13 Apr 2018
Army roles are Shane Pow’s lucky charm and karma
After six years in showbiz, Shane has earned his first-ever professional category nomination: a Best Supporting Actor nod for his role as a gutsy recruit turned officer-in-training in When Duty Calls.
This wasn’t the 27-year-old’s first time putting on the uniform to get into a character, however. Those who remember his earlier days in showbiz would recall his siao on (overly enthusiastic) recruit role in The Recruit Diaries, which he took on a few months after completing his mandatory stint in national service (NS).
In the same year that he played Yao Weiguo in When Duty Calls, he also went green in Toggle Original Die Die Also Must Serve – which was also the first time he played a leading role in a drama.
Speaking to Toggle over the phone from Beijing, where he was in the final stage of preparations for his first play, Argument among 12 Men, as part of his course at the Beijing Film Academy, Shane chuckled that reality and nervousness “hasn’t quite kicked in” for him just yet, as he hasn’t been seeing much about the upcoming Star Awards.
“I’m overseas after all, and I’ve been so busy with my classes and preparing for this play that I haven’t really thought about the awards,” he explained. “In any case, it’s always been a dream for me to be nominated, and honestly I don’t think I stand a high chance of winning, so my expectations aren’t high.”
(Continued on next slide: Is the army uniform Shane’s lucky charm?)
13 Apr 2018
Is the army uniform Shane’s lucky charm?
Acknowledging that putting on the army uniform could very well be his lucky charm (he did get his first acting nomination and his first leading role in military dramas), Shane confessed that his reel-life experiences have been very different from his days as an NSF (National Servicemen Full-time), as he was in PES (Physical Employment Standards) C, which meant he was excused from doing many of the activities that PES A and B soldiers would participate in, such as the Standard Obstacle Course (SOC), the road march, or even going outfield.
“Perhaps because I had it relatively easier than regular soldiers during my NS days, that’s why I’m experiencing army again and again through work – you could even say it’s karma! Plus, it got me my first nomination, so no complaints here,” he laughed.
Given how much luck the army uniform has brought Shane – along with a comment from fellow artiste Daren Tan last year, in which he quipped that Shane should consider signing on to the army – we wondered out loud if Shane ever considered this.
“I don’t think so, I mean l like doing army shows, it’s fun but I don’t like really the regimental life, it’s not for me lah, because I prefer being able to express myself freely and be a bit more creative in my work,” he mused.
(Continued on next slide: Will there be more army shows in the works for Shane Pow?)
13 Apr 2018
Will there be more army shows in the works for Shane Pow?
After putting on the army uniform thrice for work (four times if you count serving the nation), we asked Shane if he would be open to taking on more of such roles – something he welcomed with open arms.
“Maybe army green is my lucky charm? I should buy more camo print clothes,” he quipped. “I’m open to doing more army shows – the interesting thing is, the EP for all three army shows I’ve done is Chong Liung Man, and I once joked that the army only recruited me once, but he recruited me thrice.”
Hoping for a When Duty Calls 2, especially since there’s a lot more room for development both for the plot and his character, Shane also shared his wish to take on the role of an officer in the Air Force, as he was with the RSAF during his national service.
One thing he won’t consider, however, is going through the recruit life ever again because he is getting too old.
“I’m almost 30! I haven’t heard of any army shows for the rest of this year, so if there’s one next year, I’ll be 29. If I’m a recruit again, I’ll be a really lao (old) recruit – at my age, I can even be a captain in the army!” Shane explained.
The actor continued, “Even in When Duty Calls, I felt like I’m out of place because my buddy, Richie Koh, looks a lot younger than me. We had real NSFs, who are about 19 or 20, filming with us is some scenes, so when they aired the wide shot of all the recruits on TV, my friends texted me ‘You look like you were retained! Why are you so old compared to the others?’ because the age difference between us was really too obvious. Hopefully, I won’t have to be a recruit again.”
(Continued on next slide: Would Shane consider joining the Ah Boys for a future movie?)
13 Apr 2018
Would Shane consider joining the Ah Boys for a future movie?
When it comes to army franchises in Singapore, one of the first things that come to mind is Ah Boys to Men, which has remained as one of the most well-loved army movies on our little red dot.
With Shane’s affinity with green, would he then consider joining the boys for a future movie?
He paused for a while before replying, “I really like the movies; I’ve watched all of them. Joshua (Tan) is my good friend and I know the others as well. The boys really have a very strong bond and a good chemistry that they’ve built up over the years, so I think it would be difficult for me to blend in with them because their bond is so strong. I wouldn’t mind working with them on something else, though!”
Other than going green, Shane shared that he’d like to try on other uniform roles in the future – doctor, fireman, policeman – you name it, he’ll try it. “Other than the army uniform, I don’t think I’ve put on any other uniform!” the actor realised. “When I was younger, one of the many things I wanted to be when I grew up was to be a policeman – since I don’t think I’ll be able to be one in real, it would be a good experience to try it out on-screen!”
“I was a bad guy in C.L.I.F however, so I don’t think I can suddenly turn over a new leaf and become a policeman – the scriptwriter will probably have a heart attack!” he joked.
(Continued on next slide: What does Shane think about life in green?)
13 Apr 2018
What does Shane think about life in green?
After spending much more time in green than the average Singaporean male, Shane declared that life in the army uniform is the healthy way of living – and with good reason.
“Every time I do an army show, I have to go on diet, because you have to have a certain physique to look good in the army uniform. That’s why I really exercise and diet a lot,” he explained. “My physique was the best in The Recruit Diaries; I had abs but I was really skinny so people commented that I looked like I didn’t eat in days because my chin and jaw were a bit too defined and my cheeks were a little sunken.”
Shane concluded, “In terms of my overall look, I think I looked best in When Duty Calls, because I was really very strict with myself during that period. After that, I let go a lot, but I reckon I still looked okay in Die Die Also Must Serve. I ate and did whatever I wanted, but you can’t really tell, right?”