The 1/2 Taiwanese and 1/2 Japanese Takeshi Kaneshiro may have started out as a puerile teen idol in the Chinese entertainment scene, but he’s since become a proper film star in his own right. Whether by his own design or not, the boyishness that marked his first steps into showbiz has evolved into a cool, somewhat reticent demeanor that has now become his trademark. Despite being effortlessly good-looking, he chooses to strike a sometimes uneasy balance between the commercially pleasing and the quirky in his choice of film roles — a move that’s unusual for Asian leading men. But whether he’s the faithful lover in the Japanese AIDS drama Kamisama mousukoshi dake (1998), the canned-pineapple-eating cop in Chungking Express (1994) or awkward in his role in Misty (1996), a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon (1950), Asian audiences love his style. Other memorable roles include his turn as a lovelorn student in Tempting Heart (1999), an angel in Lavender (2000) and the leader of a trio of robbers in Space Travelers (2000). There hasn’t been an Asian actor quite as versatile as Kaneshiro, who is able to straddle the Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japanese film industries because of his proficiency in various languages. Still, one wonders if the reason why he’s so sought after is because he is so elusive. No one really knows what he does outside of film commitments, and his reluctance towards being in the spotlight is legendary.