Kai Ko: The road back to acting

The actor made his showbiz comeback with Midi Z’s latest film, The Road to Mandalay

Kai Ko: The road back to acting
Film still: The Road to Mandalay/Facebook

Video: Vina Chia

“I don’t think this is my return to showbiz - I’ve never really left,” Kai Ko grinned. With a sheepish grin, he added, “I was just busy for that year or so.” The 25-year-old Taiwan actor made headlines for all the wrong reasons when he, together with Jaycee Chan, got busted for marijuana use in 2014.

After serving time in a Beijing detention centre, he started off with participating in charitable events before finally making his return to acting in director Midi Z’s latest film, The Road to Mandalay.

Kai, Midi Z, lead actress Wu Ke Xi and producer Patrick Mao Huang attended an In Conversation session with members of the media and public hours before the movie’s premiere in Singapore on December 1. Held at the ArtScience Museum as part of the Singapore International Film Festival lineup, the cast and crew spoke candidly about the immense preparation that was put into this film.

Kai Ko: The road back to acting
L-R: Kai Ko, Wu Ke Xi, Midi Z

Both Kai and Ke Xi were sent to a factory in Thailand to assimilate with their roles of Myanmar citizens who illegally entered Thailand in a quest for a better life. “If you look at them now, you’d know with one look that they’re stars - just look how they shine,” Midi Z explained. “I visited them every two weeks when they were there. For the first two months, they still looked exactly as they are now; after that, they started to blend into the surroundings - I would never have been able to pick them out from the rest of the workers there.”

Prior to jetting off to Thailand, Ke Xi was also sent to a restaurant in Taiwan to do the dishes for six months. “The director wanted my hands to look really rough so that I would look realistic as a factory worker,” she explained. “There were a couple of my celeb pals who spotted me there, though they kept it quiet because they heard about the reason why I was on dishwashing duty.”

Continued: What does Kai have to say about fans who think he's no longer attractive after watching his new film?

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