The Taiwanese artiste relives his university days in the road trip movie 3 Peas In A Pod.
THREE best friends in university: One is a straight-A Taiwanese student, another a wealthy Korean and the last, a pretty Singaporean. Add to that, a scenic road trip through Australia and you’ve got one interesting road trip movie.
Taiwanese artiste Calvin Chen may have been wary about playing a student again when he was asked to star in his debut film 3 Peas In A Pod, but the premise of a multicultural experience and a major road trip in Australia sealed the deal for him.
“I had been cast as a student too many times in Taiwanese idol drama series, so I wasn’t particularly keen about another similar role. But, having a Korean and a Singaporean as co-stars presented an excellent opportunity for a cross-cultural experience that is not easy to come by,” shared Chen, 33, in a recent phone interview from China where he is shooting some television shows.
“When I furthered my studies in Canada, I really loved to go on road trips. So, filming 3 Peas In A Pod was quite a nostalgic experience and brought back fond memories of the times I used to drive with my friends from one province to another,” said Chen, a member of Taiwanese boyband Fahrenheit who completed his Masters degree in Economics at the University of Victoria in Canada.
3 Peas In A Pod is Singaporean actress-turned-director Michelle Chong’s second movie (her first was Already Famous released in 2011).
In the coming-of-age romantic comedy, Chen portrays a Taiwanese university student Perry Yang who embarks on the road trip with his best friends – bubbly Singaporean girl Penny Yang (played by Singaporean newcomer Jae Liew, 23) and wealthy Korean student Peter Park, played by Korean-Chinese-Portuguese singer-actor Alexander Lee Eusebio, 25 (better known as Xander, a former member of K-pop boyband U-KISS).
“It was a very enjoyable movie to shoot and the road trip was so much fun. The three of us drove some 300,000km around Australia and it felt like we were taking a vacation. We even made a beach stop because we love the sun, sea and surf; unfortunately, it was too cold to swim. Although my co-stars are younger and we’re culturally quite different, we got along very well, and had lots in common,” recalled Chen, who is Taiwan’s cultural ambassador to Japan and South Korea.
After filming for a month together, Chen says he became good friends with Xander and they continued to keep in touch via WeChat, a popular mobile multimedia communication service among the Chinese.
Chen works out in a gym four times a week and says he looks forward to some action-oriented projects or physically-demanding roles like those that fellow Taiwanese artiste Eddie Peng is known for. Peng, 31, scored nominations at Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Horse Awards for playing a gymnast in Taiwanese movie Jump! Ashin (2011) and a mixed martial arts boxer in Hong Kong movie Unbeatable (2013).
“I’ve spoken to Eddie Peng and learnt about the sort of commitment and perseverance it takes to embark on such projects. So, I’m already mentally and physically prepared to do what it takes to take on such roles. I’m also open to learning other languages if the project is compelling enough,” said Chen, who has made his name hosting variety shows and entertainment programmes in Taiwan and China.
Apart from its breathtaking scenery of Australia, 3 Peas In A Pod also explores how friendship is affected by a love triangle. Find out what happens to the trio in the movie, now available on HyppTV VOD until March 11.