Veteran actor Paul Chun (秦沛) has long been regarded as a skilled actor and passionate artiste. While many may be familiar with his successes in the Hong Kong entertainment industry, it may come as a surprise that Paul was one of the first Chinese actors to break into Hollywood, long before even Chinese megastars like Jackie Chan (成龍) or Chow Yun Fat (周潤發).
In regards to this statement, the 73-year-old actor was eager to stress, “I am not the first [Chinese] to break into Hollywood. There were others before me. The only difference is that I was already an actor in Hong Kong at the time. I was invited to Hollywood to film a movie as an already-established actor. In this regard, I might be the first one. But it is important to note that Bruce Lee (李小龍) was already filming in Hollywood at the time. It’s just that he was already in the United States and wasn’t invited from Hong Kong to go film in Hollywood. I have to stress this point, or people will scold me!”
Hollywood Was an Eye-opening Experience
The first film Paul partook in was the 1966 American war film, The Sand Pebbles, by Oscar-award-winning director Robert Wise. Paul attributes this opportunity to chance. “For this film, the director met many actors in Hong Kong and in Taiwan, but he was not satisfied. By chance, he saw a magazine that featured me on the cover and contacted director Richard Li (李翰祥) to arrange to meet me.” Only in his early twenties at the time, Paul coolly showed up at the schedule meeting in a motorcycle and wearing a leather jacket. When Robert asked him how old he was when he started acting, Paul answered in fluent English, “Since I was three years old.”
Acting since three years old, Paul is no stranger to the filming industry and all the behind-the-scenes work. However, he was nonetheless amazed at the production of Hollywood films. “Both my eyes widened. It was completely a different world. For example, when we were filming, I went to the prop room. I was young and curious. Someone took out a prop gun and told me look at the mirror in front of us. He shot the gun and there was a loud pang! I was stunned, because the mirror had a hole in it. I got worried and asked ‘Well, what are we going to do now? The mirror is broken!’ He told me not to worry and to just take a cloth and wipe the mirror. When I wiped it, I realized that that the bullet broke into pieces, leaving a black mark that looked like a bullet hole. This was 50 years ago!”
A Public Figure’s Responsibility
Although Paul has filmed a variety of characters and roles, he has maintained an almost clean bill in the rumor department and does not have any negative news. Paul attributes this achievement to his mother and stepfather. “I remember they told me that as a public figure, I have to be cautious of my words and actions. Do my best to not do anything bad or anything that would affect other people. I have also passed on these teachings to my children. If you choose to enter showbiz and this line of work, you have to do your best to protect yourself.”
This article is written by Huynh for JayneStars.com.