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November 21, 2010

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Prince Will in comedy

SINGAPORE-BORN Leon Williams seldom speaks Mandarin and used to flunk his Chinese exams, but the former super model is making a name for himself as an actor and singer in China.

Williams's ethnic background is Chinese, Japanese, English and German and at 34 years of age he's a heartthrob. He is known for his roles in Taiwan TV dramas such as "Green Forest," "Heaven's Wedding Gown" and "My Lucky Star."

His latest performance in the Hong Kong romantic comedy feature "My Sassy Girl 2" shows his lighter, comic side.

His recent album "Sweet Inspiration" (in English) collects his engaging interpretations of songs from the 60s and 70s.

Many fans call him "Prince Williams" for his strong physique, poise and suave style - which he attributes to his modeling work. He typically plays wealthy and reserved men. Today he's getting lots of scripts to read.

He spoke to Shanghai Daily at the Halloween Party of GMI (Global Market Insite) at 3.Top.

Q: Why did you decide to work on the Chinese mainland? Is it difficult?

A: All the Taiwan shows I did aired on the mainland and I started getting offers to act and do mainland appearances. There's a very diverse market for actors here because so many films are shot, I had a difficult time with the accents and I can't read Chinese. I have to write pinyin in my scripts.

Q: You first were a model, now an actor and singer. How do these roles differ and which do you most enjoy?

A: I was just taking opportunities that were offered so everything was a natural progression. I did not plan anything and just followed my heart. All three roles complement one another so I can't choose which I like most. I hope to balance acting, singing and modeling as there are elements in each that I love.

Q: How do you change prejudice about models that they are just pretty faces?

A: There will always be criticism, even if I am not a model. It's part of life and I don't let it get me down. My work will speak for itself and an actor or model just has to work harder to prove critics wrong.

Q: What's your view of recently released "My Sassy Girl 2"?

A: I'm happy audiences can see a different side of me, a light-hearted, humorous side in contrast to the rich strict characters that I'm known for. Filming with a female lead taller than me was a different experience.

Q: What kind of roles do you want?

A: I'm attracted to roles I've not done before because they are challenging and not boring. I'd like to do more comedy or action, maybe like a 007.


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