No Tongue Involved Thursday February 24, 2011 Singapore/Taiwan
THEIR kissing scene caused a little ruckus on the Internet because it looked like a French kiss.
Ordinarily, it wouldn't have been a big deal for seasoned Taiwanese stars Mike He and Janine Zhang.
But since their latest TV series, Sunny Happiness, was an idol drama, some netizens felt that they should have tamed their smooch.
Taiwanese idol dramas are extremely popular with teens and young adults, and usually have plots that centre on innocent, young love.
But both He and Zhang claimed there was 'no tongue involved'.
Zhang said they made a pact - whoever stuck the tongue out during the kiss would get it bitten by the other person.
In town on Tuesday to promote Sunny Happiness, both He and Zhang appeared injury-free.
He, who stands at 1.8m, told The New Paper: 'What I like about kissing Janine is that she's much taller (1.68m) than the rest of the actresses I've worked with.
'For more petite co-stars, they had to stand on wooden boxes for the kissing scenes.
'I also liked getting a whiff of her sweet-smelling hair.'
The 27-year-old heart-throb's past co-stars include Hebe Tien (Bullfighting) and Rainie Yang (Devil Beside You).
He explained that the passionate kissing was appropriate for the series because unlike the usual idol dramas, Sunny Happiness focused on serious issues.
He plays a rich man who found out that he had an eight-year-old son from a previous relationship, a stark contrast to his usual 'hottest guy in school' kind of role.
He admitted that he felt nervous before they filmed the scene, which took them many takes to get right.
'To prepare for it, we brushed our teeth, chewed gum and even went to see the dentist to check on our oral hygiene,' he joked.
Zhang, 28, on the other hand, admitted that since it was an emotional scene, she 'really felt it'.
The German-born Taiwanese actress is best known for acting in the 2006 Taiwanese TV series The Hospital opposite Jerry Yan.
So how would she rate He's kissing skills?
He interrupted at this point and urged her to give him his score even if it was just '59 or 61, pass can already'.
Zhang asked him: 'Why give yourself such low marks?'
She turned to this reporter and said: 'It's about the emotions of the scene, not about the thickness or softness of the person's lips.
'What I must say is that I like the way Mike looks when he's swimming.'
He revealed that he was suitably impressed when he found out how strong his gentle-looking co-star was.
In their wedding scene in the drama, they came up with a gender role-reversal plan.
So instead of He carrying Zhang, the pretty 'bride' chose to lift her 70kg 'groom' with her slim arms.
Said Zhang: 'People are always very surprised by the amount of strength that I have.
'When I gave them massages, they would yelp and ask me to use less force.'
Added He: 'And the best part is that she carried me with such ease. She's very strong.
'What I'm looking for in a girlfriend is someone who is kind and caring. How much strength she has doesn't matter.'
Although He had fun teasing Zhang, he got serious when asked about his first girlfriend.
Since He entered the entertainment industry in 2003, he has claimed to be single.
Last month, his ex-girlfriend, whom he had met in high school, was photographed by the Taiwanese media entering his home.
According to the report, the girl stayed for two hours, after which He took her home.
He blogged about his unhappiness over the incident.
Said He: 'I wouldn't be angry if they just took pictures of me. But this is someone else's privacy.
'I just don't think it's fair for my friends' personal lives to be put in the spotlight. That made me upset.'
Zhang also said that similar incidents happened to her and they, too, caused her some anguish.
Pictures of her with male and female friends were doctored - her female friends were left out of the pictures, which got published.
So is she attached then?
'I like mature, honest and filial men,' she said, without answering the question directly.
And of course He had to butt in with: 'I love my father and mother.'
# Sunny Happiness premieres on Mei Ah Drama (SingTel mio TV Ch 73) at 11.30pm on Mar 8.
The New Paper