League Of Gods star Jacky Heung on the perils of having influential parents

Actor Jacky Heung says people will say that he snags roles because of his influential film producer parents. He is going the action-star route to prove his worth

Rising star Jacky Heung and actress Angelababy, who plays his love interest, in fantasy action film League Of Gods.
Rising star Jacky Heung and actress Angelababy, who plays his love interest, in fantasy action film League Of Gods.PHOTO: ENCORE FILMS

Actor Jacky Heung is well aware of the fact that no matter what he does, there will be people who say he gets roles because his parents are among the most influential producers in the China and Hong Kong film industries.

His father Charles Heung and mother Tiffany Chen own China Star Entertainment Group, whose works range from Hollywood blockbuster Armageddon (1997) to Johnnie To's crime flick Election (2005).

They are also the producers of fantasy action movie League Of Gods, where Jacky Heung, 32, is the lead in a star-studded cast that includes Jet Li, Huang Xiaoming, Fan Bingbing and Tony Leung Ka Fai.

So, as expected, the Internet abounds with gossip that Heung's parents made the movie, which is showing in Singapore cinemas, as a vehicle to promote his career.

Speaking in English and Mandarin to The Straits Times over the telephone from his home in Hong Kong, he says: "I hope that people can give their comments only after they watch the movie. If I honestly didn't think that I have worked hard enough to do this role, well, I wouldn't have done it."

Heung, who plays winged celestial being Lei Zhenzi in the film, adds: "The thing is, if I acted in anyone else's film, people will still say that it's because I'm Charles Heung's son.

"But I really want to act, so why not work with my father and make a great movie together? I trained for more than six years for a part like this, so I should be proud of it."

He has been training in various martial art forms since he was 25 - a move he made to prove his worth.

"I decided that going the way of the action star means that my work or success will have nothing to do with my father or money backing me. To do well as an action star, you have to really train hard, all on your own," he says.

His parents initially opposed his wish to become an actor when he first brought it up at the age of 18.

"They have been in this industry forever, so they know that it's incredibly difficult to make it big as an actor. There are also many actors who do well very quickly, but disappear from the radar just as fast. They didn't want me to face that kind of pressure," says the bachelor, who has a younger brother, a businessman.

Undeterred, he went to his parents' famous friends and, in 2005, managed to convince action superstar Li to help him snag an uncredited role in his film Fearless (2006).

Two years later, Li helped him once more, this time with a credited but small role of a thief in the film The Warlords (2007).

It was only after that and when he started training in martial arts, that his father finally decided to lend his support - this film is the first fruit of that collaboration.

Heung says: "I am satisfied with this film. I worked hard on it and it came together very nicely with the amazing special effects. I hope that audiences will like it."

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•League Of Gods is showing in cinemas

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline 'Famous parents, but so what?'. Print Edition | Subscribe