Arguably Asia’s fastest rising star, Thai-Chinese heartthrob Mike Angelo is practically moving at the speed of light.
For the 29-year-old pop idol and style icon (formerly known as Mike D’Angelo), 2019 kicked off with him winning international acclaim. Apart from snagging his very first Hollywood role in Renny Harlin’s The Misfits, he also nabbed the Best International Star award at the 2019 DIAFA (Distinctive International Arab Festivals Awards) in Dubai and the Most Popular Foreign Artiste award at the 2019 JSTYLE FEIA (Fashion And Entertainment Influence Awards) in China.
In a recent email interview, Angelo – whose real name is Pirath Nitipaisalkul – said that being recognised as an international star was a huge honour for him. “It has always been my dream, since I was a kid, to break into Hollywood.
“So, I’ve been focusing on my goal and working hard. And also I really appreciate all my fans for always being so sweet and always supporting me. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said.
Angelo made his debut in showbiz in 2005 as part of a pop duo Golf-Mike with his brother Golf. Angelo quickly carved a name for himself in Thailand, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and China with the release of albums in four different languages.
By 2007, the brothers branched into acting in Thai films and drama series. The brothers disbanded in 2010 as their solo projects increased and their interests began to diverge.
Then in 2014, Angelo decided to make his foray into the Chinese entertainment scene, and was rewarded with prominent roles in popular TV series and variety shows.
Earlier this month, Angelo finished shooting the action thriller The Misfits, which sees him working opposite Pierce Brosnan. “It’s such an honour, for my first (international) project, to be working with a big star like him. He is super friendly and nice, not only to me, but to everyone in the team. I really learnt a lot from him,” he gushed about his Hollywood co-star.
What was it like working with Finnish film director Harlin who has directed blockbusters like Die Hard 2 and Deep Blue Sea?
“Renny is just amazing with his visions. And, everything was so detailed. He knew what he wanted and already had a picture in his head of what the scene would be like.
“Also, he’s open to ideas which is very good for us actors because we can be more creative about the scenes and give more to the character,” said Angelo. who is represented in Hollywood by Creative Artists Agency, home to most of the A-listers in Hollywood such as Jennifer Aniston, Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock.
While Angelo has been hoping to break into Hollywood, he did not expect to make it that big as a leading man in China. Enamoured fans can’t seem to get enough of his piercing gaze and pretty face. However, Angelo prefers to impress with his diligence and commitment to his craft.
It is no secret that the Chinese language remains his biggest challenge when filming in China. “I first arrived in China without knowing any Chinese so it was really hard for me to be acting in Chinese TV series for the first few years,” he said.
And yet, Angelo refused to take the easy way out. “They told me I could just speak Thai, because they would just dub it anyway. But if I did that, I would feel like a loser. It’s like giving up on myself.
“If I chose to go the easy way, I will never improve. A calm sea never made a good sailor. So, it looks like I always go for the hardest way possible. I’ve been through a lot, but I believe that the universe is just preparing me for the next stage of my life. It’s just like levelling up.”
Although he speaks Mandarin quite well now, reading and writing remain tough. “I always have to write the words down phonetically and memorise them every night after I finish shooting my scenes for the day. It takes extra work, but I’m working extra hard on my Chinese now,” the actor said.
Angelo’s latest TV series, which is currently playing in China and streaming on dimsum, is •My Amazing Boyfriend 2. •In it, he portrays the suave mutant Xue Ling Qiao opposite Esther Yu, who plays his ditzy actress girlfriend Tian Jing Zhi.
Angelo says there is more to his character than meets the eye. “His blood can heal others. And, although he kinda looks cold, he is actually a warm-hearted guy who’s very caring, and he can sometimes be funny as well.”