Photos: Joanna Goh & Wu Qi
Video: Lye Yuk Sing
After making a stab at Taiwan’s showbiz industry and advancing his acting career abroad, Shaun Chen returned to Singapore bearing more appeal than ever as leading man material.
The Malaysian-Chinese’s first project upon his return, Channel 8’s Blessings, won rave reviews all around for its time-travelling and feel-good nostalgic vibes, and the drama is currently ranked one of the top 3 shows of 2014. The good reviews do not end here.
Shortly after his turn as a pastry chef in Blessings, he “time-travelled” back to the 1950s again to take on a lead role in The Journey: Tumultuous Times as a good natured hooligan, Hu Jia (a.k.a. Zhang Jia) who was, unfortunately, separated from his family members when World War II hit Singapore. Thanks to the lively performance and precocious antics put forth by his two younger selves (actors Damien Teo and Zong Zijie), Shaun’s flippant portrayal of his character has also left a deep impression on viewers.
If you’ve been tuning into the show on a daily basis at 9pm, you’d know that one of the major story arcs (spoiler alert!) last Friday saw the demise of Hu Weiren, Hu Jia’s adoptive father (played by Chen Hanwei). The emotional scene was said to be one of Shaun’s key performances in the drama which, according to his co-star Hanwei, would most likely help him bag a Best Actor nomination in 2015’s Star Awards.
When we spoke to Shaun at the imaging session for the third and final series of The Journey: Our Homeland where he’d be reprising his role as a “more mature” Zhang Jia (yes, he’s back to his original name), the actor let in on his nomination hopes too.
“It’d be very satisfying (to get nominated),” he admitted, “It was really gratifying to act with Hanwei, he helped me along and gave me some tips and brought out the emotions in my character. When I watched that episode (20), I was so touched I teared a little… This show was a really satisfying project for me.”
Shaun also shared that he hopes to get nominated alongside his adoptive father next year. “We’ve spoken about it and if he gets nominated for Best Supporting Actor, I’d want to get nominated for Best Actor. We hope to go on stage hand-in-hand to receive the award together,” he joked.
When we broached the possibility of scoring a double nom for his likeable turn as Lian Wending in Blessings, the candid actor confessed that he “did think about it” but said, “I’m afraid I might go home empty-handed even with the double nomination. That’s even worse! That’s akin to dropping in the river (referring to a scene in Tumultuous Times, we reckon)!”
As his acting career steadily picks up with another Taiwanese drama project on the horizon in 2015 (nothing’s confirmed at the moment though, he added), things are definitely beginning to look rosy for Shaun. “2014 has been a bountiful year for me,” he conceded, “Thanks to ‘Blessings’ I’ve landed (the role) in Tumultous Times’. I don’t know what to say (except ‘Thank You’) but I’ll continue to do my very best and do each role justice.”
Now that his career is moving in the right direction, will we see some developments or progress in his love life too?
“Not yet, I guess,” laughed Shaun, who previously shared that he has someone in mind. “We’re still in the observation stage, any developments really depends on fate too.”
WATCH: Shaun Chen
The Journey: Our Homeland debuts July 6, 2015 on weekdays at 9pm on Channel 8. Visit the show’s official site for more information on The Journey trilogy.