Actor Nicholas Tse and his co-star barely spoke off camera for new thriller

Actor Nicholas Tse plays a cop with a transplanted heart from a criminal he killed in Heartfall Arises.
Actor Nicholas Tse plays a cop with a transplanted heart from a criminal he killed in Heartfall Arises.PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

Hong Kong actor Nicholas Tse is so taciturn a man he not only will not answer questions about his relationship with singer Faye Wong, but he also did not talk much to his co-star Sean Lau Ching Wan in their new movie, the thriller Heartfall Arises.

Tse, 36, says in an e-mail interview with The Straits Times: "We were both quiet behind the scenes, but we would have more communication when acting. We would discuss how to make the acting smoother and better."

It was not as if he had not worked with Lau before.

The pair had previously worked on mystery flick The Bullet Vanishes (2012) and they reunited for Heartfall Arises where Tse's cop character teams up with Lau's criminal psychologist to hunt down a serial killer.

In recent years, Tse has created the most buzz in show business for being a dapper cook.

He is the host of the star-studded Chinese cooking travelogue Chef Nic, which features A-list guests such as actresses Shu Qi and Maggie Cheung.

Tse and his celebrity guests travel around the world in search of fun and good food.

He also finds time to impress viewers by whipping up dishes such as seared cod with mango.

The overwhelming popularity of Chef Nic has resulted in a third season, which reportedly topped ratings in its time slot for two weeks when it premiered last month in China.

But Tse, who launched his entertainment career as a singer at age 16, is not about to bid goodbye to acting for a career as an apron-donning chef-host.

He will continue to pick up projects with a "good story" - that was the reason he took on the movie Heartfall Arises.

His police character John Ma has had a heart transplant, using the organ that had belonged to the criminal General whom he killed.

Calling Ma a "special" and "challenging" character, Tse says: "He received General's heart so he exhibits characteristics of two different people. It seems that I am acting two characters. Most of the time I am John Ma. But when I encounter General's lover, feelings and memories belonging to General surface."

Besides relishing the psychological aspect of his role, he also took on the majority of stunts in the action- packed movie where kicks fly and punches are thrown in the pursuit of the dangerous criminal.

Tse, who has two sons with his ex-wife actress Cecilia Cheung, says: "My primary consideration was the quality of the film. The audience can easily tell if a stunt double is used. I would like to make it more realistic for the audience, so I did most of the stunts that I can do."

•Heartfall Arises opens in cinemas today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2016, with the headline 'Man of few words'. Print Edition | Subscribe