Photos: Channel 5, Alan Wan/Instagram
Avid viewers of TVB programmes would be familiar with Alan Wan, who has appeared in dramas such as Ghost of Relativity, Two Steps from Heaven and Sniper Standoff. The 30-year-old was born and raised in New York but moved to Hong Kong in 2008 to participate in the Mr. Hong Kong pageant, where he made it into the Top 3.
Since then, Alan has braved language barriers (he spoke limited Cantonese) and unfamiliar surroundings to slowly expand his filmography in the city. It was there when he met Singaporean director – and actress Aileen Tan’s husband – Gerald Lee, whom he worked with for a while before the latter returned to our sunny shores.
“I didn’t think I’d ever hear from him again, but one day out of the blue, he called me and said he was doing a show in Singapore and would send me the script to see if I was interested,” Alan recalled.
The script was for Channel 5’s Faculty, and Alan found it so interesting that he decided to go for it even though he was already involved with another movie at the same time. “I’d never done an English show before so I wanted to explore it and have that chance to speak my native language,” he explained.
Alan describes his character, third-year student Alex, as a typical devil-may-care bad boy. “He goes drinking and partying and just enjoys life to the max without understanding that his actions can have consequences – and he doesn’t learn that until the very end when he falls.”
While that doesn’t exactly sound like the ideal profile for a role model, Alan shared that he admires how Alex “lives life with no regrets”. “You only have one shot at life, so you should really just live and be happy,” he said, before adding a disclaimer, “Obviously he makes a lot of bad choices, which are the negative points that shouldn’t be learned from.”
Working in Singapore for the very first time allowed Alan to experience a slower, more relaxed pace compared to Hong Kong’s much more intense approach. “Over there, it’s possible to get almost no sleep for weeks because they try to fit everything in such a short time frame,” he said. “So for example, Faculty took four months to shoot here, but in Hong Kong it would take half as long.”
Still, the busy bee found himself shuttling back to Hong Kong and Macau every week to film Fruit Chan’s upcoming action flick Made in Kowloon, which also stars Max Zhang and Kevin Cheng. “I would fly out (of Singapore), get off the plane, film what I had to film, then fly back here,” he recalled.
Thankfully, Alan was not robbed of the chance to enjoy his stay in the Lion City and bond with his cast mates, who would bring him around town and introduce him to the local fare. “Zachary (Ibrahim) and Sofia (Dendroff) would take me out to eat, Shane (Pow) would bring me out to play basketball – we really hung out a lot and stuck together,” he said. “If I have the chance, I would love to come back and work with them again.”
In the meantime, the young actor will be back in Hong Kong for the filming of TVB’s upcoming anniversary drama My Ages Apart, as well as his ongoing TVB food show Organized Dining. Although most of his projects have been with the renowned broadcasting station, he clarified that he has never officially been part of their roster of stars.
“I wanted to explore my options, and since Chinese isn’t my first language, I wasn’t sure how well I was going to do,” he explained. “And second of all, I wanted to have more control over my work – I don’t know if I would’ve had the opportunity to film here in Singapore if I wasn’t a freelance artist!”
And speaking of free, we had to wonder: is the hunky eligible bachelor single and available?
“(laughs) Why is everybody asking this question! Well, yes and no. I’ll leave it at that,” was his cryptic reply, accompanied with a hearty guffaw. He was recently romantically linked to Cantopop singer Jinny Ng.
But whatever his relationship status really is at the moment, Alan reiterated that “a great personality” is his most important criteria in a companion, and also the ability to socialise well with his pals.
“It’s very difficult if my partner and friends can’t get along because it almost makes me have to choose between them,” he said, admitting that he’s speaking from experience. “I had to let go of somebody because she didn’t like who I was hanging out with. But these people grew up with me and they mean a lot to me.”