No one turns heads quite like Godfrey Gao. Scratch that, no one strains necks more than Godfrey Gao. Sure, the 1.96m-tall actor-model is breathtakingly good-looking, but it's his height that everyone can't seem to get, um, over. So tall is the 32-year-old that at the recent Paul & Shark party at Jurong Fishery Port, guests suddenly looked like they were watching a plane fly by in the sky each time Godfrey walked past them. Not that anyone was complaining. And when we asked him for a selfie, he offered to take it 'cos "you would not be able to see me otherwise." Now that would have bruised our ego... if Godfrey had not been completely right.
So we sat the Taiwanese heartthrob down, both us with champagne in our hands, to chat about his favourite pop culture moments.
8 DAYS: Since your name is Godfrey, which actor do you think has a voice that most sounds like God?
GODFREY GAO: Morgan Freeman? (Smiles) His voice is very soothing and it’s very persuasive and he had a role… I think it was something with Jim Carrey… Bruce Almighty. Ever since that movie, I just think of Morgan Freeman as God.
Which movie made you want to be an actor?
It was probably a Jackie Chan movie. When I was little, my parents took me to one of his movies in Taiwan and after walking out of the theatre, I wanted to be like him. I grew up wanting to be like Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Jet Li. You can say that it wasn’t character actors but action stars who made me want to act. Action movies was my first gateway into entertainment. I was very into the Fast and Furious movies and the Power Rangers. Actually, I wasn’t into acting until I was given a chance. I was playing basketball and I wanted to do that professionally.
Speaking of basketball, which NBA star do you think is the better actor? Shaquille O’Neal in Kazaam, Michael Jordan in Space Jam or Lebron James in Trainwreck?
I would have to go with Shaq. He’s just got more character and a lot more facial expressions than Jordan and Lebron. It’s true that Lebron was fantastic in Trainwreck but he’s Lebron. Although I liked his commercials, you know, when he started as an 18, 19-year-old and got signed to Nike. I thought those were good ’cos he played a lot characters. But Shaq is the better actor.
Do you have a favourite onscreen couple?
I would have loved to see Ross and Rachel [from Friends] develop even more. Who else… I even liked Channing Tatum in Step Up with the lady who became his wife. There was definitely onscreen chemistry there. I also really enjoyed The Notebook. I thought Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling were very good together. I really liked the movie.
A lot of people see you as their screen crush. But who was your first screen crush?
I think it was like Jennifer Love Hewitt or something like that. Along those lines. Or Cruel Intentions… Sarah Michelle Gellar. Yeah. A long time ago (laughs).
You started out as a model. So which is the better movie about fashion? The Devil Wears Prada or Zoolander?
The Devil Wears Prada would be a better choice. Zoolander wasn’t really fashion fashion. Obviously, you see crazy runway shows but Zoolander just took it to another level. It’s like mocking fashion (laughs). But it’s actually one of my favourite movies. I probably watched the first one more than a dozen times. The second one… not so much (laughs).
Which TV show are you be most embarrassed about liking?
Full House. I really enjoyed it for some reason. It’s really entertaining. And Power Rangers (laughs). I haven’t watched the remake but I’ve heard good things about it. Oh, and Teletubbies (guffaws). It’s one of my all-time favourite shows. It’s just very entertaining and very funny to see the four Teletubbies doing things (laughs).
Your mum is from Georgetown in Penang, so what’s your favourite Penang dish?
It’s a really lovely town. There’s so much good food there... I can’t even. I grew up eating char kway teow and I love bak kut teh as well. I think the last time I went back, I had very good nyonya food so just about everything from that restaurant, which I sadly can’t remember the name of now. It’s a family-owned business and I can’t wait to go back again. Oh, my brother and I love ah pong, which is a kind of pancake or crepe in Penang. And we would try to have it whenever we go back to Penang.
You’re into fitness and you’re also a model. So which TV show do you think you’d have a better chance of winning? American Ninja Warrior or America’s Next Top Model?
(Laughs) Prob America’s Next Top Model. I can dress up like a girl any day (laughs). As for Ninja Warrior… although I’m an athlete, I’m not a freak athlete. Those guys are just amazing, how they keep themselves in shape. I’m not at that level. If I try hard, I would probably be able to compete but then again, I’m 6’4 (1.95m), almost 6’5... I don’t think I’m agile [enough] to move like that (laughs).
Your next movie is called Love is a Broadway Hit. So what’s your favourite Broadway hit?
You know what, I didn’t really have a lot of chances to enjoy Broadway ’cos my career is often [based] in Asia. So the closest thing to memory now would be Sleep No More. It was recommended by a friend and I thought it was very interesting ’cos it’s interactive. You follow the actors around this old hotel and they bring you into different rooms on different levels. It’s really tiring too ’cos you go up and down the stairs a lot (laughs). I thought it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to, compared to like, Mama Mia or The Lion King.
Lastly, summer is coming, so swim shorts or speedos?
(Laughs) I just had this conversation with my friends today ’cos we were at the pool. I was looking around and I was just like, “I don’t think I can ever wear a speedo again.” I haven’t worn one since I was little ’cos my parents gave one to me. And it was red — a red speedo (laughs). But ever since moving to Canada, I never went back to speedos or any triangular-shaped underwear (laughs). And I don’t think I can again.