Ah to be 20 and at the top of your world. Debuted as an actor in a movie that topped boxoffice in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore and won the best new performer award at the Golden Horse, all in one year. What a way to be 20.
I’m talking about Ko Chen-tung or Ko Kai.
I first heard of him in my traditional* interview with Angie Cai early last year (*traditional because I always make it a point to meet her whenever I’m in Taipei). Angie was the one who discovered Kai. That time, You Are The Apple of My Eye was already in post-production and they were just looking for an auspicious date to open it. No one, not even Angie herself, was expecting the film to hit it big but she was excited about the project. She said it’s about time that Taiwan discovers movie stars because the industry does not really have legitimate movie stars.
Then she showed me a photo of her new talent. Ko Chen-tung. I didn’t even catch his name at first. “He’s cute, isn’t he?” Angie asked me. I politely nodded yes, the photo she was showing me was the one that will eventually be used in the poster of You Are The Apple of My Eye.
One thing with Angie, she really believes in her talents not because she has to as their manager, but because she sees potential in them. So even if I was doubtful if this ordinary looking boy would make it and even achieve more than F4, who I think remain to be Angie’s biggest discoveries, I had faith in her eye for talent.
And see, she wasn’t wrong. She’s not Taiwan’s most powerful female impresario for nothing after all. Apple became such a huge hit considering this is the first film that Star Ritz, the film arm of Comiz Ritz (the agency that F4 and Meteor Garden built), produced.
When I saw Angie again late last year during another trip to Taiwan, I wanted to hug her out of sheer happiness for her success. Imagine, just a few months ago, we were just talking about her first film production with no idea how it will be accepted. She was giddy over the success too and we did talk about Kai, who is actually the son of a friend of Harlem Yu. That time, Kai was being castigated by the Taiwan media for photos showing him partying hard and kissing on the street. Typical life of a teenager but when you’re suddenly in the celebrity limelight, you no longer enjoy the privilege of being “normal”. Apparently. I asked Angie what advice she has given Kai and she said she just reminded him to be more careful because his life is different now. But she also defended him, he’s still a boy, he has every right to enjoy what growing up is all about. And like a manager wisened by years, she said Kai will have to learn from the mistakes himself, she cannot tell him what to do or not to do.
So after a heady year, Kai is back in the news, this time for being seen in the company of the Elva Hsiao division of social climbers (another division is that of Barbie Hsu & co.). It seems to me that Elva just has to have a taste of every new boy in town including the bad boy in In Time With You and some other dudes I have lost count of the guys that had been strung to her name. Nevermind if Kai is 13 years younger than her, who cares?
But please Elva, Kai is just starting out. As his senior in the industry, you guide him, not flirt with him as @noreenchekhalin said. Of course, they denied the dating rumors. Whether true or not, I hope Kai will be able to handle his fame better. It’s not going to be any easier, either he has to live with the attention or leave the biz.
Oh and he’s a pop singer too?
Nice song and not so bad voice but he should be singing songs more suited to his age and not try to be an Eason Chan or another crooner coz there are lots of ’em in the Chinese music industry already. Here’s a blog review on the album. Maybe when he gets older, he’d get better, right Giddens Ko?
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