It seems like local actor Christopher Lee has found the second wind he was looking for when he signed with Taiwanese agency Catwalk last year.

Lee, 41, has a significant supporting role in an upcoming Mandarin film called Wang Pai (Trump Card), which stars big names such as Taiwanese model- actress Chiling Lin, Chinese actress Vivian Wu (The Joy Luck Club, 1993), Hong Kong veteran actor Tony Leung Ka Fai and his compatriot Gillian Chung.

In an e-mail interview with Singapore media, he says of his involvement in the film, which started shooting last month: “So far I’ve had the most scenes with Chiling. I’ve been very happy working with her, and am inspired as well – she brought her character to life through her acting skills.

Christopher Lee: Playing his cards right
Photo: Courtesy of the film Wang Pai

“Unfortunately, I will not have many chances to work with big brother Tony Leung. But in spirit, we are working together and that feels exhilarating.”

Helmed by Chinese director Fan Jianhui, the film spans the 1930s to the 1950s and revolves around the lives of revolutionaries during that tumultuous period in Chinese history. Lee plays commissioner Song Yuqiu while Lin plays Zhao Biwei, a smart 1930s Shanghainese woman.

A press conference was held in Shanghai two days ago to announce the film, slated to open in China later this year.

Lee says his lack of knowledge about China during the revolutionary period of the 1930s was what attracted him to the script. “I’m learning as I go along. Director Fan always goes through the story before each scene with me and has given me a lot of guidance and help. I’ve learnt a lot from him.”

Outside Singapore, the MediaCorp artist is managed by Taiwanese modelling agency and celebrity agency Catwalk, which also manages Lin and other Taiwanese stars such as Ethan Juan. Lee’s wife, actress Fann Wong, 42, recently signed with Catwalk too.

Since actively venturing into the region, he has seen his career enjoy an upswing. Last year, he was nominated for Best Actor at the Golden Bell Awards – considered Taiwan’s Emmys – for his role as a man who reunites with his amnesia- stricken wife after a car crash in the TV film Forgotten (2012).

At the Asian Television Awards, he was also up for the Best Actor award for playing a gambling addict in the Channel U production Show Hand.

And he is getting busier.

“After filming Wang Pai, I have to rush back to Taiwan for a new drama. And I heard that the company is already in talks for various potential dramas and movie projects next year.”

While he is optimistic about his prospects, he understands how competitive the Chinese market can be and has no intention of counting his chickens before they are hatched.

“In China, there are so many talented directors and actors. As long as there is a good opportunity that comes along, I hope I’ll get the chance to work with them.”

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on March 15, 2013. For similar stories, go
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