Translated by “Crystal”, who translated my Love You Some Day into Chinese, with a polish by me, we are so happy to bring you a not entirely awful translation of Ed’s February 2014 GQ China interview! There are a few rough patches, and I left one translation note in because proverbs are often times miserable or impossible to translate. Article ‘headers’ are in bold. We hope you enjoy our efforts!
The bad boy “Chuck” whom all the girls ache for, is ready to become a captain above the Pacific Ocean. Showing a real man’s style, which means no matter what happens, the only exit is to control the privilege — “Make the world smaller”.
When Ed Westwick was holding a red lantern, the whole studio was suddenly a festival atmosphere.
“Do you know the meaning of red lantern?”
His eyebrow raised. I tried my best to tell him the story, which is not a happy one. His bad boy smile disappeared. “Women in the past were so tragic… Actually, I’ve always liked women from the east. I feel that under their elegant appearances, a lot of stories are hidden.”
This sentence is also suitable for Jessica Szohr who broke up with him many times. However, he politely refused to answer any question related to their relationship. So we formally started our conversion from his upcoming new movie “Last Flight”.
Beginning the leading role journey in an amazing place
The film is a 3D thriller movie, shot in Bangkok. Ed was the first choice for the leading male role. The producer, Mr. Zhou, said, ”Although he is young, only 26 years old, he shows a strong sense of men and has the potential to act captain. Of course, it is because he has a strong fans base in China.”
This movie brought Ed’s destined fate with China to reality: A TV drama star is ready to shoot a movie. Here was his opportunity. A handsome and responsible captain boards a plane which takes off from a small island in Pacific Ocean.
“The whole story is quite amazing. In your language, it is called…Yuanfen (something that is destined to happen)?” He thought about his wording, until he saw the surprise smile on other people. “This movie planned to begin shooting last August. When the team first contacted me, my schedule was full at that time. But later, my dad passed away. In order to attend the funeral, my schedule changed a little, giving me that August. Due to the long distance, I thought it would be better for me to relieve my grief if I left the United States for a while. Go somewhere tropical- Bangkok, and then go to China, a country which is attractive enough upon hearing its name.”
Probably, he became happy in the end. But he complained a little bit in a joking way, “This movie was absolutely hard labor.” One particular scene required a lot ofCGI. On that day, Ed was hanging by a harness in front of a green screen. He usually did each of his scenes at most two times. However, because that scene required many actors to cooperate, this one scene was shot 7 or 8 times. “It was tiring and painful. But you know, as a man, these two adjectives should not be mentioned.”
The high temperatures and humidity was another difficulty. It was rainy season when the movie was shot. A sudden rainstorm would disturb all of the plans and he had to get used to the rain though he sweating, too. “An amazing place.” He said about Bangkok, as well as the huge tropical plants, whose growth made him feel he should work hard to recover from his grief. He even made friend with a local restaurant owner. “I swear when this movie is a hit, I will bring all the staff to have a dinner at his restaurant.”
In Ed’s opinion, Captain Charles Gillis was a person who had everything under control. And the producer Mr.Zhou thinks the role is Ed himself. “Off camera, he is easygoing and feel comfortable around people. He likes playing games. He installed game machines in his room so that he could play games as soon as he got into his room. He doesn’t need time to be in the role. He is a talented actor. Whatever I want, he understands immediately. When we start again, he will give me a totally different performance from the former one. He doesn’t need to come to me and talk about the script everyday. Before the start of shooting, he spent a day with me on the script and understood all the requirements. After that, our daily shooting went smoothly. If it is not his scene, he will stay in his room. When he walks out of his room, he is the captain. Some actors will chat with each other while the staff changes the backgrounds. Ed never talked too much. He didn’t communicate with other actor except for script related thing. He just stood aside and kept his feeling for the role. As for the actors who chatted, they always took some time to adapt to the camera. They might overact. But Ed never did.”
“This is what a Hollywood actor is.” Mr.Zhou concluded. “They have a great but simple ability. This is a commercial movie. What kind of character the producer wants? Ok, I will play it out. If it is right, then I keep doing it. If not, use another expression immediately. No emotion. No argument. No complaint. They are loyal to their profession. Absolutely efficient.”
But Ed said he had emotions on set. “The first scene I shot is me, as a captain, standing in front of the door and welcoming all the boarding travellers. At that time, I told myself, great, this is the way I welcome myself.”
He implied a really important point. Welcome what part of the self? With no doubt, the leading role life that every actor wants begins.
A common problem for this century —Sad & Bad
We have to mention “Gossip Girl”, which made millions of people know and love him. Because of it, Ed’s “problem” came — five years in succession. He always repeats one sentence: Chuck and I are totally different.
Ed’s background has no similarity with Chuck’s. His father is a lecturer at a University and his mother is a specialist in educational psychology. No one in his family has interest in acting. And his parents never expected their family to have a big star. His mother thought he just loved watching plays when she dropped him to drama school every Saturday. He witnessed his brothers go through puberty. So when he was at that age, he didn’t have the desire to go through what his brothers had experienced. “Although I can easily go bad, generally, I was a good kid.”
As for Ed, “bad” is not a personality but an ability. When he flew to New York from Britain for the interview, he didn’t get the leading male role — Nate. But he made the bad boy role attractive. “I enjoyed the whole process. At first, Chuck is a guy who always plays tricks. But I like the character. He brought out a lot of fun in me. The more I understood the character, the more I felt that, oh, here is a beating heart! In other word, the heart doesn’t know how to beat because it has been forgotten. Just let me act out how he gradually finds the way to his beating heart.”
He made “bad” become a quality that is easier for people to remember him by. A smirk, fair eyes but with sadness in them. He falls in love with someone for whom he betrays his oldest friend for. But when she puts him into aside, he seeks revenge on her for his own satisfaction. But when you hurt someone you care about, you hurt yourself. This feeling is shared by the audience.
Because he acted in Alfonso Cuaron’s “The Children of Men” and Anthony Minghella’s “Breaking and Entering”, some people think he learned from Jude Law’s bad but sexy performance in “Breaking and Entering”. But Ed doesn’t agree. “It seems that it is better for you to praise someone’s talent than someone’s accomplishment.” The curve of his smirk proves that the meaning of bad is to be yourself.
“He knows he fits the bad boy style. And he also knows what poses can express the bad boy feeling the best. He knows what differentiates him from other stars. In all, he knows himself very well.”
Taking the right way is the essential for success
It took six years —six seasons’ TV drama to make this “bad boy” a superstar. Sometimes, it only needs a moment. This dazzling moment happened after the premier of J.Edgar. Before he understood what was happening, people ran to him. He had to ask a police officer to escort him to cross the street. At that time, the only sentence kept repeating. “What the hell is this?”
What is worse is that photos of his girlfriend and him were everywhere in the world. People talked about their unstable relationship: meeting parents, going vacation, watching basketball games, breaking up and going back together. “Gossip Girl” is crazy enough. He doesn’t want his personal life to be discussed like what happened in the drama. If that happens, the audience will regard him as a Chuck in real life. Then what he did when he was acting Chuck becomes meaningless.
Most of the news about Ed and his girlfriend stopped by the end of 2010. After that, he kept a low profile. He was in a band named “The Filthy Youth”. Now, he doesn’t want to talk about it.
The fear brought by the crowd of people was soon replaced by surprise. The achievement of this profession must be marked by fame. And fans are the best reward. Gradually, he got used to the screaming and pushing. He had the big star style now.
“Did fame change you?” I asked.
He laughed. “I just enjoy the happiness brought by my job. As for fame, it is not in my consideration. Of course, it is great to know that someone likes me or likes one of my works.”
It is a safe answer. But to find out what a person is, is to see his action not his words. At least, it has been a while that there is no more photos of half-naked Ed and his girlfriend kissing beside the swimming pool. Instead, we see them in white T-shirts, holding grocery bags.
26-year-old Ed tries to be considerate. Probably because he knows he is becoming a bright star. At this sensitive and important moment, he can’t go wrong.
No regrets and no forecast
His other new movie “Romeo and Juliet” will be on screen soon.
He talked about Italy, where they shot at a lot of landmarks. The sunlight has no difference between 16 centuries and now. “Did that sad story move you?”
“Of course, such a story can move every one.”
A few years ago, Ed mentioned his thoughts on love. (Here they use an old Chinese saying, which means there are a lot of choices in the world. You don’t have to stick with someone who breaks your heart or has no interest in you.) But being in a long relationship has changed him. “No matter how old you are, people will always be obsessed with someone or love someone deeply. If you think him or her is your soul mate and you really feel the connection between you, your life will have some changes. Your career may succeed or damage it.”
Perhaps that last question can be concluded to one question: how to balance all the wants?
Ed’s answer is that what matters is pursuing what you want. “I hate that kind of regret: I should have set a life goal but I didn’t. Life is wasted and the scenery along the journey is not fully seen.”
He doesn’t agree with the concept that at each age, people are supposed to do something. “I believe people should do what they want, not what they are supposed to. It’s an obvious choice.” His motto is “never say never”. So in all these years, he played in band and worked as staff for the movies. Although now he is successful as an actor, Ed doesn’t plan to be actor forever. “I only want to do what makes me excited. It may be shooting movies or building a house. Life is like a screw. It can turn to any direction at any time. So, who can forecast what will happen tomorrow?”
“Sometimes the world is small in our eyes, especially in this industry. It seems like you can overcome everything. But I would be careful. At the same time, believing you can ‘make the world smaller’ is an incredible privilege. This may be the only way for me to find a breakthrough.”
At this time, we are willing to forecast the future, “He will become hit in Hollywood soon. His busy but happy expression says so.”
The only thing we can’t forecast is, when that day really comes, what will conquer the world? Ed’s good or bad?
Cover image reblogged from:
Ed Westwick for GQ China February 2014