Budding director and Zhu Houren's son not afraid about living in dad's shadow

1 July 2016 / 3 months 4 weeks ago

Deborah Wee
The New Paper
Thursday, Jun 30, 2016

Budding director Jonathan Choo, son of veteran Channel 8 actor Zhu Houren, insists that his father's influence on his career choice has been limited.

"I won't say I was directly influenced by (him), but since young, I was drawn to visual imagery like television. It is in the genes, a natural inclination," the 27-year-old told M yesterday at the press conference for the National Youth Film Awards (NYFA) 2016.

His short film Han stars Zhu as a man who travels to South Korea to meet the father of a woman whom his son had killed in a car accident. It is nominated in seven categories, including Best Film and Best Direction.

The NYFA is an annual awards ceremony that recognises film-makers from local institutions of higher learning.

Organised by *SCAPE and in its second year, it nominated 57 films in 20 categories from 260 submissions.

The awards ceremony will be on July 23.

Han marks the second time that Choo, a Nanyang Technological University digital film-making graduate who is looking to pursue a master's degree in film in the UK, has directed his father in a short film.

They first teamed up for Stroll, which was nominated at last year's NYFA.

Even though Choo continues to respect Zhu, 61, while directing him, their relationship on set is one of equal authority and no different from when they return home together.

"(Our relationship) is exactly the same because we talk all the time and we always talk about work," Choo said. "When I direct him, it is just like talking, which I think is an advantage... Once you know (the actor) on a personal level, it is easier (to work with him)."

Zhu also provided his son with advice on set, particularly from an actor's perspective.


Said Choo: "That was one thing that was quite lacking when I was working with actors (before). I never really considered how an actor thinks and approaches a performance. He brought that to the plate in Han."

Despite his father being in the local entertainment industry, Choo was never exposed to film sets.

It was only when he was 15 that he realised he wanted to be a director.

Acting never appealed to him because he preferred to be "involved in the entire process" of making a film as a director.

Choo does not worry about living in his father's shadow. He believes that if he can prove himself, their link will no longer matter in the eyes of the public.

He said: "If I keep on producing (quality) work, the work will speak for itself."

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