Article from the Sun daily by Yeevon Ong (posted on 29 September 2016)
CHEE Jun Cherng, or better known as JC Chee, shot to fame early this year following his portrayal of football team captain Tauke in Ola Bola, one of the highest-grossing local films in Malaysia.
But the Perlis native never aspired to be an actor growing up. After completing secondary school, Chee fondly remembers leaving the sweet scent of his childhood home – situated by a vast sugar plantation – to further his studies in Kuala Lumpur.
The mechanical engineering major got his first taste of modelling during his tertiary years in Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), but Chee eventually pursued it full-time when he decided a career in engineering wasn’t what he wanted.
He travelled to Singapore and Taiwan to model before changing course again. By the end of 2014, Chee had acted in several television dramas, and starred in two movies – black comedy When Geek Meets Serial Killer and drama Girls Generation – as well as a local Chinese television drama series Vengeance Code which was shot last year.
Perhaps his most notable role on the big screen is for Ola Bola, but it is without a doubt that it was also his toughest yet.
Tell us about your experience acting in Ola Bola.
After filming Girls Generation, somebody suggested that I go for the casting for Ola Bola. The director went through 400 to 500 people before we were selected to play our characters, so the chances were very low but I tried anyway.
In the first audition, we read the script. Two days later, I was called back to read it in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin, Hokkien, and Cantonese – all of which I translated on the spot, on my own. The next time I was called back, it was to see how we fared on the football field. We left and waited for the call that would tell us that we got shortlisted. I was called back, and went for football training and acting classes. By then there were 10 of us. It went on for two to three months before I was informed that I’d be playing Tauke.
What was it like playing Tauke?
It was physically and mentally challenging to play a professional footballer. I had to be physically fit on the field, and I had to be a loner because Tauke is a lonely guy. But I’m not like that in person. So I had to stay away from my co-stars to get into character. I didn’t like it but I had to to get into it.
What are you up to now?
Currently I’m being approached mostly to do television commercials and print advertisements. I am definitely looking forward to collaborate more in movie productions especially in China and Taiwan. I want to bring Malaysia’s name with me when I do. I look forward to working on psychological thriller or horror scripts, but I surely won’t be doing any more catwalks. I am moving on to be a professional artiste instead of a model.
Many people swoon over your good looks. Do you think it is an advantage?
Yes it is. But if you want to go further, to win a role or a character, you have to have some skills. It’s not that simple. If I’m only good looking and I’ve no acting skills, I definitely wouldn’t have been cast in Ola Bola.
Bet you didn’t know: “That I have an identical twin brother.”
All-time favourite movie(s): Forrest Gump (1994) and A Beautiful Mind (2001).
During his free time: Gym, swim, watch movies, read and cook.
Last book he read: The Actor and the Target by Declan Donnellan.
Fictional alter ego: Robocop. “So cool that his gun comes out from his leg!”
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