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Friday, March 16, 2007

Feng Shao Feng: Leaving the shadows of Daniel Wu

Leaving the shadows of Daniel Wu, Tired of too much costume series

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[, Ent Sina 2007-03-14]

We made an appointment with Feng Shao Feng (FSF) at a billiard bar in the Clock Tower. It was said that street had the oldest Beijing flavor to it, there’s not much cement, and even the soil beneath your feet is soft. The houses there are small sized brick house, the tallest only being two storey high, and the roof covered with black tiles. Rickshaw drivers wearing red costume are full of happy expression, greeting customers coming out from shops with Beijing language.

The reporter arrived half an hour late to the tower. After making few turns, they arrived at the billiard bar. It wasn't the peak hour; therefore it's quiet at the store. Upon hearing the squeaking sound as the door opened, FSF who was doing some internet surfing raised his head and gave a faint smile. For the reporter's convenience to jot down the interview, they went back and forth 2-3 times and finally found a dim room to sit down. Along the way, he is always smiling.

Mainland Daniel Wu being deceived in Hong Kong

After graduating from Shanghai acting school, FSF has played many roles, such as Yin Shan in 《男才女貌》, Huai Kong in 《Wind & Cloud 2》, Crown Prince You in 《The Conquest》and more than ten familiar series. However, apart from his fans, the name Feng Shao Feng remains a stranger to many. Recently, FSF is currently filming a collaboration series between HK TVB and Mainland CCTV - 《The Drive of Life》. He got one of the main actor roles and it seems that his good luck is coming. During the interview, apparently FSF once signed contract with Hong Kong's Starzpeople, but now he has already terminated his contract. Their co-operation was not a pleasant one, when mentioning the past, FSF will use the word 'that company' to describe; he said signing to 'that company' was the starting point of his nightmare.

"After signing the contract, that company brought me to Hong Kong and let me participate in various activity and social events. They let some designers to dress me up like Daniel Wu and said I was the mainland version. They also report a high price for my acting fees. Because of this, I have offended many people; people who originally want me to film their movies in the end doesn't do so because of the high fees. Just like this, I haven't film any movie in a year. If this continues, my future will be destroyed. I brought up the topic of terminating the contract with the company, they threatened to kill my career and demanded compensation of $1000,000. Afterward, the matter was settled through legal court. An actor cannot withstand job freezing for a year, if there were no new jobs within a year, people will quickly forget him."

Tired of filming too much costume series

Though he has filmed numerous costume and modern series, but FSF rarely got the leading role, and he has yet to get really popular. At this, FSF feels that the script is more important that getting lead role. The role is secondary, as popularity will come sooner or later to him. He told the reporter that his role Wong Yeouk Lam in 《周璇》 only has four episodes, but he is already satisfied. He have great time acting, the four episodes was almost entirely about him. "I feel that experience is accumulated from filming many different series. If you started as leading actor, but you blew it, then you will only get 2nd or 3rd leading role later. On contrary, depending on oneself hard work, when got 1st leading role later, I will be able to display my accumulated experience."

Perhaps costume series attracts more people, or the casts look more graceful. In FSF series like 《荆轲传奇》, 《The Conquest》 and 《Wind & Cloud 2》, most of them are costume series. There are floods of modern series, in order to break into mainland drama market, there is an increase in costume series.

"Filming modern series is very difficult, because the comparisons draw near to real life. The audiences nowadays have higher requirements for modern series, if the actor or script is too fake or not good, the audience can identify immediately. As for costume series, it was slightly better, some might have history, but some are fictionalized, so the audiences cannot see through easily. Therefore, filming costume series is quite simple, but I'd still prefer filming more modern series."

FSF doesn't want to continue filming costume series because it was simpler. He said that playing too much costume character will be typecast and doesn't strive to improve acting skill. He hope to film more modern series, trying out different roles. In 《The Drive of Life》, he played the role of an automobile manufacturer.

An anti-hero role gave FSF a career break

During his chat with reporter, FSF admitted that he wasn't really popular. He said that it could be due to his looks wasn't too generic, or maybe his personality was to honest, low key or even related to some scripts he chosen. However, FSF doesn't mind these. It could be the role that gave audience the deepest impression – the wild haired Huai Kong who is willing to sacrifice his family for revenge. FSF told the reporter, 《Wind & Cloud 2》is also his favorite costume series.

It was not only that 《Wind & Cloud 2》 allowed audiences to pay more attention to him, the role Huai Kong also brought him a lot of new challenge, including the fighting scene. To be a chivalrous hero, one must look suave and knowing extraordinary wugong. He has the suave part, but the latter requirement has a high difficulty for the thin and frail looking FSF. Those high level stunts made him feel that ancient hero's is difficult. He has fully experience those pain and happiness in 《Wind & Cloud 2》.

Actually, before FSF joined 《Wind & Cloud 2》, the character originally belonged to Chen Long. It was because Chen Long has violated the company's contract, he withdrew from this series. That time, many people were wary if this fresh faced and gentle youth (FSF) will be able to bring out Huai Kong's vengeful feeling. Though this series have made FSF went through many hardships in filming, it was also because of the character success that he was more known among series director, filming Prince You in 《The Conquest》afterward and recently 《The Drive of Life》.

Making a joke out of shoe shopping with Raymond Lam

Next year is Hong Kong's 10th anniversary of handover back to China. To commemorate this significant day, Hong Kong TVB and Mainland China CCTV have first time collaborated in filming 60 episode series 《The Drive of Life》. According to TVB GM Stephen Chan, 《The Drive of Life》 narrates the development of China’s automobile industry. To film this 60 episode series, TVB is sending out Damien Lau, Joe Ma, Raymond Lam, Jessica Hsuan, Charmaine Sheh, Myolie Wu and etc leading artistes to build a mega cast. As for Mainland cast, FSF holds the leading role of Wah Zhen Man, as Raymond Lam’s younger first cousin.

This is the first time FSF collaborated with TVB. Many people have the impression that Hong Kong is a rhythmic and fast paced metropolis, if you doesn't strive hard you will be eliminated. However, according to FSF Hong Kong life is not as exhausting as imagined. He says that HK artistes (TVB) are just like average white-collar worker. They drive to work, after finishing work they gather, have a meal and chat together. "Most of the scenes are filmed in studios. Hospital, shopping centre etc are all temporarily built; there's even elevator. Hong Kong's artistes are very nice to us, especially looking after us. I often goes shopping with Raymond Lam." Mentioning shopping with Raymond, FSF told a funny incident about buying shoes to the reporter.

Because they finished work earlier, FSF asked Raymond out for shoe shopping since they have time. However, before they reached the entrance of the shoe shop, there was already a big crowd of fans and paparazzi following behind. In the end, they did not buy anything and hurriedly fled away. Afterward, FSF joked to Raymond: "Lam Fung, you are such a trouble. Next time I won't go shopping with you anymore, unless you disguise your appearance first and no one recognize you, then we can go hang out together."

Spiritual love is not enough

Since FSF first series 《爱情密码》 in 2001 portraying older woman, younger man relationship with Wo Ji which was quite twisted, then in 《夜深沉》 with Tao Hong which was quite obvious, FSF is already familiar with older woman, younger man love relationship.

However, FSF told reporter that he accepted older woman, younger man love relationship easily from the start. He also will not reject the possibility himself having older woman relationship, but at the moment he is placing his career first and temporarily putting love aside. "The so-called love, is in the love foundation, and have no relation to age. To those really in love, age is just a tiny matter. I'm the kind of person who is serious into everything I do, including feelings. If I have a girlfriend I will be with her every day, sometime I will neglect my friends, putting love before friendship."

Although it looks like that FSF is appearing onscreen as newcomer, but comparing to other newcomers, he's much luckier. Looking carefully in his past series, you will know that his past co-stars are mostly among the now popular young stars such as Lu Yi, Ruby Lin, Peter Ho, Huang Yee and recently, Cecilia Cheung.

With a sunny appearance and amiable temperament, he's every girl ideal boyfriend. However, FSF says he only have girlfriend in university years. Having worked with so many actresses, he was asked if he have any ideal partner, or will he look for a girlfriend within entertainment circle. He told reporters that he want to concentrate on his career for now, not wanting to be in relationship. Another reason is that he doesn't know whether to choose girlfriend working within or outside entertainment circle.

"Looking for one outside entertainment circle, if I told her about things in entertainment, she won't understand, as if speaking different languages. If within the circle, we will be both busy filming outside everyday, meeting only a few times in a year, depending fully on spiritual love and telephone to maintain the relationship. My career is starting to improve, I don't want anything to divert my attention, so temporarily I don't plan to have a girlfriend."


Sehseh: Phew! Finally finished translating the article. I know a lot of people are interested in knowing more about FSF (aka Feng Wei), hence translating the article. To be honest, I was a little disappointed when Chen Kun didn't take part in [Drive], but FSF is cute enough. Though of course his acting will not be up to par with Chen Kun, but it will be refreshing seeing another handsome face onscreen. The pictures above doesn't do him much justice - he really look better and resemble Daniel onscreen!

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