Good-looking Roy Chiu Works Harder to Prove His Acting
“When your looks are everything seen by others from the get-go, you have to work doubly hard to show them that you can also be brilliant.”
With 17 years in the industry, Taiwanese actor Roy Chiu (邱澤) recently received his best present – a Best Actor nomination at the 55th Golden Horse Awards for his performance in the film Dear Ex <誰先愛上他的>. Roy portrays the gay lover who receives the insurance benefits after a married man dies. The man’s enraged wife and son come knocking on Roy’s door as they discover his existence for the first time.
Learning to Trust His Instincts
Becoming an artiste after playing volleyball for 18 years, Roy found himself thrown into an unfamiliar landscape upon receiving his first script and having to navigate a totally different world, one where he lacked life experiences to tap on.
Admitting that he had thought about leaving, it was military service which made him rethink and reflect on his life’s chances. “As an athlete, I only had to focus on winning. But performance was less straightforward, even ambiguous. It was as if I had a direction, yet I didn’t know which areas to concentrate on; neither did I know why I had to speak my lines. I only knew to start when the director said ‘start!’, and stop when he said so,” While serving, Roy decided to immerse himself into acting wholeheartedly, telling himself to care only about perfecting his performance, be thankful for his chances and appreciate his co-workers more.
Good Looks – A Double-Edged Sword
To Roy, movies are not only a different ball game, it was also a source of life experience plus a reflection of current social memories. Roy soon learned to pick up precious lessons, getting inspired by characters’ unique transformations via each film’s story. The movie All About Ah Long <又見阿郎> left the greatest impression on him, as it was the first time that he had experienced the character’s pain when viewing the film, and would cry whenever the movie soundtrack started playing.
Changing many people’s opinions of Roy, his latest movie Dear Ex showed that the good-looking thespian had real acting chops. Beyond portraying the typical tall, rich and handsome characters which he previously did in many idol dramas such as Office Girls <小資女孩向前衝> and Waking Love Up <愛情睡醒了>. Now described as a “solid actor who was neglected because of his good looks”, Roy laughed and said he was not surprised. Like a double-edged sword, he feels that while looks enable him to catch attention more easily, it also means he has to double his efforts to prove his abilities too.
Once rampantly criticized for having looks but knowing how to act, Roy has learned to adjust his attitude, telling himself that “This only means I am not doing enough!” Therefore, the habit of preparing in front of the mirror in advance stayed with him. Memorizing his lines was a must, and he would also conceptualize his character’s signature moves and try to guess what spontaneous improvisations the director would suggest later on set.
Tackling Curve Balls from the Director
His role as a homosexual on Dear Ex is Roy’s most enjoyable character to date. “It was as if I had been preparing for this role all along and I put all the experiences I’ve accumulated into playing Ah Kit. After each take, I would feel exhausted,” Acclaimed director Meg Hsu (徐譽庭) became the crucial person who helped him immerse into character wholly. “She really believed that I was (Kit), hence she did not want me to worry about the take or care about the overall composition. She wanted me to inhabit the role fully instead of staying in my comfort zone.”
Meg would often give different challenges which Roy was forced to tackle, and he loved these unexpected interactions on set. The director knew Roy would prepare for his performance a day in advance, but hoped he would not be too through in his preparations. “She had many ways to throw me off guard, and focus on the moment instead – such as giving me the script only when I arrived on set for that day, or adding actions and movements on the spot. Laughing, he wonders if she has mind-reading abilities as she often seemed to know what he was thinking. “When she knew I was getting too comfortable with the character’s moves after a few takes, she would instruct me to find a prop, like a lighter. When I knew where the lighter was, she would get the crew to hide it. She just wants me to go look for it, and be the character I am acting.”
Another memorable part of the movie was a line which Kit tells a child, “Your mathematics is so good. Can you tell me what is the length of a hundred years?” Roy recounted how he knew the importance of this line when reading the script as it represented the inner voice of the male lead. “Because of this awareness, it was easy to over-emphasize the line when you are delivering that scene, since it really mattered to you as an actor.” After the first take, Meg wanted him to redo the scene with the most nonchalant attitude instead,” This shocked him, as he wondered if such a key line should be spoken so casually, but Roy eventually realized that was exactly what Kit (his character) would do.
Grateful to Supporters
As the director did not want his performance to be restricted by camera angles, she refused to show Roy any playbacks. “This feels really insecure for me, as I wouldn’t know how I was doing in each scene. It was until one day in Kit’s home, she called me over to ‘see’ myself in the scene. I went over to take a look but could not recognize myself in the camera. She was pleased and told Roy, ‘Yes, that means you are in the moment.’”
A faraway dream for Roy in the past, he still feels incredulous about his Golden Horse award nomination. He reminds himself of his reason for starting out and to move forward with the same motivation. Grateful to his fans for their continuous support over 17 years, the actor knows that the best way to repay them is simply to deliver his best performance. “So they can believe that the person they’ve chosen to support is still working hard,” he said.
This article is written by JoyceK for JayneStars.com.