Alex fong

In­tro­verted Hong Kong ac­tor Alex Fong Chung Sun opens up.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEW WAN YING en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

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.

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