They say good things come in pairs and it must be true. Take the leading role in a popular drama like Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms and it means that you get your own magazine spread as this month places Taiwanese-Canadian actor Mark Chao on the cover of Modern Lady.
l like the simple denims and leather jackets that bring out the fashion amidst all the bathroom grunge. It's casual and reminiscent of a more rugged Mark Chao, the same one that we first saw in the Taiwanese TV series Black and White. It's a Mark Chao that is very different from the primp and proper immortal that he plays in Three Lives Three Worlds, which happens to be his first Mainland Chinese drama.
The entire interview is posted on weibo and if anyone wants it translated, I'm willing to take requests :)
Q: Why did you accept Three Lives Three Worlds as your first Mainland Chinese drama?
A: It was a favorable time and opportunity, I was always coming into contact with scripts but wasn't finding one that moved me. When I learned about this drama, I was adverse to it at first. I feel that I didn't exactly suit the fantasy idol image of a pretty boy, however, the company feels that production standards are high and that it should lead to good results. After looking at the script, it was indeed not bad.
Q: This is a straightforward role. Is there anything complicated about it?
A: On some level, it's a bit like the story of Romeo and Juliet, incompatible backgrounds that love each other deeply, foresaking everything in the process. It's hard to say that this is straightforward. Because grandfather (heavenly emperor) has high hopes for him and wishes that he would rule the realms, yet he disregards everything and falls in love with a human, so it's also complicated.
Q: Do you feel that such a large scale drama may be more enjoyable than a movie?
A: On some level yes, movies take three to four months to film, the interactions are not as much as a drama and that makes the difference with regards to screen time. A drama has 40 episodes, large amount of scenes take time and character development and the experiences are a lot more than a movie, so it's profound.
Q: Everyone's first impression on the drama is beautiful, what do you think is beautiful about it?A: Styling. I personally think that brushing everything aside, the styling is really striking. I have ten over clothes that are all black because Ye Hua only wears black but how to infuse a different feel to the color black, Teacher Zhang Shu Ping poured a lot of effort into it, using different materials and different prints. Even though it's all black, if you look closely, it's different.
Q: Because you are more accustomed to Western education, do you find the customs and traditions very new?
A: Very new, I feel that even a person who received Chinese education growing up won't be used to it. (Laughs) After all, it's the life of an immortal. I am all about logic, but many things about immortals do not make sense. Walking from here to there, I'm thinking why walk, can't you just zap yourself over there? Ha ha.
Q: Are there any interesting things?A: There are many funny things. For example, in the drama where I have to suddenly disappear, I just jumped, and then quickly ran from the scene like a silly person. Another one is when I was fighting against a monster, I was just fighting against air. Another one is going up the stairs, which is my biggest challenge, tens and tens of steps, putting my life on the line and worrying about tripping over my long costume, I had to film multiple times before making it.
Q: At the beginning did you have confidence in your imagination? Was there pressure?
A: I don't know, the pressure was okay, I just had to convince myself to get into character quickly. If I also don't believe that I'm immortal, then it would definitely look bad on film, so I spent some time getting to know the character.
Q: Other than this drama, what other projects did you film last year?A: Last year was quite busy, I filmed Three Lives Three Worlds, guest starred in Shen Yue Shi Tang and finished Till The End of the World. I really went to the South Pole for a month, came back and filmed two to three parts before it wrapped.
Q: How is it to film in the South Pole?
A: I can describe it as sacred and beautiful. We went in November which is close to summertime in the South Pole, it was slowly becoming warmer and the average temperature is more than ten degrees below zero. If it was wintertime, we wouldn't have been able to film. Before the ice melted, we filmed quickly.
Q: Valentine's Day is almost here, what will you give your family?
A: First, I'll give my mom a bouquet of flowers, every year I do. I'll take my wife to a restaurant with a good ambience that we have never been to before. As for my dad... no need to bother with him. (Laughs) Who wants to spend Valentine's Day with their dad? (Big Laugh)