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Be open to the experience of working in Hollywood, even as you continue to tell stories at home: Chin Han to aspiring Indian actors
“Storytelling is a universal impulse”
“Hollywood is not the ultimate destination, though a very important destination”
“Film is really like a dream come true”
“Hospitality is amazing; the hotel staff kept remaking coffee until he got it right”
“As the world becomes more global, there will be greater opportunities for Asian actors to be part of global stories”
I am very excited about Indian scripts; India has a storehouse of talent, with a rich cinematic history, said film actor Chin Han. He also fondly remembered the inspiration he has drawn from the legendary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray.
The celebrated Singaporean-American actor, known as Singapore’s Man on the Moon, was addressing a press conference, at the 49th International Film Festival of India, in Goa today, November 22, 2018.
Speaking about his visit to India he said “I had come here because I have always appreciated the films of India. I recently watched this hugely popular movie Dangal which did good business even outside India”.
Speaking about his film career, he mentioned that the journey from theatre and film industry of Singapore to Hollywood was very eventful. He said that his basic training was done in theatre; it is the place where one learns to dance, do projection, voice modulation, etc. The tradition of theatre is very classical; theatre was a great place to train. The movement to television (with its emphasis on speed) meant that it took him a while to get used to that. He said that he never thought that a day would come when he would be starring alongside Dwayne Johnson.
Speaking about Asians in Hollywood cinema, Chin Han said in movies like The Dark Knight – cast is full of diverse races; and race is not an issue at all. There has been a trend shift in a short period of 10 years from 1997 to 2007. As the world becomes more global, with more platforms to show movies involving different races, there will be greater opportunities for Asian actors to be part of global stories. Already actors like Irrfan Khan have made quite a mark in USA and with lot of fellow Asian actors around Hollywood does not seem foreign at all, Mr Han said. “I would welcome any aspiring actor here in India to be open to the experience of working in Hollywood by continuing to tell stories at home as well. This way, we would be able to come back with a different kind of understanding about filmmaking, which we may not otherwise get”, said the actor.
Speaking about his experience of working for Marco Polo web series, the actor said that web series is a medium which is in-between films and television. He noted that series like that of Netflix gives filmmakers the ability to bring films closer to TV.
He said though Hollywood is not a final destination for actors, it is certainly an important destination as Hollywood has built a very good infrastructure for making films. The technology in filmmaking changes very fast and genius directors like Christopher Nolan are very good at using technology like I-Max in film making.
Speaking further about Christopher Nolan, Mr Han said Nolan is like a General, who has the whole movie planned in front of him. The script of Dark Knight looked so complicated to Mr Han, he had to take a break in the middle of reading it; it looked so complex but Nolan has the whole movie in his head, before he even begins the shooting. He directs every shot in his movies instead of relying on the second and third units on the sets.
Mr Han, who has a keen interest in Indian television media and industry, observed that shooting takes place at a fast pace in the Indian TV industry. He expressed the hope to be able to learn more about Indian film industry and collaborate with the great talents flowing from India.
Speaking about the way he chooses films, Mr Han said, “I look at stories as to whether they are truthful to my personal experience, I look at characters I can identify with. The characters need to have personalities on their own; otherwise, those roles do not really help. The choice of roles has to be meaningful and have to be well-written.”
Mr. Han said that storytelling is a universal impulse, and that every culture has the impulse to tell its own story. As long as filmmakers get the opportunity to tell their story, meaningful stories will be told, he asserted.
On his association with Dwayne Johnson, Han said that Johnson is the biggest movie star in the world at the moment. He is super-committed, physically gifted and he really takes care of his fans, Mr Han said.
Mr. Han was quite impressed with the IFFI opening ceremony and considered it fun and entertaining, and he was happy to meet the Indian superstars.
NG Chin Han, usually credited as just Chin Han, is a Singaporean American actor of stage, film and television. He has been named by CNNGo as one of Asia’s 25 all-time greatest actors. Chin Han’s 20-year career has spanned many international theatre, television and film projects. Though not a household name in the cinemtic world, actor Chin Han has been making waves in the land almost every actor dreams of – Hollywood.
He gained widespread acclaim while starring in Masters of the Sea, Singapore television’s first foray into English language drama. In 1998, Chin Han made his US film debut in Blindness. He played a crucial role in the blockbuster movie The Dark Knight. Some other major works of Chin Han are 2012, Contagion, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Independence Day: and Resurgence; he recently starred in the movie Skyscraper. He has also starred in recurring roles in famous television shows like Arrow, The Blacklist and Marco Polo. He received critical acclaim for his memorable role of Chancellor Jia Sidao in the Netflix series Marco Polo. He is also one of the few actors who has acted in both DC Universe and Marvel Universe.