Singer Pham Hong Phuoc speaks of experiences in acting debut

Saturday, 2017-05-20 15:57:09
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Pham Hong Phuoc wins the ‘Best Actor’ award at the AIFFA Award 2017 for his role in the film ‘The Way Station’ at a ceremony held in Malaysia on May 6
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NDO – At his premier in filmography, Vietnamese young songwriter and singer Pham Hong Phuoc won the ‘Best Actor’ award at the ASEAN International Film Festival & Awards (AIFFA Award) 2017 for his role in the film ‘The Way Station’. On this occasion, Phuoc granted Nhan Dan Monthly an interview to share his experiences in filming.

Question: Had you ever thought of becoming an actor before?

Answer: No, I hadn’t. Never before. I had also never thought that I would win a prize at the AIFFA Award. When the result was announced, I was sitting backstage and chatting with a Filipino native. The only thought in my mind was that another candidate would have won this prize, not me. When my name was called out loud, I was really confused and didn’t know what to do. What to say about this moment? I was really happy.

If you never thought of becoming an actor, why did you decide to go to the casting of the film? Were you confident enough for the casting?

Every artist wants to explore more about the roles he can play in the arts. Honestly, I am not the kind of person who is always confident, particularly in a totally new medium which I have zero experience.

When I was informed that I was accepted after the casting, I texted the director Hong Anh to ask her whether she was sure about her decision. Anh replied to me with a yes. To deserve her trust, I spent a lot of time to carefully study scenes, analyse the script, and to learn how to act. I had to try very hard.

You probably had many interesting experiences during the first time in filmography. Can you share some of the experiences with us?

I had a lot of unprecedented experiences during the filming. I was born in Ho Chi Minh City and have always been spoilt by my parents. I had never cooked, or even held a knife, nor arranged the table for meals. Meanwhile, my character in the ‘The Way Station’ had to take out water from a well, climb from roof to roof and do a lot of things that I had never done before. Whenever I struggled to do them, I received much support and encouragement from Hong Anh.

One of the most considerable experience I gained from this film is crying. I only cry when I am alone, but now I had to cry in front of the camera and many people who were looking at me. I need time to gather my emotions and feelings to cry. In particular, my character did not sit there alone and cry, he cried while running.

Another unforgettable experience is swimming. As I almost drowned at sea before, I has always been terrified of the water. However, in one scene, I had to run to the beach and dive to save Ms Chu (played by Ngoc Thanh Tam). I was terribly nervous at that time, which reminded me of the incident. Then I kept thinking what I had to do complete the scene despite of my fear. The scene was so important that we couldn’t cut it out.

Before acting any scene, I was always nervous. As a singer, if my performance on stage is good or bad, it all comes down to myself. But in acting, you have to work together with many others. I felt pressured that if my performance was not good enough, it could affect the entire scene and my colleagues.

Although ‘The Way Station’ will hit the big screens in Vietnam this autumn, it has already attracted much attention from the public. Can you brief us the content of the film?

The film was set in a restaurant named Dem Trang (White Night), whose owner has a paralysed daughter. I played the role of a man travelling across Vietnam who came to the restaurant for a job and temporary shelter. The restaurant’s daughter and my character fall in love. There are also other characters in the restaurant, each of them has their own life stories and suffers their own pain.

In addition to the personal stories told, the film also reflects the cultural life of Chinese-Vietnamese. The film’s mood is dark from the beginning to the end and its developments are quite slow, requiring actors and actresses to act with their eyes a lot.

If your acting is not good enough, you can fix it by reading your lines. But in this film, my characters don’t speak very often, I had very few lines. I had to act with my eyes, each glance conveys different emotions and feelings.

Director Hong Anh was very patient with me. When I got frustrated with my acting, she never shouted at me. As she is an actress, she helped me discover my character and helped me to feel and understand how he felt.

It is said that the lack of professionalism is one of factors contributing to the failure of Vietnamese films, particularly those featuring amateur directors, actors and actresses. As an amateur actor in this film, what do you think about the statement?

I think that the success of a film is contributed to by many different factors. Many good films didn’t attract much viewers to the cinema. Instead, people often flock to the cinema to watch films that have big PR strategy or scandals. Therefore, I think we can’t blame the producer and film crew for the failure of a film.

Although I am not a professional actor, I will try my best to fulfil any assigned tasks in any role.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us!