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Leehom Wang - Mature and Refined

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Leehom Wang – Mature and Refined
Posted by heyyaa! on July 12th, 2010

Original article by Aura, Interview by Justin Lin, Photography by Tommy, Translated by heyyaa!

Fifteen is the number of years it takes for whiskey to mature and age to perfection. For Asian American c-pop singer Leehom Wang, fifteen years has had little effect on his good looks as time has left virtually no trace on his almost perfect complexion. The shy and sunny smile from his youth can still be found on him. Only through his eyes might traces of his real age show through – the stare of someone who is a mature veteran in his industry and is comfortable with its intricacies. But beyond that, one can still see the passion that glows continuously from his eyes, with the same intensity as fifteen years ago.

When people hear “Leehom Wang”, they often conjure up positive adjectives such as “clean”, “comfortable”, or “ideal idol”. However, “film director”, a heavy duty artistic profession that usually requires a dose of rebelliousness, seems to have little or no connection with Leehom. Nevertheless, in the Summer of 2010, Leehom will be making the rounds with media interviews and attending film festivals as a real film director. Not only will he debut as the director for the movie “Love in Disguise”, but he will also star in the movie as the male lead.

Natural Path toward Directing
“Love in Disguise” was not Leehom’s first foray into directing. Years earlier, Lehom had already started directing his own music videos [i.e. “In the Depths of Bamboo Forest”, or his latest music video "Firewood, Rice, Oil, Salt, Sauce, Vinegar, Tea", shown below]. After debuting on the silver screen as a film actor, in Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution”, Lee was intrigued and although unplanned he made his first steps toward becoming a film director.

“I normally go with the flow for everything. I didn’t set a goal to release an album at the very beginning, nor did I set a goal to become an actor from the onset. Similarly, I didn’t say I want to become a director at the beginning. My thoughts in becoming a director came naturally. It follows my thought pattern and attitude in creating better products. If this song can be done in a better way, why not try to produce it on my own? This way of thinking is what I would like others to understand. I have these thoughts naturally, and that doesn’t mean I would necessarily need to be titled as a director or a producer. I just love to improve my creations. That’s why for this movie, it’s also simply a way to express my ideas and my creative side to my audience, and that’s why I decide to handle it directly.”

With an astrological sign of Taurus, Leehom exhibits the quality of his sign: steadiness and great emotional control. In a gentle and resolute manner, he told us the reason why he chose to become a director. His way of thinking is unobtrusive, and yet it contains a great imploding power – perhaps, this comes from the experience Leehom accumulated over the years.

Strange Bearded Man’s Directing Experience
“Love in Disguise” is a movie that allows viewers to explore the witty and comedic side of Leehom. Not only was he the film director, he also wrote the screenplay and acted as the lead. This metro romantic comedy has many funny jokes and it also mixed in some real life experiences of Leehom’s.

“The main character is a famous star. In the story, he pretends to be a very strange minority student with a big beard. This plot is definitely inspired by my real way of life. When I go to a foreign country, and nobody recognizes me, I normally introduce myself as a piano teacher. And when I normally go out in Taiwan, I do have some wigs, fake beard, etc. prepared… Of course, the movie has exaggerated these fun stuff, but it does reflect certain parts of my life. From different levels or angles to watch this film, you can simply say, it’s a romantic comedy, or you can say it’s a musical, or a combination of pop and traditional music. It is a collection of the interesting and funny side of the entertainment industry that I observed over the years.”

English subtitled trailer of mandarin film “Love in Disguise”:

Even though he is the film director, Leehom stressed that the shooting atmosphere was cheerful and funny, due to the fact that it was a romantic comedy. Supporting cast and comedian Chen Han Dian often imitated him during the shoot. Of course, filmmaking has always been a difficult business, regardless of the atmosphere. There was a time when almost everyone in the crew caught a cold, and yet everyone soldiered on to finish the movie.

This is Leehom Wang’s first attempt at directing and acting in the same film. This time around, there is a great contrast between his performance on the more serious movies such as “Lust, Caution” or “Little Big Soldier”. So, which character is the real him? In reality, none of them are. As Leehom likes to explore new stuff all the time, we believe viewers will be anticipating a surprising new “him” in his next project.

Being Himself as a Director
Thirteen years ago, on the first issue of men’s uno magazine: At the time, Leehom was only in the public eye for two years. With a fresh young image, he was presented on this new and unknown magazine. Within these thirteen years, he reappeared on men’s uno for around eight to nine times. The youthful, innocent look is no longer there, instead, a mature Leehom has also slowly changed his image from “ideal idol” to a multidirectional creative intellect. Perhaps in our minds, he is still the boy with a sunshine smile. But who would have thought… he has already been in the entertainment circle for fifthteen years.

“Maybe it’s because I have never stopped working!” He smilingly said, “I have always kept myself at “ready” mode, I have never let myself relaxed. Perhaps that’s the secret formula on letting others believe I have not aged at all!”

Continually trying new things, Leehom always amazes his fans with his latest creations. And perhaps it’s part of his personality, he loves to try out new things , such as learning new musical instruments, different languages, and even Khoomi singing (Mongolian throat singing). He doesn’t want to be sold and presented as merely a product, and hopes others will take note of his art. He never sets a limit on his performance in different areas. From his debut fifteen years ago, he has grown into a respected and successful entertainer, but at the same time he wishes to become more like his idol entertainer Prince, or a director such as Stanley Kubrick, who seemed to be perpetually inspired, constantly producing multi-dimentional pieces.

This year, Leehom enters a new phase of his life as a film director. Not only can he direct a story, he also keeps adding new elements and new colors to his own life. I believe that he is not just a good singer and a good actor, but also a naturally good director.


Full Chinese article is published on Taiwan Mens Uno Magazine, Issue 131.
Article is published electronically on on July 12th, 2010.
(This is a translation of the UDN version, with some additional information provided by heyyaa. Article’s English translation is provided by heyyaa! Translation is copyrighted by heyyaa! Do not copy or re-post on other websites or blogs without permission!)


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