Photos: Toh Zi Yi
Video: Tay Yixuan
Taiwanese actor Chen Bolin was in town yesterday for the press conference of Distance, an omnibus film featuring three stories helmed by three different directors from China, Singapore and Thailand. Executive produced by Anthony Chen of Ilo Ilo fame, it is also the first movie produced by the Singaporean filmmaker's film company, Giraffe Pictures.
At the press conference and subsequent group interview, Toggle managed to catch up with the actor, as well as Anthony, Singaporean director Tan Shi Jie, local actress Yeo Yann Yann and newcomer Chen Huan Lin.
During the group interview, Bolin expressed his wish to lessen his workload this year and also revealed that he plans to rest for a bit after he finishes the promotions for Distance.
However, fans of Bolin, fret not! The actor will not be taking a long hiatus or break from your screens anytime soon, as he’s “not the type of person who would go on vacation for a long time.”
“After resting for a day or two, I start wanting to work again, and start thinking of possible story ideas for my future projects,” said the workaholic.
In Distance, Bolin plays three different characters in three shorts, all centred on the common theme of distance. Of the three stories, which focus on relationships between family, friends and lovers respectively, the actor shared that he related more to the third story, in which he plays a "visiting professor from overseas who set a student’s heart fluttering, while having to deal with his own".
“It’s possible that I may be in a situation like this in the future,” said the 32-year-old, adding that the story focuses on the theme of what will happen when one meets an ex-lover ten years down the road, and expands on any lingering feelings that may still be there.
“It’s sort of a prediction or visualisation of what may happen in the future, so that’s why I identify with it,” he explained.
The actor also shared that he was not stressed over his kissing scene with veteran actress Jiang Wenli in the third story, and that he felt as if the audience was more stressed over the kiss than he was.
“The kissing scene was very comfortable to film, and we took just one or two takes to complete that scene,” the actor shared.
As the lead actor for the film, Bolin had to portray three different characters, with different backstories and lives, which he professed to have had no difficulties with.
“[While] all three characters don’t differ much in terms of their personality, what actually affects the portrayal of these characters are their pasts, and what secrets they harbour inside them,”the actor explained.
Bolin then went on to point out the defining factor of the three characters, revealing that unlike other movies, the three main characters in Distance are not defined by their personality or profession”. Instead, the characters are defined by “the secrets that they have in their heart.”
Director Shi Jie also revealed that he hoped for the audience to “go in to the film with an open mind”, and for them to be “moved by our stories, and as a result, think about the relationships that are involved in their lives.
Anthony then summed up the entire film, saying, “I think this is a film that asks more questions than it gives answers.”
Distance opens in theatres on June 2.