Rayve Zen is a Singaporean actor, now based in Hong Kong, who has kindly agreed to an interview for my blog – an actor’s perspective on the film industry!
Rayve, thank you for taking time out your busy schedule to answer these questions! I see from your IMDb listing that you have made a very impressive impact in the Asian film market, so I am very grateful that you are taking the time to answer some Q’s!
What is your background in acting?
I actually started out as a singer for a rock band before I got into acting. I was very lucky to be able to attend college for where I studied Musical Theater for 3 years and have worked on screen and stage ever since.
Has moving to Hong Kong opened up more opportunities for you?
I would say that Hong Kong and Mainland China have a far longer and more established history and tradition of making film. So, yes, and I’m very grateful for that. There are plenty of opportunities in Singapore as well. It is young and growing.
What type of role excites you? Do you opt for a specific genre?
Characters who change things around them. As opposed to having things to happen to them all the time. You might say that they are leading man roles who make choices that impact the course of the film. Also, characters who face incredible adversaries. I also have a penchant for darkness. At the moment, not really. I relish challenges and grow with every project I take on.
How do you prepare for a role?
I believe research and focus is important. I’d trace similarities between us. I also look for the physical or behavioral traits and start to incorporate them into my daily life. I don’t think the character only shows up on shoot day so I’ll stay in character for a quality amount of time prior to the project. I strongly believe the character enters and leaves the set completely “in character”. I don’t believe in wasting time and anything less than 200% commitment would not be as satisfying an effort.
What’s been your most memorable role so far and for what reasons?
I don’t know, to be honest. I had fun playing Dr Lim Boon Keng in Love in A Time of Change. Shuisheng in Azalea 生死兵将 was sad but memorable. I also did play some interesting characters on stage. One that has stuck with me is Hanschen Rilow from Spring Awakening.
What type of films do you watch?
Anything but happy films. Haha! Well, to be honest, it’s not just the dark stuff that interests me. I watch documentaries, thrillers, westerns, biographical films.. quite an array. I like Fincher, PTA, Kurosawa.
What challenge do you face right now as an actor based in SE Asia?
To be East and West at the same time. To understand and respect both cultures and practices. I’d also say that Singaporean identity is still pretty much an unknown quantity in the world at this moment and I’d love to tell the story. It’s a fun challenge.
If there was one role you could play – what would that be?
The Joker in Batman.
Do you see yourself primarily as a screen actor or would theatre interest you?
I came from a theater background and have a long relationship with the form. I fell in love with the camera and, at the moment, I have no plans to return to the theater.
What do you have coming up this year for us to watch out for?
I have a zombie film set for a third-quarter 2018 release and a gangster film called 道义in August. I play an intellectually disabled individual in Mr.H 阿憨 which will hit Chinese online platforms this year and a Singaporean autism documentary set for the third-quarter. I’ve also got a couple of projects that are working on a release date at the moment. My next project will be a collaboration with director Evangelo Costadimas on a short film.
Thank you again, and may I wish you all the very best in your career!
See you in Hong Kong!
You can find Rayve on social media here!