles that you want to do.

I don't know if I could have fulfilled the roles in The Dark Knight or Contagion 20 years ago.

Plus, life happened in between, especially in my 30s, when I was trying to do different things including producing and directing.

When Christopher Nolan cast me in The Dark Knight, I remembered how much I loved acting.

You managed to avoid token Asian roles or bit roles in films. How did you do that?

I get bored easily so that is a contributing factor. I try to not find the same roles to do.

A Tibetan ship builder (in 2012), an accountant in Gotham City (in The Dark Knight), a virologist in Hong Kong (in Contagion)... Now, with my role in Serangoon Road, it's somewhat like the Asian version of The Godfather.

What other roles would you like to take?

I've never seen myself as the bad guy, I'm well-versed in comedy. I would never say no to action films, but I'm ready for a romantic or sex comedy (laughs).

My favourite movies are Love Actually and When Harry Met Sally. I am a softy and a romantic, actually.

Villain roles are great because they are conflicted and that is interesting for an actor.

But the worst thing for an actor is to be bored and I think it would show in your work.

You will have a bad time shooting in the middle of nowhere and you do not want that.

ashikinr@sph.com.sg

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