Fahrenheit is fast gaining the attention of pop masses

Fahrenheit celebrated the mid-autumn festival for the first time in Malaysia. The Taiwanese boy band comprises Wu Zun, 28, Jiro Wang Dong-cheng, 26, Calvin Chen Yi-ru, 27, and Aaron Yan Ya-lun, 21.

It was Wang and Chen’s first visit to Malaysia. Brunei-born Wu played host and introduced them to local delicacies (satay, char kway teow, bak kut teh, and nasi lemak, among others).

Yan was conspicuously missing in action due to a worsening knee injury that has kept him wheelchair-bound. He had to undergo surgery on a torn ligament, sustained while filming a dance session for a music video. He was hospitalised for more than three weeks after aggravating an old basketball injury.

Despite missing its youngest band-mate and rumours of the group disbanding, Fahrenheit remained a playful unit at a recent press conference in Kuala Lumpur, during which romantic liaisons were the hot topic.

Presently, Wu stars in Romantic Princess (Gong Zhu Xiao Mei), a Taiwanese serial adapted from the Japanese manga, Romance Godan Katsuyou, by Kazuko Fujita. The buff actor-singer plays the male lead opposite Angela Chang Shao Han and has several kissing scenes with the pretty actress-singer. The series is currently airing on Taiwanese TV stations CTV & GTV, and the two are often seen together at promotional activities.

Wu was quizzed on his rumoured relationship with Chang but he laughed it off. Cheekily deflecting the questions, Wu gestured at Chen instead and hinted at the latter’s rumoured relationship with Genie Zhuo Wen Xuan. Both also star in Romantic Princess, with Chen playing the second lead; he even had a bedroom scene with Chang.

Chen, the tallest in the band at 1.84m, has taken to hosting. “Given an opportunity, I’d like to try different things. Look at groups like SMAP (popular Japanese boyband). Doesn’t each member has his own speciality? Similarly, Fahrenheit members, too, can each approach his art from different directions.”

Fahrenheit’s soaring popularity in Japan has prompted it to make its Japanese debut in November. The boys are expected to release Fahrenheit First, which includes a Japanese version of their first hit, Wo You Wo De Young (I Have My Youth).

Wang revealed: “We’ve recorded our single and will include some of our other songs.”

Scheduled to release its second Mandarin album, Wo Men De (Ours), in December, Fahrenheit will reportedly stage its debut concert at Hong Kong’s Coliseum in 2008.

Meanwhile, the guys have been holding mini-concerts since early this year – one in Medan, Sumatra, and another in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

Last year, Fahrenheit won bronze for the best group at Hong Kong’s TVB8 Awards. It was the first new foreign boy band to do so, beating other Hong Kong boy bands vying for the title. The gold and silver went to Taiwan’s S.H.E and Hong Kong’s Twins, respectively, both top all-girl acts in the region. Early this year, Fahrenheit was named the best male group at the HITO Music Awards 2007, held in Taiwan.

With Fahrenheit being so popular in Hong Kong, will it be singing in Cantonese soon?

“We’ve sung in Japanese, so why not Cantonese? It’s not so difficult,” piped Chen. Wang followed with, “Yeah! When we’re at the KTV (karaoke), we sing Cantonese songs, too.”

Wang and Chen admitted to understanding some but speaking very little Cantonese. Then Brunei-born Wu, whose Cantonese is easily the best, pointed out, “There’s a slight difference between Hong Kong Cantonese and the Cantonese spoken here (Malaysia). People can tell when we speak.”

Ever popular Wu, whose real name is Goh Kiat Chun, is reportedly making his foray into the Hong Kong movie industry. The dashing pop idol is said to be starring in Hong Kong director Jingle Ma’s new movie, which is a twist on the classic Chinese romance, Liang Zhu (Liang and Zhu are star-crossed lovers who die and turn into butterflies).

Wu is reported to be playing the lead, Liang Shan Bo, opposite award-winning Hong Kong actress Charlene Choi’s Zhu Ying Tai. Filming is expected to begin late this month, but Wu declined to elaborate as nothing has yet been confirmed. “I’m really looking forward to filming a movie. It is a dream come true for me.”

Hong Kong actor-director Stephen Chow is also said to be eyeing Wu for a part in his new project, Gong Fu Chuan Ren (Descendant of Kung Fu). It is said to be a TV drama modelled after his blockbuster movie, Kungfu Hustle. Pressed to divulge details, Wu simply replied, “We just met up, there’s nothing in the works.”

Among the prettiest of boy bands in Taiwan, Fahrenheit reportedly earns NT$25mil (RM2.6mil) a year. However, rumours abound of them disbanding after a supposed falling out between Wu and Wang. Both of them vehemently denied the rumours and surprised the media by simulating a passionate kissing scene.

Then, looking serious, Wang clarified, “When we filmed Zhong Ji Yi Jia (The X-Family), the promotions couldn’t compare with those of Hua Yang Shao Nian Shao Nu (Hanazakarino Kimitachihe), hence prompting such a response from the media.”

Wang was the protagonist in The X-Family, while Wu played the male lead in Hanazakarino Kimitachihe (Hana Kimi). Wu’s splendid chemistry with tomboyish Ella Chen (from Taiwanese group S.H.E), who played the cross-dressing female lead, led the media to portray them as a couple, further boosting their popularity.

The viewership ratings for Hana Kimi was so high that television stations in Japan and South Korea clamoured for broadcasting rights. Hana Kimi was even nominated for best juvenile drama at the 2007 Seoul International Drama Awards. Wu and Wang reported a joyful trip to South Korea, although they did not win anything. “It was a great honour and a huge encouragement for us to be at an event with so many established Korean film and television artistes in attendance.”

To date, Wu has starred in three manga-based Taiwanese serials (Tokyo Juliet, Hana Kimi and Romantic Princess) and guest-starred in another three (KO One, It Started With a Kiss and The X-Family).

But, what people don’t know is the amount of effort Wu has to put in while preparing for shoots because he doesn’t read Chinese very well. “I still use some pin yin (or Romanised Chinese) scripts because there are many words I don’t know. But my Chinese has definitely improved.”

At the media’s urging, all three gave impromptu performances.

Then they were quickly whisked off to perform at the Perfect Mid-Autumn Concert Charity Show 2007, in Bukit Jalil, where they shared the stage with artistes from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia.

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