Between passion and calmness of Ethan Ruan & Mark Chao

The two stars of Monga talk about love and growing up in the new issue of Men’s Uno.

Passionate, Ethan Ruan. Calm and introverted, Mark Chao. That is how we generally view them when they are interviewed individually. When the introverted Mark Chao meets the lively Ethan Ruan, passion melts the distance created by calmness. The two boys would forget about the passers-by’s who were also in the studio once they are together. They joke around and have fun among themselves.

The 28 year-old Ethan Ruan embodies the craziness of a 14 year-old. He would spend time decorating on Valentine’s Day and cook his own meals. In addition to saying good things about himself, he will also mention the goodness of others. When he talks about movies, he can almost host a lecture on analyzing everything from the characters to the story lines. There is nothing that Ethan won’t answer in interviews, and he even add his own views. Ethan Ruan is a very hyper person, much like a brother.

Being born in 80s, what are his impressions of the era? “That was the time when the curfew had just ended. Vespa scooters, Yulon cars, lots and lots of neon lights, lots of nightclubs, every area was booming. Everyone was doing well during that time, I even remember my dad buying a new car. A thousand dollars was a big number, it can be spent for a long time. The society’s mood was to go forward, to forge ahead, and we can achieve anything. I think it was a good era, very colourful, and full of hope.” Ethan’s participation in Monga helped him to get in touch with 1986 again. Even though he was less than 5 years old at the time, his memories are still very clear.

In Monga, Ethan plays the character Monk, a young man who was brought up by the gangs. He is a half-adult that is mature beyond his years, the leader of the Prince’s gang, and someone who would do anything for his friends. He met the other members of the Prince’s gang one by one as he grows up. They have the same interest, they fight together, and even find out together that the grown-up world is nothing like what they have imagined. “After watching the Hong Kong movie Young and Dangerous, you would say, ‘That’s so cool!’ I wanted to join the gang after watching it when I was young! But after watching Monga, you definitely won’t want to join the Prince’s gang. It is a movie that tells you the wrong road should not be taken.”

When asked about the difference between his Monga character than the one from Wayward Kenting, Ethan Ruan said, “Very different, Kenting’s Ah-Nan is very melancholy. My mood wasn’t good when I played that character. On the other hand, the mood while filming Monga was good. It was the most comfortable out of all the filming that I have done. This is because it feels great to have power; I was even feeling down when shooting was completed. It would be great if I was really like the character in the movie, so I can solve all these problems with my own power, instead of hiding from them.”

Ethan learned a lot from playing the character of Monk in the movie. Before filming began, director Niu Cheng-Ze even took the boys to meet with real-life gang members, and learned what it was like to hit the clubs with their "brothers". After Ethan has spoken with his mom about gangs and brothers, they concluded that a person’s circumstances can be very different depending on where they were.

If Ethan hadn’t move to Taipei to work and study, he said he might have ended up becoming a gang member. “Changes in the surroundings make someone different. I see my friends in Taichung still doing the same things that they were doing before. Everyone hasn’t changed much after graduating.” Ethan thought for a moment and said, “It must be fortune. A lot has to do with how the person was brought up by his family. However, another big factor is the change required to cope with the surroundings.”

As the opposite of Ethan Ruan, Mark Chao said he is an idiot when it comes to living, and even questioned why food has to be photographed before they are eaten. He answers interview questions with class, but he never reveals more than what is being asked. Although Mark Chao doesn’t say much, his answers are always to the point.

Mark appears much more cautious when compared to Ethan. He seems to be someone that takes time to warm up before he will open up. As expected, when he and Ethan were being photographed together, the two would start teasing each other and almost ended up sharing a snake-kiss. During the break, they showed off their cute side by sticking their tongue out and made the okay sign while recording a short clip for the web. Is Mark a boy or a man? Maybe we should start by asking what kind of men he thinks women like.

Mark answered, “A real great man, a man with a big heart, who knows what he wants.” He said it must be a man who is traditional, and went to explain his definition of what is a “great man”. Another quality that Mark thinks women like in a man is: The ability to unconditionally accept a woman’s wilfulness. He believes a woman will be moved by a man who is so in love with her that he can accept everything.

But isn’t that very difficult? “This contradicts the point of conflict. If it is me, if I can accept everything of this woman’s wilfulness, then this means I love her too much. This is because there are expectations only when there is love, so there are certain things to be asked for. When the other person do something, and you don’t get mad at all…” He paused for a moment, “I don’t know, maybe there was too much love.” Ethan happened to walk by while Mark was thinking about his answer, he added, “The kind of men that women like is Ethan Ruan-----But this answer is only half true!” His answer triggered Ethan to say his favourite phrase, “Fxxk!”

When asked if he has met a very difficult woman before, and how he dealt with it, Mark answered, “I don’t fight with women. I would try to resolve conflicts in a reasonable manner, and talk about it when we both calm down. This is because people often end up saying things that they didn't meant and hurt each other even more. Therefore I would calm down for a day or two before dealing with the matter, then think about what had caused the fight. But some girls think I am very cold-blooded, thinking how I can respond so coldly.”

As for the upcoming Valentine’s Day, Mark said it is not something he celebrates. “I’m not a romantic person. It’s just that when I think about celebrating a holiday, I’d rather stay home or go out for dinner, and then just have a chat at home and watch a DVD, because simple is the best. I don’t like doing something grand and spectacular, like bungee jumping. Although it is very meaningful, and the person will remember it for sure, but why?”

The full interview is available in this month’s issue of Men’s Uno TW.

Source:, Men's Uno TW

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