RISING young actor Hun Haqeem wants to walk the same road that Malaysian actor, model and television host Henry Golding has travelled, and venture into Hollywood. The 22-year-old has been busy sending his resume to several production houses in Los Angeles.
“I want to experience what it is like working overseas,” says the Kuching-born actor who now lives in Kuala Lumpur.
“I want to learn from them, and be a better actor. We must dare to dream and we must dare to take risks.”
Interestingly, the actor – whose real name is Haqeem Hermy – never dreamt of becoming an actor when he was a young boy. He became an actor after deciding to try something new.
In fact, he previously worked in the corporate communications department of a well-known media company.
“I loved my job in the corporate department,” he says.
“But I felt something was missing from my life.”
Hun, who was also a part-time model at the time, decided to send his resume to a production house and try his luck at acting. He was called for an audition and landed his first role in his first tele- film called Tasbih Usang (2019).
The next production he was involved in was the TV series Cari Aku Di Syurga where he plays a husband who is mentally abused by his fierce and angry wife.
The role got him noticed and earned him much praise from critics and audiences.
Hun realised that acting was able to fulfil the missing element in his life. To date, he has appeared in four local TV drama series.
“Acting allows you to become someone else for some time, and I found that process to be fascinating,” he says.
“For several hours, you can take a break from who you are. Sometimes, you get tired of being yourself.”
He says that his favourite Malaysian actor is Shaheizy Sam, and his favourite Malaysian actress is Maya Karin.
“Shaheizy Sam is always believable in any role he plays,” he says.
“He can play funny and serious roles convincingly. And I love the way Maya has shaped her career. It is smooth sailing for her.”
From Hollywood, Hun says his favourite actor is Tobey Maguire.
“Everyone only knows him as Spider-Man,” he says.
“But he has played some great roles during his career. He is the most underrated actor in Hollywood.”
The next production that audiences can see Hun starring in will be the 13-episode television series called Dayang Senandung, which is based on the folk tale about a princess who is cursed with dark skin. Later, a prince falls in love with her, and slowly the cursed is lifted and she becomes fair.
Hun plays the prince in the series, while Dayang Senandung is played by Wani Kayrie.
“The production house has modernised the folk tale,” he says. “They set the story in the present time. I really admire their guts at [doing so].
“My character still comes from a royal family, and his mother wants him to run the family business. But he is more interested in music. He becomes a music producer instead.”
Recently, some quarters have criticised the adaptation of the folk tale, which is seen as promoting the message that fairer skin is more desirable than dark skin, and feel it should not be retold in any form.
There are even rumours that there will be a petition to stop the TV series from being aired.
However, Hun disagrees with that view.
“If you read the folk tale carefully, you will realise that the prince fell in love with her when she still had dark skin,” he says.
“He fell in love with her kind heart, not her skin colour. He even married her. The fair skin only came much later. The story actually teaches us that one should fall in love with someone’s character, not their appearance.”
He points out that the popular fairy tale Beauty and Beast also has a similar message, where a beautiful woman falls in love with an ugly beast who later transforms into a handsome prince.
“Nobody has protested against Beauty and the Beast,” he says.
“Nobody said that Beauty and the Beast is all about appearances. Just watch Dayang Senandung before you judge the show.”
Judging someone based on their skin colour does not run his blood. In fact, he revealed that his maternal grandmother is Chinese.
“Diversity was a big thing during my childhood years,” he says.
“I have been taught from very young to respect and be friendly to everyone, regardless of their race, religion, or skin colour.”
Incidentally, Hun is still very much single. When asked what kind of woman appeals to him, he says: “She must know how to cook, because I also know how to cook. I think a couple preparing a dinner together is super romantic.”