Nathalie Tomada – The Philippine Star

October 9, 2021 | 12:00am

Fans can follow Vic Chou’s relentless search for a criminal mastermind in the continuation of Danger Zone, iQiyi’s first original prison-themed Chinese-language drama series.

Following from Chapter I: In the Dark Night that scored 8.7 points (out of 10) on the Chinese review website Douban, Danger Zone is set to drop major revelations in Chapter II: The Silver Lining on Oct. 15 via the iQiyi International app or A 15-minute highlight is now available on the streaming service.

No spoilers here, but the action-thriller revolves around Vic’s Liang Yandong, an imprisoned lawyer and profiling expert who forms an unlikely partnership with the police to solve crimes.

The Taiwanese star, who is perhaps best-known to Filipino fans as a member of the original F4, told The STAR in a previous interview that he was curious to know how his followers here would react to his latest drama.

“I haven’t been to the Philippines for a long time. I went there for a performance many years ago. Those fans were very enthusiastic, but after 20 years, I wonder if they will be as enthusiastic about me as an actor. I think Danger Zone is mind-blowing. Every scene, object or line may be a clue to the plot. I hope viewers will pay full attention to the show without distractions,” he said.

Besides Vic, The STAR also talked to the other lead characters — the Singapore-based Malaysian actor Christopher Lee and Taiwanese heartthrob Berant Zhu.

Christopher, a two-time Best Actor at Taiwan’s “equivalent of the Emmy Awards,” the Golden Bell Awards (the most recent of which was just last week for HBO Asia’s Workers), plays Tan Chong Hui, the strong-willed police chief of the Criminal Investigation Team. Berant, on the other hand, is Ren Fei, the talented rookie member of Team Tan, but whose impulsiveness often leads to friction with his boss.

Off screen, Christopher and Berant had formed a “brotherly bond” from working closely with each other.

“Even though Christopher Lee shouts at me all the time in the series,” said Berant, “I still like him a lot. We are the best partners.” Christopher jokingly reciprocated: “Zhu is the tag-along I can’t get rid of.”

Through an interpreter, the two actors spoke more about why their show’s a must-watch in our exclusive interview.

When you first read the script and were offered to join the main cast, what was your reaction?

Berant: “I’m very happy to be (playing) a policeman because I never expected myself to act as one. And I thought that I was going to wear a uniform. And that’s when I realized that we are all in our street clothes and all these costumes are pretty stylish so I enjoyed it a lot.”

Christopher: “I think for Danger Zone, when I was reading the script, obviously we had to do a lot of preparation for this role. And usually, you just read the script and you try to create your own character. You have to think about the personality behind this character and so on. But this time around, what’s different is because I have some input regarding the style of this character.

“Inspector Tan is quite straightforward, he just pursues after the criminals or the killers. So, sometimes as an actor, you don’t just look for your character in the script or just read the stories. I think it’s a very fun experience, a better experience for me to have my inputs on the style of the character, to inject some of my own ideas, and that made me enjoy the shooting more.”

What was the hardest to film in the series? The action scenes?

Christopher: “I think all actors look forward to action scenes and opportunities, including myself. Even though I’m 50 years old, I believe there are opportunities for me in this genre. Men want to show their masculine side and feel excited about it.”

Berant: “I feel like the whole series is a marathon. The whole case lasts very long. During this intensive process, I feel my mind shut down several times. My role, Ren Fei, also struggles and starts to question the definition of justice.”

Since you’re a team on the series, how did you try to build that “onscreen chemistry” on or off set?

Christopher: “I poke fun at other team members in the police station. The filming process was pretty long and many scenes happened at night. My sleeping patterns were disrupted, so I felt tired or pressured sometimes. Therefore, I tried to relax myself as much as possible during breaks, and snacked a bit.”

Berant: “I discuss with other actors, such as Vic Chou or Christopher Lee, about details and plot development. I also ask them where I can do better. I also chat with others or play video games.”

Any message to viewers from the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia?

Christopher: “I really want to visit those beautiful islands in the Philippines. I hope everyone will stay safe, and have a good life and health. I will certainly go to the Philippines when opportunities are available.”

Berant: “I also hope to visit the Philippines one day. I imagine it has a lot of tasty food and beautiful places.”


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