Justin Cheung on the Making of “The Deception of the Novelist”
Justin Cheung (張建聲) made his debut in 2010 and in 2012 gained attention from his role in Due West: Our Sex Journey <一路向西>. He did not partake in its sequel: The Sinking City: Capsule Odyssey <西謊極落︰太爆．太子．太空艙) but rejoined in the third and final movie, The Deception of the Novelist <作家的謊言︰筆忠誘罪> as the producer and male lead.
In the entertainment industry for eight years, Justin feels that he is still a student in film production. “Luckily my director and boss have been providing me with a lot of support. I’ve learned a lot in the past three years like how to gain investors, budget, and find actors and shooting locations. The hardest for me was learning how to control spending.”
Justin now understands that the birth of a movie is not easy and he cherishes every moment in front of the camera. “The $5 million HKD funding that I attained for this movie was achieved by abusing my liver! When I met with investors, it would usually have to be after 9 p.m. and we would discuss while drinking.”
Not a Sexual Movie
The Deception of the Novelist revolves around Justin’s character as a famous novelist who receives a large inheritance after his father’s passing. He rents out one of his inherited properties to a Japanese/Chinese woman named Elaine (portrayed by Linah Matsuoka) and they embark on an affair, causing rifts in his marriage with Jeanna Ho (何佩瑜). One night, Elaine is suddenly found dead in the balcony of the house. When police start their investigation, they realize that there are a lot of suspicious factors to the case leading them to suspect that this is not their normal kidnapping or revenge against an unfaithful husband case.
Justin stated that he had a hard time thinking of how to promote his movie, as it is not a social commentary movie nor one that is focused on sexuality. “This is a movie that debates the relationship between two sexes. I hope the audience are left thinking how horrifying and scary mankind can be if pushed to a certain point.”
Justin had previously received great feedback for his role in OCTB <反黑> and he looks forward to a day when he would receive awards. “I’ve never given up on my dream of winning a Golden Horse award. Even with a nomination, I’ll view it as having won already. I also want to show my dad that as long as I work hard at my craft I will have results. Now that I also have the role of producer, I hope that my movie reaches more audiences. Only with good ticket sales will I be able to film another movie and produce more quality Hong Kong films.”
Wanting to direct a movie next, Justin has opened a production company. He will release a web movie in July and a diving commercial that he produced, directed, and acted in. “I also want to take some directing courses to build a strong foundation, as I feel that I don’t have much creativity in camera angles.”
Known for his fit physique, Justin’s workout philosophy is quite simple. “It’s best to run every day. Eat less carbs, eat more vegetables, and do not eat six hours before sleeping. I still want to lose three to five pounds as that would be the ideal weight on camera, but I will not push myself for any drastic changes. Four years ago, I gained 50 pounds in 10 months to act in Imprisoned: Survival Guide for Rich and Prodigal <壹獄壹世界．高登闊少踎監日記>. It definitely took a toll on my organs and body. I’m now 36 so I worry about whether my body can handle this; I will only do this again for a role that has great potential.”
Recently, Justin has also been taking diving lessons, “As an actor, we may not have work every day. I don’t want to waste my time, so I looked for something to learn that could become my hobby and potentially be useful towards future acting jobs. I’m now at the advanced level and can swim down to a depth of 40 meters. Diving is also an activity I use to de-stress. My daily life is very loud and stressful, but the underwater world is so quiet and serene. I also play soccer with Gregory Wong (王宗堯) to de-stress about twice a week. It’s great hanging out with a bunch of guys afterwards just drinking and talking. I’ve also obtained my racing license. So in the future if there are racing scenes, I don’t need a stunt double and I’ll have the knowledge on how to keep myself safe.”
This article is written by Kiki for JayneStars.com.