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25 November 2008, 12.30pm at Orchard Cineleisure KBox

You’d almost think that 30 year old singer (now actor) Van Fan is boastful about his newfound fame when he is asked about how the phenomenal Taiwanese film Cape No. 7 has changed his life.

"There are singers who have released five albums, and then there’s me who has only acted in one movie. You do the math," he tells movieXclusive.com in Mandarin during an interview, that is, before feigning a proud expression and breaking out in hearty laughter.

The singer (now actor) was in Singapore with his co stars Chie Tanaka and Shino Lin to promote their movie. Thanks to the movie, the Taiwanese aboriginal artiste is enjoying immense popularity like never before. Unflattering pictures of Fan peeing in public surfaced two years ago, and not only did they shatter his Mr. Nice Guy image, his career began going downhill as well – not that he cares a lot about that media hoohah though.

He explains calmly: "Everything happens for a reason. To the public, it may have been fatal to my career. But sometimes I think, I won’t be where I am today without that incident.

"I don’t worry too much about it," he says reassuringly.

Dressed in a chic black jacket, the good looking Fan has been sporting a goatee recently. He clarifies that this is to allow people to make a connection with the character he plays in Cape No. 7, a failed singer who leaves Taiwan to pursue his dream in a small town named Hengchun.

The first time actor recalls the process of bringing this role to life: "I discussed with the director on why this person would behave this way. I analyzed the script with him and gave suggestions on how to make Aga (the name of the character) more believable.

"And I realized that I was the only actor to give feedback to the director about the role," he laughs.

Cape No. 7 features many first time actors, and Fan finds himself having the most chemistry with Min-Hsiung, a fellow Taiwanese aboriginal artiste who plays a heated police officer who finds himself playing music: "It’s probably the culture we share. He understands what I’m talking about almost instantly."

The ensemble piece has garnered nine nominations at the upcoming 45th Taiwan Golden Horse Awards, including Best Feature Film, Best New Performer and Best Original Song. However, Fan’s composition for the film’s soundtrack "No Limit to Happiness" wasn’t nominated in the Best Original Song category. Also, he was overlooked a spot in the Best New Performer category, which many members of the media thought he deserved.

He cheekily admits: "Of course I was disappointed. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t.

"I remember the day the nominations were announced. Someone posted the news on my fan site, and when I didn’t see my name there, I refused to believe it and wanted to confirm the news from other official sources."

Thankfully, the disappointment dissipated after one day, and the energetic singer was up on his feet again. Amidst the promotional tours for Cape No. 7, he is now preparing for a concert next month at 'Xiaojudan', the centre for leisure and entertainment in Taiwan. His on screen partner Tanaka may even make a guest appearance at the concert for a surprise item.

With his foray into acting, does Fan see himself giving up music anytime soon?

He states coolly: "Anything is possible these days. Even if I’m not in the entertainment scene, I can still play music. I need not release albums to play music.

"And there is nothing I can’t let go of. We should learn to be more carefree about things," he adds with a poised tone in his voice.

Click links below for more:

"Cape No. 7" opens on 27 November and is reviewed here

Review of "Cape No. 7" Official Soundtrack

Report & Photos: John Li & Linus Tee
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