Paul Potts talks about his ‘One Chance’

By Claire Lee

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ winner becomes subject of film starring James Corden

  • Published : Mar 5, 2014 - 19:47
  • Updated : Mar 5, 2014 - 19:47
British tenor Paul Potts paid his 11th visit to Korea on Saturday, but this time he was not here to perform. The “Britain’s Got Talent” winner attended a Seoul press screening of James Corden’s film “One Chance” on Tuesday, which depicts his dramatic rise to operatic fame based on his 2013 autobiography of the same title.

“The book and the movie are separate but they have the same theme and they have the same message, and that is achieving your goals,” Potts told reporters after the screening of the film at CGV Yongsan in Seoul.

“You get to where you want to go ... (if you just) keep going. And you keep going because of the people around you and the people who care about you.”
British tenor Paul Potts poses for a photo during a press conference for “One Chance,” a film based on his life story, in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

In the film, actor James Corden plays Potts, a shy, bullied mobile phone salesman whose real passion is singing opera at night. Ending a long struggle with confidence, bullying, financial difficulties and ill heath, he finally rises to stardom after successfully auditioning for the first season of “Britain’s Got Talent.” Potts famously won the series in 2007 by belting out Puccini’s opera aria from “Turandot.”

“When something is very important to you, it is difficult to put yourself in a position where you can be criticized. And that was challenging for me,” Potts said when asked about the way the film deals with his lack of confidence.

“I didn’t really gain more confidence until after ‘Britain’s Got Talent.’ I genuinely never believed that they would pick me. So to find myself even seven years later having a film (about me) and still performing around the world ― if somebody told me that when I was 14, I would’ve told them they are crazy.”

In the film, Potts gives up singing after attending a master class with Luciano Pavarotti in Venice. He is too nervous to give a memorable performance; then the legendary Italian tenor tells Potts he probably would not succeed as a singer. Potts is traumatized. But in real life, the master class in fact went very well, Potts said.

“Pavarotti did say he liked my voice,” Potts said. “But it didn’t lead anywhere. In the same way as in the movie, I came home and returned to my work. I just didn’t have the confidence at the time to pursue things. And in some ways when I look back on that time, it is clear to me that it wasn’t the right time for me. And the right timing, again, was 2007.”

The film also deals with Potts’ romance with his wife, Julie-Ann Potts, whom he first met in an online chat room. In the film, she is the one who believes in Potts and his abilities, even when he does not.

“You are not necessarily the best judge of what you can achieve,” he said. “Sometimes you put those obstacles in your own way. And the lesson I’ve learned over the years is that you don’t know what the future holds. You have to allow life to take its course.”

When asked to give advice to Korean winners of TV audition series, such as Huh Gak and Park Ji-min, Potts shared his own definition of success.

“People sometimes see success as ... (becoming a) worldwide star and anything less isn’t success,” he said. “I wouldn’t agree with that. I would say that if you are doing what you love, then that is success. If you are doing what you dreamed of, then there is no higher level of success.”

“One Chance” will open in Korean theaters on March 13.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)