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  • Ken Huang

【Cover Story】Joseph Chang, Life Has No If.../ 張孝全 生命沒有如果

Life cannot be repeated and there is no one blueprint to follow. Years ago, there was an 18-year-old boy who just wanted to own a car. He did not expect to become a global award-winning actor in the future. However, everything that happened has its own reason. Joseph Chang, he is always openminded with the performance and his accumulation of experience allows him to have constant energy like a star, shining his youthful light on us all.

Everything happens for a reason. The development of new things has no track to follow. There is nothing to refer to. If there wasn’t an 18-year-old boy who wanted to own his own car, we wouldn’t know the name of this megastar, Joseph Chang. He made his debut decades ago and became an icon for 90s kids afterwards. His achievements aren’t just limited to being famous, he has also received recognition, winning numerous awards worldwide. Being an actor, when it comes to work and life, he thinks in a simple way: If it can be balanced then it’s perfect.

About Becoming An Actor

“In fact, I am just a boy who loves cars, and back then my family said to just buy a second-hand car your first time around. Therefore, because I wanted to buy a second-hand car, I went to the audition to earn money, and I didn’t realise that my acting journey had just started.” When I had a conversation with Joseph he didn’t have too many thoughts about this, he only felt lucky to be observed starting out in an advertisement. Not too much time after his debut, he impressed the audience with his outstanding performances and unforgettable appearances in Crystal Boys, Eternal Summer and GF*BF. Most importantly, he became the most wanted actor in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Performance Is A Lonely Road

However, Joseph Chang, has become a more mature man in recent years, acting as a prosecutor who suffered from Asperger’s in the drama The Victims' Game. He amazed the audience with his excellent interpretation and won the Best Actor award at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea. In fact, when it comes to his acting skills, there was an anecdote a few years ago. Brigitte Lin an legendary actress, who was publishing a book at the time, mentioned that she was deeply touched after she saw Joseph’s performance in the Prince of Tears. She described him as a treasure in this industry and praised him as a "fascinating actor who can catch the eye of the audience."

Perhaps judgements are more accurate from a senior actor’s point of view. Every performance is a process of dialogue with your inner thoughts. The moment you perform you release the energy from your life experience. The gradual accumulation of experiences in our lives will definitely leave something behind.

"I must say that actors are in a relatively lonely state when they enter the role. No one can teach you how to cope with this except yourself." It’s Joseph’s feeling when we talk about the actor's homework that its important and touching to understand the personality traits for each role. Then you look at the story through this character's personality, immersing yourself in the performance, having your own feelings and experiences, these are all very lonely assignments. Of course, if the people around you, such as the director or screenwriter, can understand the actor’s feeling, it will help a lot. Speaking of acting, Joseph was deeply moved. He admitted that aspects of the role could affect his life, and that ideas inspired by daily life will also be incorporated into the characters. "Of course I have to be myself in life, but a certain part is still thinking about this role." In his mind performing is like breathing. Every second you breathe is like using nutrition from the past. You will never waste it.

"Actually, many roles are too far away from our experience and we don't usually come into contact with them. But, whether through discussion or professional practice, we can increase our different experiences in life." Joseph Chang was most impressed by the experience of acting as a nurse. He was sent to a Hospice for personal experience of a different world. "When you enter the Hospice, you will find that there are different worlds outside the ward. It seems that you are very close to death. There are many complex feelings and emotions. This will affect the outlook on life." As he said, the acting profession is so special. Through performance, we can see that life has many different aspects. "Rather than immediately comprehending the truth from it, it is better to say what you have experienced in the moment. This is something that will happen naturally." Thinking about that experience, he shared the most real feelings. Perhaps, with this kind of pragmatic personality, instead of presupposing the future you should master the present and make continuous progress.

Get It Don’t Fetishize It

Speaking of how his opportunity to enter the industry is because of a second-hand car, it is better to say that Joseph Chang was trying to make money to buy things he likes. He likes goods with stories, and when he talked about collecting, he turned back into that young boy. He talked about cars and antique watches. Every object has its own unique story. "Whilst I was working I used to look for antique watches, and then I found a very special watch. The dial was changed to the wrong version, but I still bought it." He mentioned a past story where he was with his friends in Hong Kong. Searching around, it took a lot of effort to change to the correct dial, and finally build a watch with an unknown value but a special meaning. "Actually, that watch is the first I bought and it wasn’t valuable but during the process I felt: "Wow! It's really fun!" It's not difficult to see the love in his eyes. They are the eyes that really pays attention to the things he loves.

"I think I'm the kind who likes something for a certain period of time. After I get the fun I want, I might feel that it's time to say goodbye." When the conversation changed to this subject, Joseph sighed with a smile. Joseph will collect as many cars and watches as possible. From old watches to independent watch brands, from second-hand cars to old classic cars, these processes are of course interesting, “but every time I look back, I realise oh Wow! Are there so many? And then when I consider how long I have been collecting I think it’s just right. It should be said that everything is a process. At the beginning, I looked for my childhood dreams or feelings. When I have them, I will go further." Take a car as an example. From having a dream car to enjoying the fun of driving, what you want will become more and more different, sometimes indulging in it, is another way to return to reality.

Become A Warm And Shining Star

"Now I realise that by reaching it (my goal), I will lose it, but I have a happy time with it at least. This is enough for me." The feeling of being satisfied from collecting things made him believe that the satisfaction in his heart may be greater than the actual possession. It may explain why his personality is the pragmatic type. "When I was young, I might have had a lot of desires, but my financial ability was insufficient. I never want to borrow money to satisfy my desires, but I try to think about earning as much as I can." Based on what he shared he points out that these are historical, but he is happy to share his story because the old car needs to be maintained and its difficult for him now because besides work, he would rather spend time with his family.

The year of the pandemic brought the world to a halt, and time seemed to stand still, but it also made people rethink their needs and reorganise their lives. Talking about Joseph Chang’s recent arrangements, he is already a professional actor and he won’t be out of filming, but it is true that he has a lot less work. "I am very grateful for being able to spend more time with my son during this period, and I did not miss the important stage of his growth." Maybe he has just become a new father, but his best hope is to take care of his work and life. During this dark time in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, he hopes he can adjust well.

In addition to the new work in the coming year, the movie Eternal Summer which he filmed in his youth will be re-screened in the near future. The young male protagonist named Yu Shou-Heng, like a star, always has warm energy. The young character’s youth and rebellion also remind us of our school days. Perhaps due to coincidence or personality traits, Joseph has been an actor whose energy has always been a constant in the entertainment industry in recent years, bringing us wonderful work one after another. Go all out in every moment, grasp the present, and do your best. This is honesty to life and himself. This is the reason why his acting charm is irreplaceable.


TEXT/ Ken Huang

FASHION/ Fred Feng


Hair/ Marco Lau

MUA/ 怡俐

VIDEO/ Howard Chin

DESIGN/ Shuian Hsu

PRODUCER/ Dylan Tang





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