It feels like for the past year your focus has been on filming movies. Do you have any plans music-wise?
Still continuing [on this path]. I’ve written songs. As for new plans I’ll have to look at the amount of time I have to schedule them… Actually I don’t know what to say because I’m not sure myself, haha.
On the topic of music, what’s the sentence that immediately comes to mind?
I have no idea… because my reaction is kinda slow, perhaps I may not even have thought of anything.
What’s something that made you happy recently?
Coming to Paris, eating escargot at a restaurant, when bread is dipped into the [escargot] sauce, it’s too delicious! Have you tried it before? (Grazia: You seem to be a foodie) Yes! The sauce tastes a little like Chinese vegetables, even though I lived abroad for a long time but I have an appetite for Chinese food. At that time when I took the first mouthful, I was surprised. Wow! Or was it the bread?
Do you still play basketball?
At times I would play very hard, if I’m not working, once every two or three days.
When playing basketball, what do you aim for?
When I’m playing basketball I should concentrate on it to play well, what do I think of? Enjoying the exercise.
How do you spend your off days?
Right now? No one call me, let me sleep.
Do you think that your outfit today is largely influenced by Hallyu (Korean) trends?
It’s more of American style, because I like hip hop music, I pay more attention to American and European trends.
You still have your fake tattoos from fashion week on today.
I really like tattoos, they are very artistic. (Grazia: Would you try them?) Right now I’m an actor so it isn’t really convenient. If I was not working in this industry I would probably have a whole body of tattoos. (Grazia: What kind of tattoos do you like?) Don’t like those huge ones. Those with words, or meaningful phrases and small pictures.
What’s your shopping style like?
Very quick. Not much hesitation.
Actually, does speaking stress you out?
Speaking? No. Why do you ask?
We saw an interview where you were asked what the most troubling question you received was, and you said all.
Didn’t you see that I was joking? (Grazia: No) When you understand, you will come to know that I’m 4D. If it’s not something that I wish to say, why would I still reply. I’m cracking a very lame joke. Don’t you think that I have quite a lot to say?
Yes…Then will you usually have heartfelt talks with others?
Ah, today all that I’ve talked with you is heartfelt, it’s all what I intend to say. If by heartfelt you are referring to thing(s) that trouble me, then I’m a person without troubles.
What do you think of the “post-90s” label on you? Does it hold any meaning to you?
It’s to differentiate myself from post-80s [generation] people like you guys. Hahahaha. No. I’m actually [born] post-90s. This is a beginning, everyone let’s work hard together.
It’s way too easy to praise this guy because he’s already very popular, super popular. But he himself totally doesn’t think so, just simply stating that he plans to be an artist. These words may seem like there’s some “chuunibyou” (a condescending know-it-all or someone who believes they are more special than others), but Grazia feels that the objective is clear-cut, simple and direct, precisely a huge plus point.
During the Paris Fashion Week, we shot and interviewed Wu Yi Fan. On this hot summer’s day, the temperature in Paris was the warmest it had been in 30 years, and everyone could not help but squint due to the glaring rays of sun. Wearing clothes from Fall/Winter collections throughout the entire shoot, Wu Yi Fan remained completely at ease. Rather, his “dilemma” was whether the shirt buttons should be buttoned all the way till the very top, or whether his collar should be tucked into his sweater or left out, and would repeatedly test out the different ways again and again, after which, asking for the opinions of the photographer, stylist and manager in a serious manner. Having discovered a different area with better lighting after shooting? Let’s shoot once again! “It’s for the sake of beauty, for art, so everything is possible.” he said.
The day before this shoot, Wu Yi Fan completed 5 job assignments, and it was already late at night when he returned to the hotel. He said that he had so many job assignments, he couldn’t keep track of them all. “My job is my life. I passionately love this job, there’s no way of distinguishing between working and life. Many photographers, artists who love their jobs stay in studios all day long because they are enjoying instead of working. Same with me. If you’re talking about ‘working’, then it has made me really tired, because they *points to staff* don’t even let me rest, hahahaha. Doing something I love to do, there is nothing to complain about.”
While talking about work, one can feel his ‘passionate side’: “These [already filmed] movie roles are very vivid, very distinctive, in Mr Six my character could be bad, in Summer Trees my character is a quiet person who places importance on emotions, in Never Gone my character is a mature guy who is sometimes childish, and at times is especially responsible. Quite similar to me. I’m still someone with many sides, people have many sides to them, it just depends on whether they have the opportunity to show [those sides]. I’ve accepted those roles because there are some common points.”
With regards to Mr Six, he added, “It was a learning process. It was an incredible good opportunity, which enabled me to benefit a lot from it. I’ve never filmed this genre of film before. I really like my character, because he is very manly, and especially genuine. Actually at heart he’s a true young master.” When filming the northern countryside scenes with the other men won’t it be hard to get into character? “No, perhaps since young I have been living in different places, so I adapt pretty fast to these. Of course, Director Guan Hu and Director Feng Xiaogang helped me a great deal, they enabled me to get into character very quickly.” He was unable to reveal any more. “I can’t reveal any spoilers, but there will definitely be surprises.”
Although he has only been an actor for one year, he has acted in quite a few roles. Summer Trees in Paradise, Never Gone, Mr Six, and Journey to the West: Demon Chapter. “As an actor, [the process has been] more and more meaningful. At first it was a learning process, then slowly acquiring your own feel, shaping up a character is too interesting, at times you will have the “Ah I’ve brought this character to life” feel, [it makes me] very happy. While filming Mr Six, there were several times after shooting that Director Guan Hu would walk over and tell me, “Yifan, good job! This role really suits you.” At that time I was really very glad, it was really very motivating.” Have you found your sense of accomplishment from being an actor? “Who doesn’t like to be praised by the director? I’m just starting out now. I’ve experienced a sense of accomplishment way before, and there will be obstacles on the path of progress later on. Right now I have to still remain modest, I would accept all kinds of new things, improve steadily, and not think of such things.”
Wu Yi Fan’s long term life plan is to be a good actor in the coming years ahead. How to become a “good actor”? “To be recognized by awards, commercially successful and recognized in the industry, these three points… I feel that they’re good. ‘Commercial’ [success] is probably the one I place least importance on, a good actor relies on his works to [prove his ability] and cannot only look at box office sales only. “I hope that many years later on, when everyone brings up my name, they would think an outstanding movie character I’ve acted as, or perhaps have the impression along the lines of “Wu Yi Fan is a good actor”.” This year, time has passed so quickly, if I don’t work hard when I’m young, I’ll suffer when I am older! So I am working hard, my schedule is rather packed; I hope that the time spent can be more fulfilling. Thinking back, I feel that I can also tell myself: (You’ve) worked hard, (you’ve) worked hard.” “Of course I still have a long way to go, I still have to progress forth, slowly. The most important thing is that I must always be passionate and not forget my starting attitude.”
Once, on A Date with Lu Yu, he mentioned he was “Not certain if he was suited for this career [as an actor]”, but now he said “At that time I was in Korea, I totally had no idea where I would end up. Later on when I discovered that I had this passion, I decided that I wanted to do what I loved, since I love both music and acting, and then I should push the uncertainty aside.”
So, is he currently certain that he’s suited to be an actor? “On the contrary no, this is all very personal, it’s hard to express it properly. Being a celebrity, idol, artiste? I’m not terribly sure if I’m suited to it or not, because I would prefer freedom, and hope to express my true self, so do you think I am suited to it? I don’t know, I just know that I passionately love music, movies and fashion, these are my truest feelings.” He added, “But I don’t worry about those any more. How do I say it, even more so, I hope I can become an artist.”
“I’m rather assertive when I am faced with opportunities, hahahahaha. When an opportunity arises, I will grab it! When I miss an opportunity, I would not be too caught up in a quandary over the gains and losses.” Have you any breakdowns? “Once or twice. Others can’t tell. I don’t show it.” How did you get over it in the end? “Stay on my own quietly, do some stuff I like, for example sleep.” It will clear up this way? “Why still think about it? Just don’t think about it any more.”
We can feel a sense of unadulterated, direct never-ending flow of positivity, not giving himself emotional stress, not fearful, very open to trying new things, to which he replied with “Why not”. With regards to [the topic of feelings of] emotional distress, his constant reply is: “I won’t think about those things. I will pay attention to tasks at hand, put in my utmost effort to do it well.” When asked if he had any worries when working with big stars time and time again, he very directly replied, “On the contrary, no.”
When it comes to wearing outfits, with such a physique and handsome face like his, Wu Yi Fan doesn’t have to do much but dress in his usual style to easily get on the best-dressed list. However he is not like that, he chooses to touch up his own hairstyle, taking a liking to unique floral printed jackets and specially dressed in an dramatic manner to watch fashion week, because “courage is very important when it comes to fashion.” “Did you know, in the past when others asked me if there were specific fashion items or styles that I totally would not wear, I gave them answers. But right now I feel that I don’t have any answers to that. I can try anything, and I’ve realized that I really love trying things out!”
Do you feel that you are popular? “I’ve never thought that I was popular, I don’t feel that I am a celebrity. I’m not kidding with you; I really don’t feel that way. I thank my fans constantly. No matter where I go, they are always there. It’s because they are here that I need to produce better music, movies, or wear nice and interesting outfits when I am in public, so as not to let them down.”
In the time to come would you still continue to have such a packed schedule? “There’s no way I can guarantee this. I’ve always felt that things should take their own course, quantity isn’t important. Only if the film is good and meaningful, and I feel that I can act the character well, then will I accept the role.” Then will you rush forth [to progress]? “Yes yes, I will not stop moving.” Then go forth with big steps young one, we are waiting to watch you perform well.
English Trans by Becca