Upon stepping into the photoshoot venue - a indoor basketball court in Shanghai, a young man in white dashed across, stopping just outside the 3-point perimeter, taking aim at the hoop, fluidly raising his arms and executing a jump shot, scoring in one go. The viewers’ first reaction was of unified curiosity - “Who’s that? So full of vigour?” Who else could it be? It’s definitely Kris Wu.
During the course of the photoshoot, we discovered that Kris Wu genuinely loved basketball. Even though he may be dressed in a suit or trench coat, he is able to charm the cameras while dribble the ball alternating between his hands with natural ease, completing the shoot for each look under ten minutes, truly showcasing his grace and skill. Not only did his hand not leave the ball throughout the duration of the shoot, during the interview when the topic of basketball was brought up, he would naturally promote it in the tone of a spokesperson, “Basketball strengthens the body, increases confidence, and is able to cultivate a group spirit, isn’t it so amazing.” That’s right, on that day he even set himself a new rule - upon the completion of shooting one look, he would have to make a basket, then proceed to change into the next set of clothes… “As of late, as long as there are pockets of spare time during work, (I’ll) bring along a basketball to practice, bringing it along wherever I go, and placing it by my bedside when I sleep.”
He’s putting in his all, because not long after this interview, Kris Wu will be heading to Toronto to participate in the NBA All Star Weekend Celebrity Game, with Tracy McGrady and Rick Fox as his teammates. At the mention of this match, Kris Wu’s eyes lit up. “Being able to go to the NBA to play this time is really considered a dream come true. I never thought that as an actor and singer, I would still be able to pursue this basketball dream of mine which had been kept in my heart for a very long time, and I feel incredibly contented.” The game period coincides with Chinese New Year, which meant that he will not be able to have a family reunion. However, he chose to look on the bright side, “Being able to spend time with basketball is quite meaningful. My family members, friends and team are all happy for me!” No matter how excited he was, there is still pressure. “There are so many NBA stars, they’re all so skilled. And there’s the feeling that I will be representing us Chinese people, I would silently feel that I have to work even harder.”
Grazia can guarantee that Kris Wu isn’t just all talk, because since the beginning of last December, for the sake of practicing his basketball skills, he gained close to 20 pounds, to prevent himself from being “knocked into and sent flying” by others, completely not worrying about his “celebrity image”. He also intensified his workouts. “I haven’t worked out for so long hence my ability has gone down a lot, at times I would go to the gym to do strength training”, keeping in mind all the shots he has made at all times. “Ball sense is extremely important during a game. Look at me today, I will practice shooting the moment I have the opportunity to do so, hahaha.” Does he feel that he must win if he is this hardworking? “That’s not the case, winning or losing isn’t that important. Of course, winning would be better. I hope that the coach would give me more time on court, or that I will be able to give Tracy McGrady several more assists, so that he will be able to score more points.” Then has he broken the ice with his teammates? “There’s no time, everyone is very busy. But before the match there will be a period of warming up, for everyone to get to know each other. But other than some celebrities, I’m rather familiar with the playing styles of Tracy McGrady and other basketball stars.”
Last month, Kris Wu even revealed his own basketball charity project, Extraordinary Court of Glory, which aims to provide underprivileged children who loved basketball with better basketball courts. While talking about this subject he was extremely serious. “Doing charity work is something I have planned to do for a long while, as a public figure, I ought to do my best to the full extent of my abilities in aiding even more people. There are many underprivileged kids who wish for better basketball courts, who wish for better basketball playing conditions, and it is this help that they are in need of.” As to why he picked basketball as his first step into charity, his reason was very simple - Passion. “I passionately love basketball, so I believe that I can persevere on, and I also have the enthusiasm to carry it out well.”
“Passion” - This word was brought up by Kris Wu not merely just once that day. “Music is an expression of myself. I’m devoted to performing onstage and interacting with fans, it’s something I’m very enthusiastic about.” “Being an actor is also a form of passion. Especially when putting in effort to portray a character, upon experiencing the feeling that he has been brought to life on the silver screen, a deep sense of accomplishment would be felt.” “Doing fashion related things are purely out of my own interest. For example being able to make more friends, or showcasing even better sides of me.” He even went to the extent of saying that his never ending energy all boiled down to that. “Actually there’s a lot of things on my plate, my daily schedule is constantly packed to the brim. Honestly speaking there will definitely be times that I will be tired, and without this passion it would really be extremely hard to persevere on. But if I genuinely like it, I would be able to tell myself to continue on.”
“However, I am not terribly fond of setting specific goals for myself, for example getting a certain award or such. There are many things which I want to do, and if I am like this it would be too hard on myself, I am afraid that it will extinguish this enthusiasm. I merely hope that I will be able to ensure that I will complete each day’s tasks to the best of my ability, to put my hundred percent into everything that I do.” Yes. The fruits of his passion are already present - we’ll let you in on a secret, Kris Wu said that what made him most happy recently was that “There are people who became fans of my acting because of Xiao Fei. That’s right, I also received letters from people telling me that they liked the way I dressed.” Up till this point he suddenly shifted to 4D mode, hitting his thigh and laughing, “See, now I have fans of my music, fans of my films, fans of my fashion, and fans of my basketball skills!”
Talking about his focus of work for the new year, he furrowed his eyebrows, “Right now I have many identities, singer, actor, model, charity…” after thinking for a moment he continued, “In the future I don’t know what else I will do, perhaps there will be even more surprises, even things that I would not have thought of, because there are endless possibilities that lie in the future. No one can be sure, one day I might become a director, who knows.”
Finally in closing he shared some words of wisdom, “Seize the opportunity while you are young and energetic to bravely do what you like, do not give yourself a chance for regret!”
How did you end up walking for Burberry (at the Burberry Fall 2016 Menswear show in January)? Last year during the Met Ball I met Burberry designer, we left good impressions on each other, and after that I received the invitation to walk for Burberry. I have always been interested in fashion, and at that time I felt that I should take up this challenge. The biggest difference between watching the show and being on the runway is the participation level.
Honestly speaking, were you nervous before going on the runway? Yes I was, because I really had no prior experience. In addition, that was an international stage, and the designer specially arranged for me to lead the finale of the show. Perhaps it looks easy when looking at others walking, but when you are the one walking, wow (face of horror), the pressure is definitely there. Especially at the end, walking in front, you would have to control the speed and pacing. But after going on the runway, I felt that the walk went rather smoothly.
What were you thinking of when you were walking? Did you think that you were especially handsome? Nah, I just walked. After all, being a model, the important part is to showcase the clothes. Therefore I concentrated on smoothly completing the walk, so that the audience could focus on the clothes. Anyway models don’t usually have any expression, so I too didn’t have any expression while walking the entire time haha.
How would you rate model Kris Wu? 9 points (out of 10). Perhaps 9 points is a bit too high, so 8 points instead. (Why the deduction of 2 points?) I’m afraid I’ll get proud hahahaha, so I’ll leave some room for improvement. (Do you still want to walk (at fashion shows) again?) If I have the chance to, I would be very willing to do so once again.
We heard that you wanted to create your own line? I hope that I will be able to start this year. It has been making gradual progress. It will be a very fashionable brand with a distinct character and good quality, a label which is in trend. (In the style direction of brands which are currently in trend?) Yes, because I really like street style, so the style direction of the brand will be a little more casual. (Will you participate in designing?) Of course. I will personally take part in about 80% of the designing process, only leaving the parts which require highly skilled professional work to my team.
What is it about fashion that has sparked your interest? Extremely diverse, no borders, just like music. Also, I enjoy developing different sides of me, because different clothes give off a different style, wearing them would be different, and I really love this sense of freshness.
Watching a fashion show, walking for a show, Met Gala…. What other ambitions do you have fashion-wise? The main thing now is that I’m creating my own line. Later on I still hope that I will be able to collaborate with even more designers, right now I’ve contacted some of my designer friends, I hope that (I’ll) be able to create things that are different, and fresh.
Previously when it was still snowing you still wore ripped jeans, so you kinda have an idol “packaging”? It’s fine, I just hope that I will be able to showcase a good side of me towards everyone. That day was actually a mistake (hits thigh with an expression of regret), because the day before I ended work pretty late, and while setting aside my clothes I totally did not think that the weather would be that cold. I got a huge shock from being so cold first thing in the morning, really. At that time I was really regretful, and said why didn’t anyone tell me it would be that cold the night before. (Suddenly lowers voice) Actually I was informed, but I forgot.
Fans were all asking you to wear long johns, would you accept such an item? In all honesty, from day to day life I probably would not be able to accept that. But while filming it was really too cold and hence it was necessary to wear them, I was fully thinking about their functionality. (Have you worn them recently?) Recently I haven’t been wearing ripped jeans much, I don’t dare to. [The experience] that day left me so cold till I was shivering.
Not long ago you were also a commentator for a basketball game, did you have any prior experience? No, I had only tried it out at home for fun. I’d say stuff like “Great shot, that’s a good ball, this technique is such and such” (But there were people who said you commentated very professionally.) Really? (Shyly smiles with crinkled eyes) Honestly speaking right now I don’t have much time to keep up with matches, basically I rely on experience to comment on some technique-related stuff.
Have you noticed that a lot of guys have started to follow you? Yes yes yes, I think it’s really fun. Recently there are guys who take the initiative to speak to me. As a public figure I definitely hope that more people will follow me, also when it is through basketball which I’m most passionate about, I’m genuinely very happy.
That’s right, how did you end up playing the role of Tang Monk in <Journey to the West: Demon Chapter>? The character differs from your real self greatly. It’s because there’s such a huge difference that I wanted to take up the challenge. To be able to let others see my transformation and to hone my acting skills. Of course, there are also very important reasons - Tsui Hark is the director and Stephen Chow is the producer, so I felt that this was an excellent opportunity. As an actor, there was no reason for me to turn it down.
This time you shaved off all your hair for the sake of this movie. Do you think that you will be able to endure even greater sacrifice(s) for your acting career? When it’s required for the script, I won’t have anything that I can’t sacrifice. Or at least, none I can think of now. To be a good actor, one must try out many things, and not place restraints on oneself.
Memory at 7 years old? I was in first grade and still in Guangzhou, the only thing I remember was that at that time I probably liked playing soccer. (Why soccer?) Before I was 10 years old I didn’t like basketball, why was that so? I wasn’t tall enough, and couldn’t throw high enough into the basket.(Then when did you start to grow taller?) When I was 11, I shot up quickly. I started playing basketball at 10.
What were you doing 7 years ago? 7 years ago I was 18, I was probably studying in Canada or has just gone to Korea.
Plan for 7 years later? I would be 32 years old, right now I haven’t thought of it but I hope that I would be able to live freely at my own will, do stuff that I want to do, singing, dancing, acting, various things. And also walk at fashion shows as a model, hahaha my new profession.
Is there anything that has accompanied you for 7 years? Basketball, yes, other that basketball what else is there?
Something you have persisted in doing for 7 years? Play basketball. And also my current career, from the time I entered the industry till now it’s been just about 7 years.
The festivities kick off tomorrow night 7pm with the Celebrity game. Tune in as Kevin Hart is on a mission to win his 3rd MVP, but competition is gonna be steep so we might see a new famous king of the court.