Video: Philip Ang
Ruco Chan is no stranger to those familiar with Hong Kong dramas – the 41-year-old has plenty of blockbuster productions under his belt that have spanned his 24-year career. Given the amount of experience he has in showbiz, one would imagine that the actor is somewhat of a veteran in his own right.
That, however, isn’t the case, at least to the actor himself.
Speaking to Toggle ahead of TVB’s video and live-streaming app, Big Big Channel’s performance in Singapore to celebrate the application’s launch, Ruco admitted, “I don’t find my career very stable”, as he told us more about his down-to-earth approach to his life, work, and personal life.
Having wrapped filming on his historical drama, Succession War, last year, he shared that he’s been “resting” for the past nine months – that, however, isn’t to say that he’s been idling at home.
“For actors, as long as we’re not filming, it’s considered that we’re resting. We may be promoting our work overseas, but it’s still considered a rest period for us,” he explained. “I’ve been spending my time with my family, but I’ll definitely be working on at least one drama this year. I haven’t confirmed the specifics, but there will be at least one.”
WATCH: Is Ruco Chan open to starring in a drama with his girlfriend?
When asked what he’d like to try out next, he said with a wry smile, “I want to take on any role that I haven’t taken on before, that’s good enough for me.”
With his character in the drama, Niohuru Heshen, a powerful official in the Qing court, being interpreted numerous times through different dramas, Ruco explained that one of the biggest comparisons that people have drawn is with 2009 Taiwanese drama, Jia Qing You Tai Wan.
“There was a Taiwanese drama in which a mainland actor played Heshen, but the way he interpreted the role was in a more adorable manner. In reality, however, if you look at history, Heshen wasn’t quite like that. He’s a bit more like me, so I hope that the audience will be able to accept my portrayal of him, and that people enjoy my performance,” he shared. “(Heshen) was a corrupt official, but that doesn’t mean that he’s a bad person – as for why, you’ll have to watch to find out.”
Although the broadcast date has yet to be set in stone, Ruco is unfazed by the comparisons that viewers may draw between the Hong Kong and Taiwanese shows, and feels there is “no need” for it as both dramas have their own strengths.
“I don’t think it’s fair to say that there will be a comparison between his acting and mine, especially since we have two very different portrayals of the same historical character,” he said. “Our script is heavily based on what happened in the past, whereas their drama was more light-hearted.”
With that being said, does he hope to replicate his success at the TVB Anniversary Awards 2016, where he walked away with his very first Best Actor award, or is he thinking of retiring early and leaving showbiz?
(Continued on next page: Why aren’t Ruco’s parents rushing him to get married?)
Photos: TPG/CLICK PHOTOS, Ruco Chan/Instagram
He mused, “Winning awards has never been my goal. What’s more important is being able to immerse myself into my role to express myself, and for the audience to like my performance – that in itself is good enough (…) My focus will always be on what I enjoy working on.”
As for retirement, he assured that it won’t be happening so soon despite him feeling that no one is ever safe when it comes to navigating through the waters of showbiz. “My contract with TVB is until when I’m about 60, so you’ll definitely be seeing me until then,” he deadpanned. “I haven’t thought about what will happen after that, because nobody can predict the future.”
Ruco spent a good 10 minutes chatting animatedly about his career, which he undoubtedly still has a burning passion for despite over two decades in the industry. When it comes to his personal life, however, the star was as guarded as ever, and only indirectly answered questions we had for him.
When we mentioned his rumoured-but-never-formally-confirmed girlfriend, Phoebe Sin, he cheekily said, “Girlfriend? Who are you talking about?” After mentioning her name, he added on with a grin, “You were the one who said her name, not me.”
Photos: TPG/CLICK PHOTOS, Phoebe Sin/Instagram
Explaining the reason why he prefers to keep his relationship off the radar, he let on, “Basically, I hope to be a bit more low-key (when it comes to relationships) and let nature take its course. I don’t want to talk too much about the other party (…) I’ve always put my focus on my work and I hope to continue this way as well. I’ve talked about this numerous times during the past year, so I’m afraid that talking about it even more will cause viewers to get bored.”
Given his evident aversion to going public with his relationship, would he be open to collaborating with his girlfriend, especially when the spotlight will be on their relationship? “We’re both under TVB,” he said matter-of-factly, “If I were one of TVB’s executives, I’d definitely want to make the both of us work together (because it’ll be a talking point in itself).”
When the attention was shifted to his ‘single’ and ‘unmarried’ status, Ruco, whose the only son in the family, admitted thathis parents are not rushing him to tie the knot – and he’s glad for it.
“They started asking me to get married since I was 20. If you only listen to what others say, then you’ll end up getting stressed out and you being unable to enjoy your own life,” Ruco explained. “They said it once, and they never said it again. They’re adults, they won’t keep repeating the same thing over and over again. I’m not a child either, and they respect me as well.”
“In five years, I think I’ll still be a little boy in my parents’ eyes. In terms of goals, all I want is to be healthy in five years, and that’s enough. You can’t do anything without being healthy,” he went on.
“When I was 30, I already thought of getting married, but I’m past 40 now, and I’m not even married yet,” he mused. “There’s always a gap between your imagination and reality, so I think being more down-to-earth and letting things happen naturally is more important. When I’m off-set, being to be able to do things that normal people are able to do is good enough.”