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After 2 roles as young men in love, Kai Ko sees 'villains, gangsters' in his on-screen future

FILE - In this April 15, 2012 file photo, Taiwanese actor Kai Ko poses on the red carpet of the 31st Hong Kong Film Awards in Hong Kong. Kai Ko plays "Tung," who goes to Nanyang Street to search for an ex-girlfriend who dumped him to go to cram school in director Hou Chi Jan's new film "When a Wolf Falls in Love with a Sheep." (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

TAIPEI, Taiwan - After a wildly successful debut, Kai Ko is playing another young man lost in love. But the 21-year-old actor says other types of characters are "absolutely" in his future.

Ko said he's hungry to play roles that audiences wouldn't associate him with, "villains, gangsters, hooligans, drug addicts, killers, perverts."

"I want to play characters who do things that I can't do in real life," he said. "There are many things I want to try."

Versatility is why he admires the career of veteran Hong Kong actor Tony Leung.

"He seems like a quiet, dark guy, but he can let directors, or people in this industry or the audience see different sides of him," Ko said. "I think that makes a great actor. It's not important what you're like in private or how people perceive you. The important thing is: Can you interpret different kind of characters?"

Calling Ko an overnight sensation is no exaggeration. "You Are the Apple of My Eye" earned box-office success, critical acclaim and instant fame for the Taiwanese actor.

And while he says he's ready to live in the public eye, he admits it's hard to break the habit of saying anything.

"I've changed my attitude," he said but added that still, "whatever I want to say, whether good or bad, I just want to say it out loud."

In his second film, "When a Wolf Falls in Love With a Sheep," Ko plays a young man who works for Taipei's tutoring schools, or "cram schools," in hopes of finding an ex-girlfriend.

He sees some similarities between himself and his character. "We might seem outgoing and optimistic on the outside, but on the inside we hang on to the past," he said. But he added that he didn't feel that way about love.

His thoughts about old girlfriends are memories, he said. "When I meet someone new, then I start anew. I forget about the past."

The film opened in Taiwan on Friday. It premieres in Hong Kong on Nov. 15 and in Singapore in December.


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