Sandra Ng may play wacky roles, but she is a strict mother and critic of her partner's films
Laughs are fine on screen for Hong Kong actress Sandra Ng. Real life is no laughing matter, though.
Ng - who has carved out a career and reputation playing wacky, no-holds- barred comedy roles - is actually a strict mother who also does not go easy on her life partner.
She reveals that she set clear rules for her eight-year-old daughter in several areas: No using of smartphone, no watching YouTube videos and no watching of any "meaningless cartoons".
Ng, 49, adds in Mandarin: "I am strict with her, but I do it for her own good. Actually, it comes from being a worried mother."
Noticing that her daughter is "skinny for her age, especially compared to her peers", she says that she is also very concerned about her nutrition.
"She likes to eat sweet cereal for breakfast, but I think it's not healthy. So I'll wake up every morning at six just to prepare something healthier for her, such as oatmeal or carrot porridge.
"I'm sure she's extra pleased about my being away in Singapore for a few days because then she'll get the freedom to eat whatever she wants."
As for her partner, film director Peter Chan Ho Sun, 51, she never used to go easy with her critiques of all of his films. Reportedly, the director of such acclaimed works as Comrades, Almost A Love Story (1996) and The Warlords (2007), offers her the first look at all his films.
"I was never a Peter Chan superfan, so I never felt like I needed to couch whatever I was saying. He asked me to be a critic and that's the state of mind I would take when I saw his stuff. If I didn't like something, I would just point it out to him," she says frankly.
In an interview with Life! for her new movie, A Fantastic Ghost Wedding, she was all business and no nonsense too.
While she answered every question in the session with utmost professionalism, giving smart, thoughtful replies, it was clear that she was not in the mood for fun and games, the way many of her movie characters would be.
Before the interview kicks off, she asks her managers how many more interviews she is scheduled to do for the rest of the day.
Midway through the interview, she declares to another minder that it is too warm in the room and that she needs the air- conditioning turned on.
In the local film, which opens in cinemas tomorrow, she plays a mother who goes to extremes to mourn her dead son, even hiring mediums to find a real-life wife for him.
She had her initial reservations about the role, given that the son in the movie, played by Wang Po-chieh, 25, is a grown man.
"I still feel very young, you know. It feels strange to me that I can have a son who is so old," she says. "But I liked the script and I felt there were some good ideas being explored in the story."
Of course, she is not without her soft side. It appears that she has relaxed her stance a little, given the struggles that she has seen Chan go through "in the past two or three years" as a film-maker.
"Making movies is getting tougher, especially since a lot of actors these days are getting more powerful than directors on film sets. I live with him, so I know how tough it has been for him.
"So I think it's better if I let the audience judge his films instead. As for me, I decided that I should be the one who supports him all the way and just say, 'good, good'."
She then chuckles and, displaying a rare soft spot for him, says: "It's just too bad for him that his name has the word 'sun' - that's why lately he has to be so 'sun fu'." Sun fu means work so hard in Cantonese.