Zhu Hou Ren’s son Joel Choo strips down for TV debut

The newbie actor lost 10kg with work-outs and self-cooked meals for his appearance in Channel 5’s ‘Faculty’

Zhu Hou Ren’s son Joel Choo strips down for TV debut
Zhu Hou Ren’s son Joel Choo strips down for TV debut
22 Nov 2016

Zhu Hou Ren’s son Joel Choo strips down for TV debut

Photos: Tammi Tan

When director Gerald Lee was casting for Channel 5 drama Faculty, he immediately thought of 22-year-old Joel Choo, the youngest son of veteran actor Zhu Hou Ren.

“I noticed that he was getting more handsome, so I told myself that one day, I need to recruit him,” said the director, who is married to actress Aileen Tan and spent a lot of time at the Choo household watching Joel grow up.

Last Thursday (Nov 17), Toggle paid a visit to one of the series’ filming locations at a swimming club, where a scene featuring Joel and Aden Tan was being shot. Joel plays CK, a high-achieving but arrogant national swimmer who is competing with Aden’s character for the affections of popular Instagrammer Desiree (played by Sofia Dendroff).

In an interview, the Singapore Polytechnic Music and Audio Technology graduate shared that when Gerald approached his father to ask if Joel would be keen to go for auditions, he agreed.

“I’ve always been interested in acting, so I thought I might as well give it a shot,” he told us. “Watching my dad on screen definitely inspired and influenced me, and having an older brother (Jonathan Choo) who directs played a part as well.”

Joel is also part of a local band called Maxime, but he revealed that he plans to put music-related stuff on hold for the moment to pursue acting.

WATCH: A sneak peek at Joel on set

A video posted by Toggle (@toggle_sg) on


Continued on next slide: How Joel lost 10kg for the role

Joel Choo filming a scene for 'Faculty' with Aden Tan
Joel Choo filming a scene for 'Faculty' with Aden Tan
22 Nov 2016

Joel Choo filming a scene for 'Faculty' with Aden Tan

Upon learning that his role would require him to go topless and do loads of actual swimming, Joel went for lessons and embarked on a healthier lifestyle to get into shape.

“I’m trying out different diets, like cutting out carbohydrates,” he shared, adding that he has started cooking his own “clean” meals and realised that he enjoys it. That said, he admitted that giving up things like rice, cakes and desserts has been hard. “I usually reward myself with a cheat meal after a long day of filming! (laughs)”

Joel also started swimming every day (which he later cut down to three times a week), as well as working out by weightlifting and jogging on weekdays.  “I definitely felt pressured when I found out that I have a lot of topless scenes; I want to look good on screen so I’m trying my best to get the get the body that I want.”

All that hard work has clearly paid off: Joel lost 10kg and now sports a toned physique. However, when asked to rate the state of his own build, he gave a modest five out of 10.

Eddie Peng has my ideal body,” he explained. “To prepare for this drama, I looked up to him a lot because he’s done a lot of sporty roles, and he has this very confident personality that suits my character, so I watched many of his shows.”

Continued on next slide: What advice did Hou Ren give Joel?

Aden Tan and Joel Choo after filming a scene in the pool
Aden Tan and Joel Choo after filming a scene in the pool
22 Nov 2016

Aden Tan and Joel Choo after filming a scene in the pool

Of course, Joel also sought acting advice from his famous father. “(My dad) taught me not to exaggerate my actions, but to portray my emotions as subtly as possible,” he shared. “It’s a bit difficult, but I’m trying, and I hope I’m improving. (laughs)”

“I always thought that acting is easy, but it’s definitely harder than I thought,” he continued. “People tell me that acting is in my genes because of my dad, but that’s not entirely true, and I still have lots to learn.”

Another tip Hou Ren shared, as we learned from him at the press conference for Hero last week, was to not constantly be on his mobile phone even when he’s not involved in a scene. “One day, I tried giving him a call while he was filming and he really didn’t pick up, which shows that he listens to me,” the 61-year-old said with a chuckle.

So how does the established thespian feel about both his sons going down the showbiz career path? “I am very happy – next time, I can write a script, and one can direct while the other can act!”

Joel, too, expressed his interest in collaborating with his father as co-stars. “It would be interesting if our roles were something like him being a villain and me having to catch him,” he mused. “Anything other than me being his son!”

The Choo family
The Choo family
22 Nov 2016

The Choo family

Joel's older brother Jonathan won Best Direction at the National Youth Film Awards on July 23 this year for his short film Han, which starred their dad Hou Ren.

Photos: Zhu Hou Ren/Instagram

Aden Tan and Joel Choo get into an argument?
Aden Tan and Joel Choo get into an argument?
22 Nov 2016

Aden Tan and Joel Choo get into an argument?

Aden Tan, Joel Choo and extras at the pool
Aden Tan, Joel Choo and extras at the pool
22 Nov 2016

Aden Tan, Joel Choo and extras at the pool


Zhu Hou Ren’s son Joel Choo strips down for TV debut
Zhu Hou Ren’s son Joel Choo strips down for TV debut
22 Nov 2016

Zhu Hou Ren’s son Joel Choo strips down for TV debut

Zhu Hou Ren’s son Joel Choo strips down for TV debut
Zhu Hou Ren’s son Joel Choo strips down for TV debut
22 Nov 2016

Zhu Hou Ren’s son Joel Choo strips down for TV debut

Faculty debuts February 27, 2017, 10pm on Channel 5.

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