HK star Charlene Choi has no problem ditching wholesome image for risque roles

HK star Charlene Choi has no problem ditching wholesome image for risque roles
CHEMISTRY: In the movie Sara, veteran actor Simon Yam and Charlene Choi share several sex scenes.

Hong Kong singer-actress Charlene Choi has no qualms about taking it off for a role.

As long as the movie has a meaningful storyline, she told M yesterday over the phone from Hong Kong.

The 32-year-old, best known for being one half of Cantopop duo Twins alongside Gillian Chung, frequently plays girlish or wholesome characters in romantic comedies like Hot Summer Days (2010) and My Sassy Hubby (2012).

But Choi is taking her acting career to new heights with her latest film Sara. In it, she plays Sara, a journalist who travels to Chiang Mai and chances upon a child prostitute named Dok-my.

While trying to rescue her from prostitution, Sara becomes haunted by the memories of her own past, when she was sexually abused by her stepfather.

Opening here on March 26, the R21 film - which explores the dark side of sex tourism in Asia - also stars veteran actor Simon Yam.

The pair engage in several sex scenes, which feature Choi nude, but shown only from the back.

Choi showcases a decidedly darker and more serious side, and her breakthrough performance in Sara won her a Special Mention prize at the Osaka Asian Film Festival on Sunday.

She has also been nominated for the Best Actress award at next month's Hong Kong Film Awards, which pits her against Tang Wei, Zhou Xun, Sandra Ng and Zhao Wei. M chats with her about the movie.

Congratulations on your latest accolade at the Osaka Asian Film Festival.

How do you feel about the Hong Kong Film Awards nod?

Actually I'm quite relaxed about it. I've already achieved what is most important to me. The audience and many veteran actors have praised me for the role, and I'm already very satisfied.

Were there any personal struggles in preparing for the revealing scenes in the movie?

I'm actually all right with it. As an actress, you'll need to face challenges. Also, the (sex) scenes were not that long. But then again, they were not that short either.

Would you accept a similar role in the future?

Nude scenes may be the (movie's) selling point, (but they) are not the main reason I'll choose to take on a role. To me, the most important thing is the storyline.

If the aim of the movie is just to promote these nude scenes then I won't take it. But if there's more to it than that, to bring across a meaningful message, then I won't mind.

If you had been given this role five years ago, would you have taken it?

I wouldn't have been able to handle it (then). Now that I've been in the industry for over a decade, the timing couldn't be better.

Do you know why producer Chapman To picked you for the role?

I didn't ask him, but I'm just very grateful that he has granted me this opportunity. To get such a good role, sometimes it's based on chance and good timing.

How has your actor-boyfriend William Chan reacted to Sara?

He is busy filming a movie so he hasn't had the time to watch it. But he respects my work as an actress, so he has no issues with it.

What about your parents?

My parents, even more so than my boyfriend, do not want to stop me from doing what I'm doing. They've always been supportive of me ever since I was young, in whatever I do.

Any plans for a sequel?

No, but I hope to do more of such meaningful shows in the future.

This article was first published on Mar 18, 2015.
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