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Friday, December 5, 2008

They lose themselves in roles - Nicholas Tse & Nick Cheung

Actors Nicholas Tse and Nick Cheung share more than just the ability to get deeply into character
Source: Newpaper
By Maureen Koh
December 06, 2008

ONE plays a cop and the other, an assassin, in the newly opened movie The Beast Stalker.
But Hong Kong actors Nicholas Tse and Nick Cheung share more than just screen dialogue between them. Both men are married to actresses.
Both are doting, protective fathers eager to keep their personal lives away from the media glare and their work.
And both can get caught up emotionally with their screen personas.

In a recent interview with The New Paper in Hong Kong, Nick - who plays a cold-blooded assassin called Hong Jing in the action thriller - said there were days when his emotions, which he played up for the camera, lingered long after the scene was over.
And when that happened, Nick said he made it a point 'to remove the Hong Jing persona' before he returned home.

He said: 'When I'm on the set and the cameras are rolling, I deliver 100 per cent attention to what is expected. That's how it should be in this profession - to keep in character at the appropriate time.'
Nick, who has a daughter with actress Esther Kwan, added: 'I make it a point not to take home the negative emotions - it's not fair to my family, especially my girl.'
His daughter is turning 3 next month.

In the movie, his character accepts an assignment to kidnap and kill a child - so that he can pay the medical bills of his ailing wife.
The versatile actor, who turned 41 on Tuesday, said: 'One of the challenges was to reflect how Hong Jing is not as ruthless as he thinks he is. You can sense his extreme reluctance to hurt his young hostage.'
For Nick, who is most often associated with comedy or drama roles, this movie marks the first time he is playing a villain.

He is pleased with the reviews he has received about his acting skills, adding that 'at least now, people know that Nick Cheung is not just a comedy actor'.
He also took the many engaging fight scenes with Nicholas, 28, in his stride. Nick said: 'I was lucky that both (director) Dante Lam and the stunt director were very professional and supportive, so there wasn't really any difficulty in executing the moves and sequences.'

Director Dante - who became firm friends with Nick after working with him on another movie, Runaway, in 2001, also gave his stamp of approval.
He said: 'Nick's persevering attitude is definitely commendable. He was so good that, at times, I actually found that he was too serious.'
The Beast Stalker is also Dante's second collaboration with Nicholas after Tiramisu in 2002.

Nicholas plays Tang Fei, a no-nonsense police sergeant seeking redemption for accidentally killing the kidnapped child's twin sister earlier.
Dante said: 'Nicholas has matured from a young pop star to a professional actor.'
As Nicholas' role called for more emotional scenes, the challenge was how to steer the actor away from the action-hero image he has established. The director said: 'To our delight, Nicholas surpassed that feat even though he had his initial reservations.'

Such as one particular scene which required Nicholas to break down while cuddling the girl in his arms.
Dante said: 'Nicholas asked if that scene was really necessary. But he gamely agreed after I explained that he needed to get into character to feel the importance of the scene.'
So good was Nicholas at 'getting into character', the crew members found themselves trying to avoid the actor for fear of riling him.

Once, actress Zhang Jingchu, his co-star, tried to approach Nicholas to make small talk. He obliged, albeit curtly, Dante said.
The director added: 'I just told everyone that Nicholas was actually trying to get immersed in his role. And it was something that Nicholas wrote about in his personal blog two weeks ago. He wrote in English: '(The) new movie named The Beast Stalker should be a surprise to those who have only seen the tough side of Nicholas and not the soft side.

'As I remember, it's been about 9 years since I have dropped a tear on screen.'
Nicholas added: 'I swear this project was actually the most tiring out of all the movies that I have made, both mentally and physically.
'I was mentally and physically forced into a state where I hated myself... Even after work, I go home still trembling...' Still, it was a role and a script he had been waiting for. He said that although he has not seen the final product, he thinks that 'it should be a breakthrough' for him.


Nick's like Nic
Nicholas Tse (with a co-star), 28, actor/singer
Married to: Actress Cecilia Cheung, 28
Child: Son Lucas, born in August 2007
Champ dad: To avoid affecting Cecilia and Lucas with his 'negative' emotions, Nicholas told HK reporters that he would head straight to the bathroom when he returned home after filming.
He said of being in character for his role: 'I would wait until I've calmed down before coming out to see them.'

Nick Cheung, 41, actor/singer
Married to: Actress Esther Kwan, 44
Child: Daughter Brittany, born in January 2006
Champ parents: Nick does not want his daughter to become an actress because working in the entertainment business 'is not really a good job'.
He said of being in character for his role: 'I make it a point not to take home the negative emotions - it's not fair to my family, especially my girl.'

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