Introverted Hong Kong actor Alex Fong Chung Sun opens up.
DON’T be intimidated by Alex Fong Chung Sun’s cool demeanour, because that’s merely the way he looks, said the Hong Kong actor who was in Kuala Lumpur recently for a watch event.
“Even my wife (Hong Kong beauty queen Hoyan Mok) doesn’t understand me at times. I’m an introvert. Many think that I am unfriendly. I’m not. I just don’t like to smile. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember,” said Fong in Cantonese.
Decked out in a chequered shirt and black jeans, the new Asian brand ambassador for Swiss watchmaker Doxa looked as smashing as ever.
Underneath his ice-cool exterior was a dry sense of humour. For one, when asked about his dream role, he replied: “A mute.”
“Then I would not have to remember lines,” he said, drawing laughter from those around him.
Similarly, when talking about his role as a doctor in an upcoming Chinese movie, he quipped: “Actually I wanted to play a coma patient so I just have to lie down and not say anything.”
His latest roles were far from any of those. The 47-year-old recently wrapped up the shooting of The Founding Of The Party, the sequel to last year’s star-studded historical epic The Founding Of A Republic.
Starring alongside A-listers like Chow Yunfat and Andy Lau, Fong plays Yang Du, one of the political consultants who advocated Chinese politician Yuan Shikai’s move to revive the Chinese monarchy and crown himself the Great Emperor of China in 1915.
“It’s an ensemble drama. I don’t have a lot of scenes and the shooting took only a few days but I’m happy to work with the likes of Chow and Lau.
“Working with Chow was like seeing an old friend. He’s my senior, an international star, but he is very friendly. He and his wife took good care of those around them.
“I’m not very good at socialising. Sometimes I didn’t know what to do with so many seniors around. They would always ask me to join them,” recalled Fong.
Other than establishing a pleasant working relationship with his co-stars in Beijing, Fong had fun donning various costumes in The Founding Of The Party.
“There’s a scene in which the characters were at a heaven worship ceremony and we got to wear costumes from the Han Dynasty. It was an interesting experience,” he said.
Despite that, Fong – who is usually seen in a suit, playing menacing gangsters or professionals in films – is not really keen to star in costume or period dramas.
“It is rather taxing and the filming location is usually far from town. I have a family, so I would rather not travel far,” he explained.
It is apparent that his life now revolves around his family. Two years ago, he married Mok, an actress and Miss Hong Kong 1993. The couple has a daughter, Ka Ching.
In recent years, driven by the change in the Hong Kong film scene, Fong started adding more Chinese productions into his portfolio.
“My wife is a stay-at-home mum and I’m the sole breadwinner of the family. The Hong Kong film industry is shrinking. Most of the films, especially the blockbusters, are funded by non-Hong Kong production companies.
“On the other hand, China needs many actors. So I decided to base my career in China a few years ago and it turned out to be the right choice.”
Apart from expanding his career in China, Fong has established himself as a regular in the works of various Hong Kong directors (such as Derek Yee Tung Sing).
So far, Fong has bagged two acting awards – Actor Of The Year at the third Taipei Film Festival for Red Rain in 1999, and Best Leading Actor at the fifth Chinese Media Awards for One Nite In Mongkok in 2005.
On top of that, he is a frequent nominee at the Hong Kong Film Awards, having garnered four nominations – three for best supporting actor and one for best actor.
“I’m happy to have worked with so many directors but I have the best chemistry with Yee. We did a few films ( One Nite In Mongkok, Drink Drank Drunk and this year’s Triple Tap) together and we understand each other well.
“In contrast, Tsui Hark is kind of hard to figure out. He always comes up with something unexpected on the spot. He’s an artist and you never know what he’s thinking,” said Fong.
Whether it’s working with Yee, Tsui or any other filmmaker, Fong gives his best each time.
“As long as you do your job well, the directors will come back to you,” he said.
The actor came across as laid-back and unassuming, compared to his other more competitive peers in the cutthroat film industry.
“I don’t think one should change himself for the job. If I have to socialise just to get film parts, I would be forcing myself to do something I didn’t like.
“It’d be different if I had no other choice, but right now I can stay true to myself and still get film parts. So I would never change that,” declared the actor.
One thing that he did not hesitate to change, though, was his lifestyle after he became a father.
“I used to go out with friends. Nowadays, I’ve cut down almost 80% of socialising to be with my family whenever possible. Sometimes, even when hanging out with friends, I would bring my family along.”
Fong became chattier when talking about his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
With a smile, he said affectionately: “She enjoys shopping. She’s always with her mum. Maybe that’s how she picked up this ‘ bad habit’ ( laughs).
“But she is easily pleased. We just have to get her chocolate cake or some Mickey Mouse chocolate sweets and she would be very happy. I hope she will be as easily pleased when she grows up. Then I can save a lot of money ( laughs).”
Being a family man now, Fong has also given up one of his favourite pastimes – carracing.
“Seven out of 10 young guys love cars and I was one of them. However, I’m getting old. My mentality has changed. I drive slower now – so slow that people honk at me on the road,” he said with a laugh.
Fong can certainly afford to have a slower pace in life. “I have achieved most of what I can possibly have in life. Now I just want my daughter to grow up soon and have a good life.
“If possible, I hope to retire early. Maybe I can migrate to Malaysia after that. The life here is so comfortable. It’s not as rushed as in Hong Kong and the houses are not that cramped,” he concluded.
Family man: Alex Fong,
the new Asian brand ambassador for Swiss watchmaker Doxa, has cut down socialising to spend more time with his family.