Friday, 24 August 2012
Chou Style: iweekly interview: January 2012
Translated interview by yours truly:
Q: Heard you don’t want to do another action movie after The Viral Factor?
J: Yes. I had to memorise many moves for the fight scenes; it was very hard work and I did not get enough sleep. But no matter what, I had to ensure that I looked like a real hero and not appear tired. It was very difficult.
Q: Crying or jumping off a building…which is harder?
J: Jumping..ha..I had to leap off a 7-storey building; I was very anxious and scared. Had I been in my twenties, I would have been more daring as I would have been stronger too. But now, after a few action scenes, I already feel tired.
Q: How do you feel about your acting?
J: I think it’s best to act natural so that the audience will believe in the character and not that I’m Jay Chou, the musician. Nicholas Tse can do that. When people watch his movies, they don’t think of him as Nicholas Tse, the musician but as a good actor.
Q: Do you think you’ve achieved that?
J: Jay, the musician likes to be cool, goodlooking but for this movie, the director would not allow me to look cool whilst holding the guns. Yes, ha…couldn’t do this, couldn’t do that.. You would not be able to make out Jay Chou, the musician and I think that’s a breakthrough for me.
Q: Jackie Chan never wanted his hero characters to die in a movie. What’s your take on that?
J: Ha..I hope so too, but I was not the one who wrote the screenplay. Previously, I felt that heroes should not be sad, or be beaten up. They should only beat up the bad guys.. Even though my character died in Curse of the Golden Flower, it was a suicide and not a murder. But in TVF, I was beaten up really badly. If I was the one writing the story, I would have made it less sad, like my MVs…even if it’s about the end of the world, I still want to hold out hope.
Q: What compliments do you most like to receive?
J: Those pertaining to my acting, hosting and directing, apart from my music. Because those are not my strong areas, there is an even greater sense of achievement. I should get good reviews for my music as that is my domain from young.
Q: How about compliments from ‘girlfriends’?
J: Not bad, regarding me as their idol is great!
Q: Where do you get all your ideas from?
J: From all aspects of life. I think of myself as a sponge, absorbing all that is good and bad from around me, which eventually becomes inspiration.
Q: In TVF, you play a cop and have to help your brother. What are your feelings on such a kinship?
J: Growing up as an only child has made me treasure my friends. It can be seen from many news reports that I frequently help my friends in their ventures, get them to act in my MVs and movies, concerts, etc. I allow them to drive my cars. Yes, I like to share the fruits of my success with my friends.
Q: They are very fortunate to be your friends!
J: Being my friend is also not an easy matter. They have to be trustworthy; if they’re not sincere, I can sense it easily.
Q: In TVF, your girlfriend fell for your colleague and friend. In real life, how would you handle something like that?
J: To be honest, friendship is more important than a romantic relationship. Friends can last forever; but not a romance. I would not sacrifice my friends for my brothers.
Q: Your girlfriend must get along with your other friends?
J: But of course! I would bring her to all our gatherings to socialize and have fun. Some guys bring their girlfriends who then sit in one corner and do not join in. That’s disappointing!
Q: Your friends’opinions matter?
J: I value my friends and mother’s opinions about my girlfriends. If they do not approve, I would not carry on with the relationship for too long.
Q: Eh? You would still go out with her?
J: Ha…yes, but just as dates and nothing serious.
Q: It would be quite difficult being your girlfriend!
J: Ha..she should be quite happy yo be able to be in my life and get to know my friends. I would also treat her well. Ha.
Q: Jay Chou is very self-confident….true?
J: Hmm…only where music is concerned. Not so in other areas.
Q: But you appear to be full of confidence in everything that you do.
J: Ha…that’s the impression I want to convey. I would not have it otherwise. Frankly, I actually like to feel less confident about things. Yes, when you don’t know if you’ll win or lose, that’s a challenge. I really hope to be acknowledged for my efforts in TVF. As I do not have that much confidence in my acting, I need that sort of affirmation.
Q: Winning matters to you.
J: Yes, I’m a person who always wants to win and will not consider losing. It’s my nature. Like during my student days, I was ridiculed by another top student. I just had to challenge him and I succeeded in beating him in a test. Thereafter, I felt I had nothing left to prove.
Q: That must make it very hard for you to accept failure.
J: Very difficult. But I do not admit defeat easily nor let failure get to me first. Eg, when I feel that people are not keen on my music, I will choose to stop singing first and not be forced out of it only when I have no fans.
Q: What failures have you encountered thus far?
J: None. I prefer to call them setbacks. When I began collaborating with Vincent Fang, many singers found our songs very strange and could not understand our style. We then revised and changed according to the feedback and eventually found a formula which worked. Yes, at that time, composing was my means of livelihood and only if my songs were used then would I earn any money. That’s why I worked hard relentlessly at composing. I was not afraid of rejection. Out of 100 songs, there would definitely be a few which would be used.
Q: How do you view these setbacks?
J: Man must face setbacks inorder to move forward. If it had been smooth sailing for me then, I don’t know where Jay Chou would be now.
Q: Between you and Nick Tse, who is more diao?
J: Nick is a very good actor. I am still unable to let go and go all out like him eg for a crying scene, I still can’t produce real tears. They’re all eyedrops. I can’t reach deep into my emotions to ‘act’.
Q: Why is that so?
J: It’sbecause I feel a need to maintain my image as a singer. Acting is only a past time. Singing is my fulltime career and I will not forgo it.
Q: Do you think that will change in future?
Q: What is Jay Chou’s image?
J: Very cool and diao. My songs must be hopeful . That is my mission and now my style. I want to leave a legacy.
Q: Is that different from you as a person?
J: Not much. But I’m also very lively and can be badtempered.
Q: I remember interviewing you ten years ago…
J: That was such a long time ago…
Q: Yes, you were very easy to handle. Only had to give you a guitar and hamburger….any different now?
J: Not really. When I see myself on talkshows from back then, I still see myself speaking the same way, I’m still diao. I have less freedom but am more influential. But I speak more to the reporters now.
Q: You also have more money now…
J: Yes, not too bad…
Q: How do you keep yourself this way?
J: It’s important to preserve one’s sense of self and character. Although I like to win , I’m not arrogant., that much I know. I’ve faced setbacks and appreciate how hard it was to achieve certain things. So I’m very careful with managing my work.
Q: Many Heavenly Kings are not as self-deprecating as you.
J: Being honest is important; that is me. It has nothing to do with one's position. One must not only see the good things about oneself. Being self-deprecating is a good check on oneself and it makes other people laugh.
Q: Singing, acting, hosting, directing, opening a KTV club…have you thought of setting up an entertainment empire?
J: I have not tried DJ-ing…ha..I have a music empire. In future, I want to be a movie mogul. Yes, like Andy Lau…not bad eh? I can shoot many movies, nurture new talents; I have many ideas for movies, even if I don’t act in them.
Q: Do you feel that you have no competition amongst your peers now?
J: The present generation of new talents have many ideas. Given the chance, they will go far. I don’t want to compare myself with the newcomers. Instead, I want to sign them up. They should compete amongst themselves.
Q: You once said: “God and man cannot be compared.”
J: The God I’m referring to is not myself; it is Jacky Cheung. Yes, he has reached the level of a god. It doesn’t matter if his albums do well or not or if the newcomers do better than him. He is already regarded as the God of Song,, no matter what. I want to be like him.
Q: Do you think anyone else can surpass your achievements?
J: I’m still in the process of improving myself so other have to catch up with and overtake me. It’s easy…all they have to do is work a little harder, sacrifice their rest time and be like me when I was practicing piano diligently.
Q: I don’t think that’s easy.
J: It’s not difficult. You must have confidence.
Q: You are referring to the..?(I couldn’t make out this word)
J: Movies and music are like two big trees which I want to grow.
Q: You feel confident about this?
J: Of course. Yes, I want to be a winner. Breaking through is not difficult; maintaining one’s position is the challenge. I hope to be like Andy Lau in this respect.
Q: Would Jay Chou vanish from the entertainment scene one day?
J: No. What else would I do? Haha…I would work behind the scenes, compose ; let other people sing my songs. But I do hope to continue singing until I’m in my 50s…