He’s everything you want in a leading man: Dashing, committed to his craft and he steals the scene each time he appears onscreen. Png started out non-proficient in Mandarin, but today holds his own in roles that require him to speak the language. Case in point: The 43-year-old recently wrapped up Mulan: The Musical, the stage adaptation of the classic Chinese tale.
You mastered Mandarin and even learnt ballet for another show. What does each experience bring you?
I was having a conversation with my wife, Andrea (De Cruz), and I said, “Can you believe it? I’m doing everything that I never thought I’d do.” I did ballet and continued because I realised I love it. I feel like I’m a kid again. It’s such a wonderful feeling because not everyone gets the chance to do what they want. With acting, I play different characters. I experience a period of this person’s life. I live it. You feel the pains and the achievements of that character. You connect with it.
Is there something you’ll never do?
Never say never. I never thought I’d be dancing ballet at my age. But you find a way around it. I think my thoughts about life changed when I picked up Aikido, a form of martial arts. The philosophy behind it is to not go head-on against something, but to receive it. Whatever comes your way, you take it, be it an aggressor or a bad script. Then you feel it and react.
What do you want people to talk about when discussing your legacy as an actor?
I want people to remember me as a person who never gave up. If there’s anything inscribed on my tombstone, it’ll be: “Hard work; never disappointed anyone.” We need to give it our best.
By Gerald Tan and Dana Koh
Photography by Gan
Styled by Windy Aulia
Hair and Makeup: Grego, Manisa Tan/PaletteInc, Red
Styling assistant: Gracia Phang
Fashion intern: Abielle Yeo