I'd love to star in a rom-com
Home-grown actor Ng Chin Han has come a long way since his early days on local television drama Masters Of The Sea.
Based in Los Angeles, the 43-year-old, who now goes simply by Chin Han, has scored roles in Hollywood blockbusters like The Dark Knight (2008) and Contagion (2011), as well as television shows like Arrow and Fringe.
Closer to home, Ng recently took on HBO Asia's first original drama series, Serangoon Road, which premiered last week. The 10-parter, set in 1960s Singapore, follows the investigations of a detective agency owned by Patricia Cheng (Joan Chen), who must solve the mystery of her husband's murder.
My Paper recently caught up with the down-to-earth guy, who plays Kay Song, the ambitious grandson of a secret-society boss.
What attracted you to the role?
It's every boy's dream to be in a Western, and also to be part of a movie like The Godfather. I think there are elements of this (role) that are very Godfather-ish. Kay Song is like a cross between Sonny and Michael Corleone (in that movie). He has the inscrutability and the quiet menace of Al Pacino's character (Michael) and the explosiveness of James Caan's character (Sonny).
What's your favourite thing to do when you're back in Singapore for a visit?
I love eating and it's so great to be able to eat things like carrot cake, (drink) teh tarik - things I can't get (in the United States). There will be restaurants you'll find in New York or Los Angeles which claim to serve Singapore or Malaysian food, but they just don't taste the same.
What's next for you?
I finished Captain America: The Winter Soldier not too long ago, and I've just (done) a guest-starring role in the new James Spader show, The Blacklist.
Why the fascination with superheroes?
I don't actively seek these roles out. Actually, it's funny, because I've been thinking about it too. I don't know why it has happened that way, but I've enjoyed doing all of them. Comic books are like the literature of today, right?
They're just the perfect combination of visuals and the written word, so I'm just happy to be doing the stuff, which is all interesting for me.
Would you like to be the leading man in a romantic comedy in the future?
I think I'd love to do something like Notting Hill or When Harry Met Sally. I think that would be perfect for me.
Who would be my ideal leading woman? I would never get to work with her because she's not even around any more, but if I could time travel, I would love to work with Grace Kelly. She was so elegant and beautiful.
Do you feel that the way Hollywood views Asian actors is changing, in terms of typecasting?
It's constantly changing. There was a surge of activity (for Asian actors) in the 1980s and 1990s, with Big Trouble In Little China, Russell Wong, The Joy Luck Club. Then it kind of went away. And now, there's another. Hopefully, there will be traction this time. There will be traction for reasons outside of ourselves.
Asia has become so much more prominent politically, economically...it is only natural that Asian storylines will be woven into Hollywood narratives as well.
And I think that's a good thing. I'm looking forward to welcoming new Asian talents to the West, just as I'm interested in seeing how talents are developing here in Singapore.
Serangoon Road airs every Sunday at 9pm on HBO (StarHub Ch 601) and HBO HD (StarHub Ch 655).