yoho magazine

Kris Wu - A Different Kind of Freedom

YOHO!GIRL September 2016

Kris Wu has never thought of himself as an idol. He merely said that he is a singer and actor by profession, and at the moment, his career is everything to him. He absorbs like a sponge, and also “drains” himself like one too, finding joy despite the various limitations of freedom, to achieve the greatest possible outcome of life. 

It was half past ten in the evening, in the car park of a five star hotel in Shanghai. Thirty, forty young men and women stood in an orderly manner in front of a Mercedes van. Mostly under the age of twenty, they were holding handphones or cameras, keeping their eyes on the emergency exit in excitement. There was a sense of excitement building up in the stuffy basement air, anticipating to be released.

Suddenly, several girls started screaming, but did not rush out, remaining in a orderly fashion instead. Kris Wu had arrived. Dressed in white top and black pants, and donning a black woolen beanie along with black sunglasses, he was simple yet stylish. “Don’t you feel hot wearing the woolen beanie?” A girl asked loudly. “I don’t feel hot.” Kris Wu replied politely. After the simple exchange, he opened the van door. “I’m leaving now, bye bye.” The fans waved in unison to him, reluctant to see him leave.

After boarding the van, Kris Wu removed his sunglasses, tiredness evident on his makeup-less face. He had worked all day the day before, only wrapping up at two in the morning. Today was another full day dedicated to work. “The day before was like this too, and the day before that as well… I’ve always been this busy, I’m used to it, yet not used to it, it’s my job, it’s part of the pain and happiness.”

A list has been tabulated of Kris Wu’s accomplishments – By the end of last year, after returning to China for two years, he has filmed a total of 9 movies, sang 5 songs, signed on to work with 20 brands, and shot for 15 magazine covers. Besides these, he has also made a list of several “first"s – Being the first Asian male celebrity to be invited by fashion label Burberry to walk for them and end the show, being the first Chinese celebrity to play at the NBA All Star Celebrity Game, as well as 13 other "firsts”, a clear indication of his popularity and efforts of hard work. Just a little after 2016 is half over, he has already completed filming for 3 movies, two of which are major Hollywood productions – <xXx: The Return of Xander Cage>, starring Vin Diesel, and <Valérian and the City of a Thousand Planets, directed by Luc Besson>.

During the first day on set for <xXx: The Return of Xander Cage>, Kris Wu was very nervous. “Firstly, the entire script was in English, although the language was not a problem, but to me it was a completely new experience. Secondly, the first scene was a group scene, there were many people on set, and it was a scene with Vin Diesel himself, which he continuously gave me more lines. I really experienced what was it like having "a mountain of stress”. But very quickly, he hit it off really well with the rest of the team. Director DJ Caruso posted pictures of Kris Wu on Twitter, and Luc Besson even added two stars on the collar of his costume for <Valérian and the City of a Thousand Planets>, and playfully told him, “This is your reward for learning well.”

 According to those in the industry, in the “Fresh Meat” line of the Chinese entertainment industry, in order to retain value and stand out from the rest, one must first depend on good works, and secondly depend on good relations. It is evident that Kris Wu is lacking in neither. From his maiden work <Somewhere Only We Know>, Kris Wu has “accumulated” a list of directors: Xu Jinglei, Guan Hu, Feng Xiaogang, Stephen Chow, Tsui Hark… All of them viewing him favourably. Last year on his birthday, “half the entertainment industry” sent their well-wishes. He said that he has realised a key value while working, “To treat the cast and crew as my family, and create a comfortable working environment. Right now, it is when I work in a relaxed manner that I have the best results.”

Those who have worked with Kris Wu before, all have deep impressions of his good manners and professionalism. On the day of the shoot, the studio was located 40 minutes’ drive away. After almost half an hour, his assistant, seated at the front passenger seat, quietly mentioned that Kris Wu had yet to eat breakfast, and whether it was alright if he ate while having the interview. How is a big star’s breakfast like? Just a regular sausage bun bought from a convenience store. Not long after eating, Kris Wu suddenly pointed to a goods van speeding off, and let out a childlike expression. “Wow, ‘white pepper pork rib noodles’, looks pretty good.”

Upon arrival at the studio, makeup, styling, photography and interviews all started off in full swing. We took a glance at the schedule, and it end time written down was at midnight. On set, Kris Wu did not speak much, after shooting a set of clothes he would change into the next one, posing effortlessly, his gaze sharp. Director Guan Hu had previously praised Kris Wu for having “an unyieldingness in his bones, a side of him which cannot be restrained.” “This, should be what I was naturally born with. When I was young, I used to feel an inexplicable sense of superiority, haha.” Kris Wu said with a smile, “Perhaps it is also due to the influence of Western teachings, and also, due to being a Scorpio – mysterious and aloof.”

When he is not working – Although such instances are sparse, he enjoys playing mobile games, playing basketball, or staying at home. If he wants to watch his own movies, he also has no way of watching them like regular people in cinemas. “I would book the entire cinema with a few friends to watch it.” Where he cannot have freedom in life temporarily, he works hard in his career. In <Journey to the West: Demon Chapter>, he played the role of Tang Sen, and it was the first time he shaved his head bald. At that point in time, his team was rather unsure, and suggested to him to wear a fake head cover. “That’s definitely not alright, it is necessary to truly shave.” Kris Wu said. For a very long period of time, he would always don caps to events. “You will encounter many people who will tell you that "This may not be good”, “What about that”. When you start to listen to them, you would lose your own personality. I am someone who strongly believes in individuality. When I feel that something is right, I will definitely do it. Everyone will gradually get used to my style of working.“

Not one to follow the masses, Kris Wu only accepts jobs that interest him. "If there’s no challenge, it’s not something worth doing, and I will not do it.” Kris Wu took on the role of Xiao Fei in <Mr Six> because he had never experienced the lavish lifestyle of a wealthy second generation youth; and as for <L.O.R.D>, it was because the shooting was done is a very special manner. “There was nothing on set, everything had to rely on one’s imagination, which was really a test for the actors.” As for Tang Sen, “The role was very different from the previous ones I had acted in, it’s really worth looking forward to.”

Japanese film director Hirokazu Koreeda once said, “Creators are not the ones who control the world, but it is the first people who are deeply set on accepting that there is no freedom that exists in the world, and treat the limit of freedom as an "interesting” element. When it comes to work, Kris Wu also happily absorbed various new elements. “I like to find more ways to improve, as long as I feel that it is interesting, I will be willing to learn, to understand.” When he was filming with Luc Besson, he saw a completely new style of filming. “Every day we would wrap up early, efficiency was extraordinarily high, and we would even be able to film two, three different other scenes that were not originally planned. It’s that much. This made him really interested. Kris Wu realised that on set, Luc Besson was not only the director, but also the cameraman.” I was wondering, if it was only Director Luc who was like that, or were they all like that in France? They told me that this was very common in France. Really incredible.“ He wished that there would be a day where he himself would be able to become such a skilled artist. "Each of your works will be a piece of art, it is something innovative, significant, and meaningful.” “I have never thought of myself as an idol, and do not wish to become an idol. Being an idol is not good, one would have to be a role model for others. I merely want to present good works and bring positivity to those who like me. I am just working as a singer, and actor. Outside work, nothing goes into my mind. I only care about my works.”

Most recently, what made Kris Wu very happy was the outside recognition he received from acting in <Sweet Sixteen>. “Mostly it’s ….. haha, why is it so strange when I say it out? Another is "Being good looking and able to act well is a scary thing, now that scariest is here.” Reading such comments made me very happy, even though I do not feel as such.“ Be it singing, acting or coordinating outfits, being able to do as I wish and gaining recognition from the audience is something that Kris Wu feels that is very satisfying, and that all hard work put in was worth it.

That day, we wrapped up close to three in the morning.

Q&A - Behind the cold and cool facade

Are you aware of how popular you are?
I’m alright. Whether I am popular or not is not for me to say. If everyone thinks I am popular then I am popular, if they do not think so, then I am not.

Right now looking back at your first movie <Somewhere Only We Know> do you think that you have grown and improved a lot?
At that time, I really did not know anything at all. That was my first movie, and I honestly did not know anything. When I came on set, I didn’t even know about camera movement and perspective of shooting. When you say thing, it really makes me want to watch it again, to see how I fared when I was a greenhorn. After all, I was only like this once, haha.

Will you watch the movies that you have acted in? What will you think when watching? To correct your own bad habits?
Definitely. I will put myself in the shoes of the audience, viewing the entire movie in the most unbiased viewpoint, and evaluate.

How do you think acting skills can be improved?
Time, experience, being steady. Good actors don’t acquire their skill through learning, but instead depend on experiences in life. I like method acting, and this is what many directors want me to maintain.

Which role(s) did you feel were most addicting to act?
Xiao Fei, Tang Sen. Right now I can’t reveal too much about Tang Sen. I really liked the feel of Xiao Fei’s character, which I will not be able to experience in real life. When I received the movie script, I said, I will be able to act this well.

How does it feel like to have worked with so many famous directors?Thinking it about it right now, it’s like dreaming. Since young I grew up watching Stephen Chow’s films, and it didn’t occur to me that in this lifetime I would be able to have the opportunity to make films with him. Life is like that, some things happen too quickly, before even having the time to process it, it has already happened. It is during times like this that I feel that I am incredibly fortunate.

What plans do you have for Hollywood?
Not much plans, let things go their natural course, and it also depends on fate. I only filmed these two movies because I felt that they were meaningful, not because I wanted to "break into Hollywood”.

What kind of role would you want to try next?
Perhaps I would want to try acting the role of a psycho person next.

You really love taking on challenges, but what would you do if you fail?
What about this? I don’t know how you will determine what failure is, I feel that as long as you work hard and take up the challenge, there won’t be so called failure. In this industry, no matter what you do, there will always be people who will like or dislike you.

When will you release new song(s)?
I will be making music very soon. It’s hard to find a balance between acting and singing. Because when one is focused on a task, there will be no time or no energy for other things. Right now I wish to place a greater focus on music.

Do you think that your personality is extroverted or introverted?
I used to be extremely introverted, which was good and bad. Right now I’m half (extroverted) and half (introverted). Being introverted is good, it gives oneself a layer of protection.

Are you funny?
A lame sense of humour. Let me tell you, it’s! really! extremely! lame! When I’m being lame, it’s really…..but in the end I will be able to make you laugh, that’s where I’m skilled at.

translation: @wu_yi_fan

[Eng]Yoho!Girl Magazine - Feb 2017 issue - “Monologue / Huang Zitao”

scans cr. to 西国浪 on weibo

translation cr. to me

Monologue / Huang Zitao

“The things that I write and sing about, are all real experiences and feelings. I don’t care about how many people will like it or understand it. If you like it, listen to it. If you don’t, then forget about it. I just want to write out what’s in my heart. There are too many fake things in this world.”

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