Fun desert times with Choi Siwon

We check in with the Super Junior heartthrob on his experience filming Dragon Blade in the Gobi Desert

We check in with the Super Junior member on his experience filming Dragon Blade in the Gobi Desert

Photos: Louis Teo
Videos: Tay Yi Xuan

Being in the Gobi desert for a stretch of one week or 10 days isn’t exactly what most of us would have in mind as an ideal getaway location, but not for Super Junior member Choi Si Won, who absolutely enjoyed his time spent there last year for the filming of Dragon Blade.

“I really like the desert,” he quipped, during his interview with xinmsn after the movie’s press conference in Singapore, “[There are] no phone calls, you don’t get bothered, the nights are beautiful, so beautiful and so scary…”

As one of the most sought after pop idols today, it’s no wonder the desert was seen a form of escapade for the busy bee. That and the religious epiphany he experienced during one of his car rides back to the hotel at night, after a day of filming.

“[There is] no electricity and [you’ll see] just a road… On the highway in the desert, there is really no light. The only light came from my car,” said Siwon, as he animatedly recounted his pitch-black experience in the desert when he requested for his driver to turn off the car lights and just keep driving.

“And suddenly,” he continued, as if telling a thrilling story adventure, “You cannot see anything at all. And I was like, ‘Oh man. Wow, so we are nothing’ – ‘cos I have a religion right? So I thought I am nothing. If I have no light, there’s no purpose to live. It’s very meaningful for me.”

And to truly add a cherry on top the icing, the fact that Papa Choi had tagged along – for the first time ever – for the shoot made it complete. In fact, both father and son enjoyed the trip to the desert so much they promised to visit Israel or Jerusalem together once a year.

Calling it a “weird father and son” combination, Siwon told us the both of them even prepared walkie-talkies and would communicate with each other via the use of these radio devices from their rooms.

Siwon says he'd love to work with Jet Li and Chow Yun-fat in future

Conducting the interview wholly in English, without any additional help from his translator, he quipped, “It was a really good experience. Good memories… I’m really appreciative to Mr. (Jackie) Chan. My father and Mr. Chan really love each other and they had good time together. (Chuckles)”

With Papa Choi being the newbie on set now, Siwon shared, with a tinge of embarrassment in his voice while reenacting dad’s deep voice, “My dad asked ‘Who’s that big nose guy?’ and I’m like ‘Dad, please. That’s Adrien (Brody)’ and he’d went ‘Oh, really?’”

“[And then he asked] ‘Who’s that old man?’ and thought it was Anthony Hopkins from Hannibal when it was just an extra from the UK,” he laughed.

With three movies and two dramas slated for release this year in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, the idol has a really busy year ahead of him. Right after completing his promotional work for Dragon Blade, which also enjoyed extraordinary sneak results at the Singapore box office last weekend, he shared that he can’t wait to go back to Seoul and “spend two days with my doggy” before celebrating Lunar New Year (Sollal) at his grandmother’s place.

Luckily for ELF (Super Junior fans) in Singapore, he will be coming back again in less than three months, and this time with his band of brothers from Super Junior for their widely-anticipated Super Show 6 concert.

Read on for excerpts from Siwon’s interview in Singapore!

An animated Siwon describing their action scenes and injuries sustained on the set of Dragon Blade

On working with Adrien Brody
This is my first time working with a Hollywood star and you know, their mother tongue language is in English right? And I’m an Asian, a Korean. So I was very curious about my pronunciation and the acting and asked Adrien ‘How’s my pronunciation? Is it ok? Does it bother you at all in the acting?’ And Adrien said: ‘No worries, you’re from the Han Dynasty. No matter what, it doesn’t matter. You’re not in Rome.’ Ok cool.

On his poster shoot for his character
After shooting the poster, I couldn’t move my facial muscles. So after the shoot was done I was like, ‘Ok cool. Let’s go! (while mimicking the same expression on the poster)’… [I had to do] a lot of expressions and I think we spent 2 to 1.5 hours on that poster shoot.

On the type of roles he’d like to try
I’d like to have a role that’d see a sudden twist in character. It’s not simple, not boring and there’s always a twist. Twists make it fun and interesting.

On his Hollywood plans
I don’t want to go to Hollywood directly… If I do advance [to the Hollywood market], it’d not be done the same way as other actors. I have a lot of interesting views – if I have a good opportunity to work together [with anyone] – [be it a] good role, good director or even a bad guy role but a good character development type of role, I’d be really interested [in it].

On tarnishing his idol image with his villain role in Dragon Blade
I think my fans don’t care. They only care that Siwon is working with Mr. Chan, Adrien Brody and John Cusack. That’s all. And I don’t care either.

On the main difference between working with Andy Lau (in A Battle of Wits) and Jackie Chan
I think they’re not different. They are common in the fact that they are always thinking about the next generation, very passionate and very humble. They are very concentrated in their jobs and very responsible for everything because they care for a lot of people and they care for a lot of stuff. I think they have no difference [between them]. Maybe they just look different, maybe? (Smiles)

Dragon Blade is now showing in all theatres in Singapore. The movie is rated PG13+

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