They just told me to train my abs
Train your abs - this was the only instruction given to Taiwanese- British actor Rhydian Vaughan, when he asked what he could do to prepare for his role as a magazine editor in the Chinese box-office hit, Tiny Times.
The 25-year-old actor spoke to My Paper over the phone from Taipei about the film.
Was it tough getting into shape for your role as the suave editor, Gong Ming?
Director Guo Jingming told me that my character is lean, but muscular.
If I went only to the gym, I would have ended up too buff - my muscles would look too big and firm.
Instead, I chose to do yoga, running and skipping - working out for 11/2 hours in the morning and for an hour at night. I also watched my diet, eating less meat, more vegetables and fruit.
I made sure to go to bed and wake up early.
It's said that, thanks to the highly impressive abs you developed, you overshadowed your co-star, Kai Ko. Is this true?
I was just preparing for the role of Gong Ming, which required a sculpted body.
There are quite a few hunks in the movie, including Kai Ko from Taiwan and China's Cheney Chen. Who do you think has the best body?
(Laughs) It's the audience that's comparing our bodies, not me.
The movie is a hit, but has caught flak for supposedly promoting materialistic values. What do you feel about the negative feedback?
No matter what, the movie is very successful. I feel that movies are meant to reflect a phenomenon in society.
Tiny Times talks about the common issues faced by young people - youth, love and friendship.
No matter whether the comments are good or bad, the movie has evoked a reaction and people are discussing the issues.
I accept both praise and criticism.
In the movie, your character is particular about having different cups for different occasions. Are there any parallels of this quirk in your life?
I've amassed quite a number of hats - about 20 of them. I have hats of all kinds - baseball caps, clown hats, a fisherman's hat, a sailor's hat. I (guess I just) like hats.
You have a Taiwanese mother and a British father. Do you think your exotic looks limit the roles you are offered in Chinese films?
I don't think so.
(For example,) before I acted in the Taiwanese movie Monga (2011), I never imagined I would get to play a Taiwanese gangster.
In Tiny Times, Gong Ming always has a Plan B. Do you have a backup plan if acting doesn't work out for you?
I usually think of what to do (only) after I fall.
Tiny Times is showing in cinemas here.