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15 October 2008, 2.45pm at Marina Mandarin Singapore

Wu Chun had always wanted to be a movie star, but he chose to make his film debut in a 'wuxia pian', even going to the extent of performing his own stunts.

The boyishly cute actor and singer flew into Singapore recently to promote his new movie "Butterfly Lovers". An adaptation of the classic Liang Zhu novel, Wu Chun stars as the dedicated and passionate lover Liang Shanbo who is deeply in love with Zhu Yingtai, played by Charlene Choi.

As Wu Chun said, it was a stressful but exciting and challenging time for him on the set of his debut movie. For one, he did not have the experience of his fellow co-star Charlene Choi, with more than 30 films under her belt. But he gamely insisted on taking up this movie, and has absolutely no regrets about it.

"I am very grateful to have worked with a great director, and also an equally wonderful cast and crew on this movie," he said. To prepare himself for what was to be a physically demanding role under the direction of veteran action director Tony Ching Siu-Tung, he underwent a month of martial arts training before the shooting and was also learning every day on set.

Indeed, the film’s action scenes were probably the most difficult aspect of filming this movie. In particular, one scene in the movie had his character and Charlene Choi’s character fighting in the rain at night. That scene alone took six nights to film, each night a twelve-hour shoot from five in the evening to five the next morning.

"We were both wet almost all the time because in the scene it was supposed to be raining very heavily outside," he explained. To make it even more dangerous, the red lanterns used for filming that scene were electric operated, and were constantly crackling as water fell on them.

But that did not deter him from performing his own stunts in the film even when an extra could have stepped in. He and director Jingle Ma wanted it to look more realistic, so he willingly jumped off three storeys into a lake below. What was frightening, he recounted, was how when the extra tried the jump, the guy was almost impaled by a wooden beam.

"Even though the beam was subsequently removed, who knows what else could have been down there in the lake?" Wu Chun said. Thankfully, that scene was accomplished in just one take.

Reflecting on the difference between his experience of filming Taiwanese idol dramas such as Romantic Princess or Hanazakarino Kimitachihe and that of filming a movie, Wu Chun said that the pressure of filming a movie is naturally greater.

"It’s much more expensive filming a movie," he said, “so the expectations were much higher as well.” He also said that filming a movie was a much more realistic experience on set than filming a drama, because of the difference in the nature of props used.

Known for his love of food, Wu Chun found this to be a great way to bond with his fellow co-star Charlene Choi, and director Jingle Ma. It was through this common love of food that he and Asa (as Charlene is affectionately known) developed a relationship. He was quick however to point out and emphasize that this relationship was one of friendship, and not romance.

The release of "Butterfly Lover" comes on the heels of preparations for his band Fahrenheit’s first concert tour in December this year in both Malaysia and Singapore. Ever hardworking, the Brunei-born actor was recently awarded the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in his home country and currently also manages his own gym. But fans need not worry about seeing him in another movie anytime soon.

Wu Chun revealed that he is in the midst of reviewing both television and movie scripts for next year. So cross your fingers, dear fans, because Butterfly Lovers may be the first in the line of many other films to come, the start of a new film career for one of Taiwan’s most popularly handsome popstars.

"Butterfly Lovers" opens on 16 October and is reviewed here


Report: Gabriel Chong | Photos: Richard Lim Jr | Banner: See Ki Peng
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