Actor and Tissot ambassador Huang Xiaoming shares about the people and things he loves – but just not the love of his life.
Prolific actor Huang Xiaoming will soon be seen in John Woo’s first love story The Crossing, a major production presented in 3D and two parts.
Partnering the Chinese dreamboat as his love interest is South Korean beauty Song Hye-kyo in a cast headlined by some of Asia’s biggest names.
Zhang Ziyi and Takeshi Kaneshiro as well as Tong Dawei and Masami Nagasawa portray two other couples in the epic tale of love and hope set amidst the sinking of Taiping.
The steamer capsized on Jan 27, 1949, as it journeyed from Shanghai to Keelung, Taiwan, in the final days of the civil war in China. The disaster claimed over 1,500 lives – as many as those of the ill-fated Titanic in 1912.
The film, which has already drawn comparison with James Cameron’s Titanic, premieres early December with Act Two to follow in May – a move akin to Woo’s double Red Cliff war movies in 2008/09.
It’s the Hong Kong auteur’s maiden foray into romantic waters after a stellar career filled with action movies, including Hollywood blockbusters, and historical epics.
“The scale of the sequence will be unprecedented for a Chinese movie,” Woo promises in a trailer recently.
The Crossing is one of the projects that Huang – the first ever Chinese male ambassador of Swiss watchmaker Tissot since 2009 – has been busy with, so much so that he wasn’t able to go for the 17th Asian Games, where Tissot acted as the official timekeeper, and despite him being a keen follower of swimming.
“I can’t disclose too much right now except to say that The Crossing and Women Who Know How To Flirt Are The Luckiest are on track for release in December and on New Year’s Day respectively,” he said via e-mail recently, shortly before the conclusion of the Games in Incheon, South Korea.
(The latter is a rom-com based on a bestselling series, Everyone Loves Tender Woman, by Chinese author Luo Fu-man, and also starring Zhou Xun.)
“I like swimming. Of course, it’s exciting to watch the action live. Unfortunately, there’s been little time lately for me to even sit in front of the television,” said the 36-year-old.
The Qingdao, Shandong, native must be euphoric after the Chinese swimming team splashed its way to a supreme 22 golds in Incheon – 10 more than its closest rival Japan.
Incheon 2014 evoked bittersweet memories of 2008, the year China hosted the Summer Olympics for the first time, for Huang.
“It was a year of sorrows and joys, bitterness and pride, for each Chinese.
“In the first half of 2008, I went to join frontline rescue for Wenchuan Earthquake (in Sichuan province).
“In the second half, I took part in many Olympics-related public welfare activities including the torch relay. It was a rare honour for me to be the 88th torchbearer in Sanya,” Huang recalled.
After the devastating earthquake on May 12 that year, Huang also adopted two cubs at the giant panda breeding and research centre in Chengdu, which was badly hit by the disaster, famously earning himself the moniker “Panda Daddy”.
Huang said it’s his motto in life to do good for society. “I’ve been involved in a lot of charity work. My studio has launched our own projects such as ‘Warm The Warmth’, ‘The Next Sea Star’ and ‘Yellow Bracelet’. In addition, we’ve set up a fund to help the needy.”
His heart for charity is nurtured through growing up in a loving environment as the only child of a caring father, an engineer, and a kind-hearted mum, who was an accountant.
In many interviews he would talk about his love of his parents.
“Whenever I have time I will go stay at my parents’ place. Or I will just have meals or chat with them. We go travelling together, too,” he said.
Loving My Love From The Star
His starring role in last year’s American Dreams In China by Hong Kong director Peter Chan has given Huang a fresh impetus to his acting career.
“I feel my acting has come to a crucial stage. I’ve tasted blood in American Dreams In China. So I want to keep moving forward and never stop,” he said of the challenging portrayal of one of three friends who desire to list their successful English-language school in China on the American stock exchange.
The high-grossing film has recently earned Huang the best actor award at the 12th Changchun and the 23rd Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers film festivals in China.
Things are going swimmingly for the 1.8m-tall hunk, who, since graduating from the Beijing Film Academy in 2000, has reached leading-actor status through a broad portfolio that includes films like The Banquet (2006), and Ip Man 2 and Sacrifice in 2010.
Huang has notably taken on the magna opera of Chinese showbiz royalty Andy Lau, Chow Yun-Fat and Tony Leung Chiu Wai, as the protagonists Yang Guo, Xu Wenqiang and Wei Xiaobao respectively in the remakes of TV series The Return Of The Condor Heroes (2006), Shanghai Bund (2007) and Royal Tramp (2008).
Asked about his favourite genre, the star cheekily said: “I’ve always had a hero complex! Therefore, no matter how difficult or tiring it is, I can’t help wanting to do action.”
It is also a dream of his to collaborate with close friend and fellow film academy alumnus Vicki Zhao Wei. “Even though we’ve known each other for years we hardly get the chance to work together.”
As for singing, the actor who has released two albums in 2007 and 2010, said: “It can only be regarded as my hobby.”
Given the K-drama craze in China, I couldn’t resist asking him about the Hallyu (Korean Wave) phenomenon.
“Though I prefer K-dramas to K-pop, I feel each have their distinct styles,” he said.
He also revealed that, like hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of his compatriots, he had followed the massive hit My Love From The Star starring Kim Soo-hyun and Gianna Jun every week when it was airing on Chinese TV.
“It was really beautiful and touching. I am also fascinated by Korean movies; I was deeply moved by The Attorney’s realistic storyline,” he added.
Since speculation is rife over a December wedding to Hong Kong actress-model Angelababy, 25, whom he started dating four years ago, I probed: “Are you two settling down soon?”
Tissot ambassador Huang Xiaoming shares about the people and things he loves – but just not the love of his life.