28-year-old Brian Chu (朱敏瀚) is known by Hong Kong TV goers as the little brother. He commonly plays the younger brother of a lead role, or the younger version of a main character.
“I’m the ‘reusable brother’,” he joked.
Ten years after his debut, Brian has finally peeled away that reusable tag. In the new TVB drama On-lie Game <迷網>, Brian plays the drama’s second male lead Eric Ko, a young IT genius.
Eric isn’t to different from Brian himself. Like Eric, Brian has parents who are well-off. When he decided to become an actor, he knew he would have to work hard for his paycheck. He believes that as long as he diligently works hard on his skill, he’ll be able to take care of his family.
Brian Doesn’t Like Lending Money
On-lie Game follows the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau, or CSTCB, of the Hong Kong Police Force. The unit deals with cyber crimes and fraud. While modern technology has the means to prevent fraud, some are unpreventable.
Brian recalled, “My mother once asked a woman to take care of a baby inside a car, but the woman would only do it for $500 (HK dollars). My mother gave her the money for the sake of the baby. Swindlers can earn a fortune from your sympathy.”
Asking if Brian had experience “relationship deception”, the actor said he once lent money to an older classmate in high school, but his classmate kept giving him excuses on why he couldn’t return the money soon. “In the end, I found a friend to ask for the money. Although it was only a few hundred dollars, I never got the full amount back. After that experience, I decided to never borrow money, and will try to not lend too much money to other people. I really don’t like to owe people anything. Instead of lending money to a friend, I rather work on helping the friend deal with the problem.”
From Child Star to TV Actor
Brian debuted as a TVB actor ten years ago, but his true introduction into the entertainment industry happened when he was five years old. His mother enrolled him in a talent contest held at a shopping mall, which won him a modeling contract.
“For the longest time, I thought I was doing an extracurricular activity for school,” he said. “It wasn’t until much later when I realized what it was. It’s the reason why I developed a strong passion for performing. All of my interest classes that I took in primary school and high school were related to acting.”
After graduating form five, Brian chose to not advance to form six, and to instead audition for TVB’s artiste training class. “I thought I was auditioning with a classmate. After I was chosen, I realized then that my classmate actually never even auditioned. I don’t know if it’s because he forgot, or he was trying to fool me, but that definitely pushed me to be more proactive.”
Interestingly, that classmate ended up debuting anyways. He is former baseball player and current actor Tony Wu (胡子彤).
Brian finally debuted in 2010. His debut role was “K4” in Yes, Sir. Sorry, Sir! <點解阿Sir係阿Sir>. He then made a splash in the industry playing Louise Lee’s (李司棋) son in The Other Truth <真相>.
“There were definitely times when I had to be called in to play a dead body, a random passerby, or even a bit role as a cop,” said Brian. “But as a rookie, I know I was blessed with many opportunities.
Due to the nature of his contract, Brian was obligated to sign on a talk show. He was casted in the program Pleasure & Leisure <都市閒情>, a long-running informative talk show which also featured Junior Anderson (安德尊). Brian, who had always intended to be an actor, wasn’t very pleased with this arrangement; however, the program also taught him about endurance, teamwork, and family.
“It was the first job that made me understand what it’s like to be part of a large family,” said Brian. The producer and King (Junior Anderson) took care of me very well. The show was a good training ground. It trained me to talk better, to understand how the camera works, and to be able react quickly, because that is an important skill to have as a host. I also learned a lot about communication. On the other hand, if I was just given a role without this training, I probably wouldn’t have done the role justice.”
An Image Change
Brian got his wish, and after the end of Pleasure & Leisure, Brian was back to acting. In the past two years, he placed all emphasis on his acting career. Even with being typecast as the little brother, Brian didn’t want to waste a single opportunity.
He’s spent the last four years dedicated to training his body and taking on new skills to up his chances for more diverse roles. He succeeded. From On-lie Game to the upcoming Al Cappuccino, Brian has been getting his feet wet at different ponds. Every role has been different and challenging in its own way.”
As a rising actor, Brian’s income is inconsistent. There are still days when his account would have only a couple hundred dollars, and he would be unable to give his family any allowance. Fortunately, his parents are very supportive of his career decision.
“Sometimes, my mother would give me a fully loaded Octopus card,” he said. “I’d try not to use it, but she understands the instability of this job. In times when I do have more income, I’d definitely share the wealth with my family.”
His father owns a marine services company, and his two older brothers have stable careers. Brian doesn’t need to worry about anyone except himself. “My family is very supportive of what I do. They’d support all the dramas I’ve been in, and would even review them during their own time! They give me so much warmth.”
Brian is currently in a relationship with 2017 Miss Chinese International Stitch Yu (余思霆), his costar in As Times Goes By <好日子>. They’ve been dating for over a year, and he regards Stitch as his potential marriage partner.
“I’ve always been serious with my relationships. When I date, I go for the long haul.”
With dreams of starting a family, Brian’s main goal is to work harder in his career, so he can provide for his family.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.