Fei Han: “…If you don’t take action, your dreams will always remain dreams and never come true”

Fei Han by Yibo Liu
Fei Han by Yibo Liu

Exclusive interview with Fei Han – Actor, Producer

Fei Han is an actor and producer who is based in London. But his first degree was in
Finance, and he has long worked in finance and media. However, he loved singing,
acting, and dubbing from an early age. He has never given up studying in his spare time,
training, and performing through social media platforms. He believes he is talented and
can achieve in this field. At the age of 49, he decided to move from Beijing to London to
study drama at the London College of Music. After graduating with a master’s degree in
Theatre performance, he worked in acting and producing for stage and screen.
He has played a variety of roles, including father, banker, chef, businessperson, police
officer, prisoner, depressed suicide, etc. He likes to experiment with multiple roles, which
he considers to be a challenge for a good actor. Now he is also trying his hand at
producing and writing. As a producer, his latest short film will begin shooting in New York
in the summer of 2024. His works include: Play: After Life (2023), Short Film: Leading Role:  Secret (2023), Deep in the Reed (2024), Supporting Role: June (2023), Golden (2023), Executive Producer: Fumakase (2024) (Will be filmed at the end of June 2024), Feature Film: (Speaking Role), Dancing Queen (2024), Bhai Bhai (2023), Punia Ki Duniya (2023), Feature Film Dubbing: (Including 2 Roles), The Girl with the Metal Heart (2023). Awards: The 1st Singapore Lion City International Film Festival (Event date Sept 2024), Golden:  Official Selected for the Best International Short Film, Fei Han: Shortlisted for the Best Supporting Actor.

Fei Han by Caz Dyer

NY Glam: Tell me about your experience as a Theater performer?

I enjoy being called a theatre performer, even though I’m also doing some film work right now. After I got my master’s degree in Theatre and Performance Practice from the London College of Music (LCM) at the University of West London, I started performing on stage full-time. I also had some short training sessions at specialist theatre schools. The first play I did in London was called After Life. It’s a modern drama adapted from the famous Japanese film After Life. I played Hirokazu, a depressed guy who committed suicide. He’s my favorite character. The play is about a group of dead people who have to tell angels a memorable moment from their lives so they can go to heaven. If I had to tell people in the future about my memorable moment, I think it would be the first time I performed on stage.

NY Glam: Define your job as a performer?

That’s an interesting question. I can answer it by thinking about the difference between a performer and an actor. Before I got into this field, I never really thought about what makes a performer or an actor. Besides theatre work, I’ve been doing some screen acting too. The feeling is really different between being on stage and in front of a camera.

I think of a performer as someone who’s on stage. On stage, you have to pay special attention to the audience’s reactions and feelings, as well as to the other actors’ responses. Interacting smoothly with others is super important because it’s all about teamwork. On the other hand, when I talk about an actor here, I mean a screen actor. You focus more on the scenes and the material being shot. Of course, you still need to pay attention to the other actors, but you don’t need to think about the audience since there isn’t one present. Instead, you have to consider the director’s vision, often performing in a way that matches what the director wants, which means less room for personal interpretation.

When it comes to acting styles, screen acting might not require you to fully immerse yourself in the character both on and off set. But as a stage performer, it’s crucial to make the audience feel like you are the character, not just acting. You have to completely throw yourself into the role to show the audience the most genuine emotions and connect with them deeply.

NY Glam: How long have you been a theater artist and when did you get your

Honestly, I haven’t been in this field for very long, and my story is quite dramatic. I made the switch in 2022, when I was 49. Before that, I worked mainly in media, focusing on finance and investment. But ever since I was a kid, I loved singing, acting, and doing voice-over work. I never gave up on my talents and performed whenever I could. Even so, I believe I’ve gained a lot of valuable performing experience.

In the years before I moved to London, during the strict COVID-19 lockdowns in China, I mostly trained and performed on social media platforms. I always believed my talents would eventually bloom like flowers. In the third year of the pandemic, I moved from Beijing to London. My friends thought I was crazy and couldn’t understand why I made such a big decision at my age. But I thought, if I am crazy, then it’s worth it because I felt like I’d found the opportunity to fulfill my dreams.

If you don’t take action, your dreams will always remain dreams and never come true. For someone who loves performing, age is never an issue. In London, I studied Theatre and Performance Practice at the London College of Music, part of the University of West London. That’s where I officially began my journey as a performer in the magical world of London theatre.

NY Glam: What is the most exciting opportunity you have had as a producer?

I’m also starting to work as a producer now. As a producer, you get to encounter many exciting real-life stories, even if you’re not a judge or lawyer. Of course, being a producer comes with many challenges. You need to have an artistic vision, strong communication skills, and the ability to bring together various industry resources. A great producer needs to have eagle-like sharpness and insight.

What’s most important is the process. Creating something collectively is a lot of fun because you’re bringing together interesting people and talented artists. When you find a group of people who share your vision and goals, it’s incredibly rewarding. It feels like everyone’s hearts are beating together in sync.

NY Glam: How has moving from Beijing to London impacted your career as a
theater performer? In your experience, where do you find more challenges
and opportunities?

London is definitely the theatre city of the world. Here, I’ve been exposed to a wide range of theatrical styles, from traditional Shakespearean plays to more modern, avant-garde performances, especially the popular immersive theatre. The variety in performance styles, the professionalism of the actors, the stage setups, and the audience’s appreciation for theatre are all world-class. London attracts some of the best playwrights and producers globally, and getting to work with them is an incredible opportunity for me.

Just like any other industry, the theatre world is full of challenges. For me, the biggest challenge isn’t just the language—it’s also the cultural differences. Moving to a new environment with such a different culture at 49, when English isn’t my first language, is hugely challenging. Even basic lines require ten times more effort for me to practice compared to native speakers. But it’s not just about language. It’s about understanding and embracing the cultural background.

When you’re understanding your lines, rehearsing, feeling the audience’s emotions on stage, or working with your colleagues, having a deep understanding of a different culture makes you feel much more confident. I believe I’ll keep getting better and better.

NY Glam: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Most of my inspiration comes from my life experiences and paying attention to the details around me. I observe and connect with the everyday actions and stories of ordinary people. While every role is important, the smaller roles often reflect the lives of the most overlooked people in society, rather than the heroic main characters. These stories can truly reflect real life and touch the audience deeply.

On both stage and screen, I’ve created several characters who are everyday people. I’ve played a father, a banker, a chef, a businessman, a police officer, a prisoner, a customer, and a depressed person who committed suicide. But the most important thing is that I believe a performer’s basic social responsibility isn’t just to entertain but also to pay attention to marginalized groups, challenge ideologies, and speak up for fairness and justice. So, there’s no such thing as a small role. They’re all important. In fact, I think playing roles of people at the bottom of society is even more meaningful.

Fei Han by Cai

NY Glam: What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a
career in Theater performing?

First, you have to fully immerse yourself, understanding the character’s inner world and background. Then, you need to practice relentlessly. And by practice, I don’t just mean rehearsing in front of a mirror. You have to create opportunities to practice anytime, anywhere. For example, when I was developing the character Hirokazu, there was a scene where he had to let out a desperate scream. To avoid disturbing my neighbors, I practiced late at night on a highway overpass far from residential areas. After the performance, many audience members told me they were deeply moved by my scream. At that moment, I felt like I had achieved something.

Second, for non-native speakers like me, understanding the language and culture is crucial. This is even more important than the technical aspects of acting.

Finally, to university students studying acting, I’d say that as a young person, you should take every opportunity to practice while you’re still in school. The real world will teach you far more than you can learn in a classroom.

NY Glam: Are there any new exciting shows or projects that you are working
on or have lined up in the near future?

I’m excited to share that a short film I’m producing, Fumakase, is about to start filming in New York. It’s a film that truthfully reflects the stories of undocumented immigrants working in Japanese restaurants in New York. Almost all the characters are based on real stories. The film explores the survival struggles of undocumented immigrants and the complexities of multi-ethnic identity. I’ll also be making a cameo in it as a fun character.

The screenwriter and director, Joanna Lyu, is currently studying film production at Columbia University. Her short films have won major awards at film festivals like the Rhode Island Film Festival and the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. I’m thrilled to be working with such a talented young director. I hope this realistic film will have a positive and profound social impact in the future.

Additionally, I’m working on another project, a play I wrote and produced called London South Bank. It’s a tragedy about a Japanese immigrant’s life in London. The script is almost finished, and I hope to stage it in London by the end of this year.

NY Glam: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?

Besides acting and producing, I also love singing in musicals and doing voice-over work. I want to highlight my experience with film dubbing. In China, during the last century, foreign films were dubbed into Mandarin and broadcast on national television. Shanghai voice actors creatively developed a unique accent called “Shangyiqiang,” which means Shanghai-dubbed Mandarin. This dubbing style gave foreign film characters a transformative new presentation. I think their dubbing combines Shakespearean stage English with the alienation effect of translated text.

I have a real talent for voice-over work, probably even more than for acting or singing. I was even a voice-over coach for a while. However, despite Shangyiqiang’s popularity in the past, it’s now declining. Today’s young people usually prefer watching films in their original language. So, I mainly share my voice-over work on social media. Even though it only reaches a niche audience, I see it as a unique way to express myself artistically, and I plan to keep doing it.

NY Glam: Looking ahead, do you see yourself more in the role of a producer
or an actor and which role do you feel suits you best at this point?

Honestly, I haven’t decided which direction to take yet. Like many people, this might just be a phase in my life. But deep down, I know I love acting the most. Being an actor lets me experience different lives through the characters I play, and that’s really fascinating.

NY Glam: Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more? …social

Even though I haven’t uploaded much content on social media since coming to the UK, you can still find me on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/feihan2022?igsh=dTY2MXNwdnV0ZGF0&utm_source=qr

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/share/76XguVWPciuh3sfy/?mibextid=LQQJ4d
IMDb link: https://pro.imdb.com/name/nm15680491?ref_=nm_nv_usr_profile

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