BEIJING : Hollywood is usually the place to see and be seen, but for Taiwanese pop singer Jay Chou, star of the smash hit "The Green Hornet," Tinseltown offers a welcome break from the paparazzi in Asia.
"As an artist, I need a lot of space which I cannot really get in many places in Asia," Chou told reporters Monday ahead of the Chinese premiere of the superhero flick, which co-stars Seth Rogen.
"It felt like I was having a vacation in the United States - I took my mother to the production, and it felt really good to have some time for myself. I didn't have that feeling of people surreptitiously taking my picture."
"The Green Hornet" - the tale of a young playboy businessman who becomes a crime fighter - topped the box office in its opening weekend in North America, taking in US$34 million, according to industry data.
Chou, largely unknown in the United States but hugely popular in Asia, plays the role of Kato, sidekick to the Green Hornet played by Rogen.
French director Michel Gondry confessed to not knowing how famous Chou was when he started considering him for the part of Kato, adding he and Rogen - who wrote the screenplay - later hesitated about casting a pop star.
"We had a conference on Skype where Seth was reading with Jay and we felt there was already chemistry, even though it was with a 10-second delay, and we liked him for his acting," Gondry said.
Rogen has since declared himself a fan of Chou's music, and he and Gondry joked that the Taiwanese singer would "force" them to listen to some of his tracks.
"Jay many times took us in his car with his bodyguard and forced us to listen to his music very loud, and if we didn't like it, he would beat us up," Gondry joked.
Chou had to learn English for the part, and acknowledged the language barrier would be a challenge for any future work in Hollywood. But Rogen praised his co-star for his quick mastery of the language.
"He knew very little (English) when we started filming and a few weeks in, he could improvise his own dialogue and come up with his own jokes, which was very frustrating because that took me years to learn how to do," he said.
Channel News Asia