Kai Ko challenges himself in "The Road to Mandalay"

25 Nov - "I was frozen for a second as I stared at my mobile phone," said Taiwanese Kai Ko, when asked about the moment when he found out that he was nominated as Best Actor for the upcoming Golden Horse Awards.

As reported on Liberty Times, the actor, who sat down for an interview to talk about his journey from being shunned due to his drug scandal to finally being nominated along top stars such as Jacky Cheung and Tony Leung Kar Fai, admitted that there was a time that he wouldn't dare to leave his home.

"I didn't want to go outside. I was worried about being photographed and reading about myself in articles," he said.

Ko admitted that a lot of people wanted him to die, and he was verbally abused throughout the dark period of his life. While he understands that everybody has freedom of speech, he admitted that it was really hard to listen and read all the bad things said about him.

However, all the criticisms seemed to have helped him a lot in toughening himself up and establishing his character in Midi Z's "The Road to Mandalay", especially when the director gave him the freedom to shape the role himself.

Aside from learning to speak in Yunnan dialect, Ko revealed that the director also made an arrangement for him and co-star Wu Ke-xi to go to Thailand and experience what it's like to be a factory trainee, including cleaning the toilet in his spare time.

"Every day I felt like leaving. My manager and staff were not with me, so I had to overcome the physical challenges and mental stress on my own," he added.