'We are humans, not gods': Taiwanese actor James Wen adds backstory and depth to make his character darker in new Mediacorp drama

'We are humans, not gods': Taiwanese actor James Wen adds backstory and depth to make his character darker in new Mediacorp drama
James Wen shared that he felt his character Pastor James Chang was like a “tool” when he first read the script for new drama Kill Sera Sera.
PHOTO: Mediacorp

When Taiwanese actor James Wen first read the script for his character, pastor James Chang, in the new Mediacorp drama Kill Sera Sera, he felt something was missing from it.

"I felt that this pastor is like a tool. He is just servicing and counselling the other characters and I feel that this wouldn't happen in real life," the 45-year-old shared with AsiaOne in an interview recently for the drama.

James decided to breathe life into his character by suggesting a backstory to the director and producer.

He said: "I suggested to include some background for James, such as how he grew up in an abusive family and to leave such a violent background and suffering, he chose to become a pastor."

Besides suggesting a backstory, James also proposed more depth for pastor James' personality.

He explained: "I told them, 'We are humans, not gods'. It is impossible for us not to have any reaction when we are sad or hurt. So I added more depth into my character James to make him darker."

"The director and producer thought it was a good idea," he added.

James said that when pastor James is in church, he would preach forgiveness and acceptance, but when he removes his robes and goes home, he has a lot of inner struggles that he can't let go of.

"Later in the drama when pastor James faces his own problems, he reveals his true nature and reacts according to it, which is different from how he should have reacted as a pastor," he shared.

In the drama, pastor James has a teenage daughter Jane, whom he cares for very much and always puts up a strong front for, hiding the fact that he actually misses his deceased wife a lot and couldn't get over her death.

When Jane goes missing later, he finds that preaching forgiveness and acceptance is actually easier said than done.

On working with local actress Kiki Lim, 21, who plays Jane, James shared at the press conference that it was "so weird" when she first called him dad and this earned laughs from the audience.

James, who has an 11-year-old daughter, added: "Actually, it's possible for me to have a daughter of that age. But in the beginning when Kiki called me that, I couldn't get over it because I cannot imagine having a child of this age. I got used to it after the first two days."

In Kill Sera Sera, renowned art sculptor May Shaw's (Hong Kong actress Jessica Hsuan) daughter Sera Sun (Chantalle Ng) was murdered and dismembered on leap year four years ago. Living in guilt and despair over a fight that she had with Sera before her death and devastated that her murder remains unsolved, May seeks to find her daughter's killer.

In the process, she finds out that Sera had been offering sexual services and running a pornography website which her husband and Sera's father Allan (Christopher Lee) was a patron of.

As May continues looking for the murderer and unexpectedly finds emotional connection with pastor James (James), she accidentally commits a homicide which she tries to hide by imitating Sera's murder.

Kill Sera Sera, which also stars local actors Xu Bin and Damien Teo, is now available on demand for free on meWATCH and three new episodes will be released every Monday.

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