Photos: Toggle, Sam Loh, Kaiser Chuang
Unless you’re a big fan of Taiwanese movies, you might not know Kaiser Chuang, who, by the way, has been in the biz for close to two decades and has a Golden Bell Award for Best Actor under his belt.
“I’m not your traditionally tall, dark and handsome guy that you’d expect as an actor,” he chuckled during an interview for his upcoming Toggle Original The Driver last month. “This will probably be the first time that many of Singapore's audience will be seeing me on screen, so I hope that this role will leave an impact on them."
The 38-year-old Taiwanese actor, who spends the bulk of his time filming movies, said yes to this drama, which requires him to be away from home for almost half a year, because the script was something he just couldn't say no to.
"I enjoy characters that are a little ‘grey’, a mix of good and bad, and this character is exactly that," he shared.
While he declined to share more details about how ‘grey’ his character is, instead teasing that we should watch the drama instead, he did share that this drama is one that he’s invested the most in, both physically and mentally.
Kaiser has kept himself holed up in his room for most of the time he’s been in Singapore, as he mused that he needs to keep himself in a “constant state of loneliness” in order to understand his character’s frame of mind.
“I try to be on my own as much as possible and listen to music and read my scripts. When people ask me about my trip to Singapore, I can’t tell them much because I’m mostly in my room,” he said wryly. “When there’s a four day gap between filming, I feel like I’ve been forgotten by the world, but I keep myself busy by working out, watching good movies and going over my script.”
While going over his script, he pinpointed two scenes which he feels will be the most challenging to film. The first is the final fight scene, which he described as one that they will have to prepare “for two or three days in advance”. “I can’t say too much about it, but it’s going to be physically exhausting, so I’ll definitely need to keep myself focused.”
The other, he shared, is a bedroom scene with Jesseca Liu.
The actor shared, “When we were filming in Japan, we filmed scenes where we hugged or kissed, but that was it. Both Jesseca and I have our own respective families, but we’re both adults, so I believe that we’ll be able to face this maturely. However, this is the first time that we’re working together, so there are some things, such as how far we can go on Singapore TV, that we have to work out.”
The main reason for his worry, he explained, was that there was just “too many unknowns” involved, as the details of the steamy scene were yet to be confirmed. “I haven’t talked about this with Jesseca nor the director yet, so I don’t know how we should approach this. I personally feel that bedroom scenes are all about the details, which is why talking about it is important.”
Kaiser mused the importance of being diligent while filming steamy scenes, as he let on that he questions how necessary they are before the cameras roll.
“It’s not about attracting the audience or making an impact, but rather allowing your character to grow in an organic way in which a bedroom scene would make sense in his story,” he explained.
“To an actor, our bodies are our tools. If doing bedroom scenes bothers you, I feel that it means that you haven’t given yourself completely to your character,” he said. “Once I hear the word ‘Action!’ on set, I become my character, and I won’t have any barriers in my mind stopping me from doing my work.”
Speaking of his body, he’ll be baring skin for more than just the bedroom scene as he’s transformed his body into a lean, mean fighting machine.
Working out every day and keeping to a strict diet has resulted in “the best physique that I’ve had in a while”.
Naturally, the urge to snack hit him in the early days of his intense diet, which he successfully warded off. These days, however, he’s allowing himself to cheat a little while on set. The actor shared with a grin, “After we started filming, I started eating with the crew so I’m allowed to cheat a little by eating what they eat. Even if I were to eat a bit of what I’m not supposed to, I won’t put on weight so easily.”
With all the hard work that he’s put into getting into such great shape, we couldn’t help but ask if he’ll be maintaining it after filming wraps this month.
His answer? “No way!”
“Do you know how expensive it is to maintain this physique?” he said in mock horror. “It’s not just the food, but the supplements that I have to take. I consider this body something that I’ve worked on solely for The Driver, so I’ll go back to an average build once I finish work.”
Kaiser’s short-term goal is to go on holiday for the very first time in his career. He grinned as he described his dream vacation as one where he and his family will head to an island, where he’ll turn off his phone and do nothing but eat, drink and be merry for a week.
This might not work out however, as his manager reminded him that he’s got plenty of offers lining up for him, and that she might very well jet over to wherever he is if he falls off the grid.
We’d love to see how this one pans out, and we’ll definitely ask him how his great escape worked out the next time we see him.
The Driver debuts on Toggle in August.