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Interview with Hong Kong princess : Miss Athena Chu Yan
Interview with Miss Athena Chu Page 1
Author(s) : Thomas Podvin
Arnaud Lanuque
Date : 19/5/2004
Type(s) : Interview
 Intext Links  
People :
Nick Cheung Ka Fai
Stephen Chow Sing Chi
Athena Chu Yan
Jeff Lau Chun Wai
Movies :
The Boss Up There
Chinese Odyssey, A : Pandora's Box
Fight Back To School 2
Love Correction
Time 4 Hope
< Previous
Special thanks to Miss Athena Chu Yan and to Shirleen for the translation.
Thanks extended to Helen Chan.
Interview by Thomas Podvin & Arnaud Lanuque, May 19, 2004. Research Arnaud Lanuque.
Pictures are (c) by their copyright holders. All rights reserved.

Athena Chu is extremely popular for her work on TV and in the cinema industry, and she has become a successful singer as well. Her film debut was in Stephen Chow's Fight Back to School 2 and from there she couldn't stop playing in movies.

She has become very famous as the love interest of the Monkey King (portrayed by Stephen Chow) in A Chinese Odyssey 2. Recently, Athena Chu has taken part to some more personal movies such as Stowaway , Time 4 Hope or The Boss Up There .

Athena is also very much involved in the music Industry and has produced her last music album.

From TV to cinema
HKCineMagic.com : Your transition from TV to the silver screen was with the movie Fight Back To School 2 a sequel to a successful film with Stephen Chow. How was your collaboration with him? Stephen Chow Sing Chi is a big star. Did this give you much pressure?

Athena Chu Yan : I was too young at the time to be aware of pressure and I was too busy into exploring about movies, everything was just new, exciting and fun for me.
On the set, Mr. Chow was very much the center, everyone, even the director respects his opinion, which he was always full of it.

HKCM : Vous avez joué sur les planches de théâtres, à la télévision et au cinéma . Comme avez-vous vécu les différences entre ces arts au service de la comédie ?

ACY : At the University of Academy [for Performing Arts], I majored in "Stage Drama". On stage, once the show begins, you have to continue to the end, even when you make a mistake, you will have to figure out ways to cover yourself.

With television, you still continue through the whole scene with different camera angles catching you, so acting is still in a flow. With movies, the editing takes a very important part, the director controls the whole thing. Actors just have to rely on the director, the camera will focus on your face more than your body. A scene is often broken up to different shots. It took me some time to get use to this format.


A chinese Odyssey

HKCM : L'histoire de A Chinese Odyssey est très complexe et parfois dure à suivre même. Le tournage était-il aussi complexe ?

ACY : To me, the shooting was difficult because that was the first time I was away from home to a very cold place by myself, and the living conditions were so primitive. But on the other hand, with period movies, you have freehand to act and the image is always very pretty, the scenery beautiful. The only complain is that the location is always too far from where we lived, therefore we had to travel long distance everyday.

The basic story was a well known story to everyone in our country. The director who is also the script writer [Jeff Lau], puts in his own love story concept and philosophy. Being a sad movie and released at the New Year holiday period, it was not very well received in Hong Kong at the time, but surprisingly, it is quite different in China. Even till now, it is still showing quite often and the University students majoring in cinema uses it as discussion material. I must say, this is a good movie.


HKCM : How was it perceived in HK at the time?

ACY : Being a sad movie and released at the New Year holiday period, it was not very well received in Hong Kong at the time, but surprisingly, it is quite different in China. Even till now, it is still showing quite often and the University students majoring in cinema uses it as discussion material. I must say, this is a good movie.

A Chinese Odyssey


On Nick Cheung
HKCM : You worked on 4 films with Nick Cheung, (the two Conman films, Time 4 Hope & Love Correction). How would you describe your relationship with Nick Cheung? Is it easier to act with someone you do know quite well?

ACY : My relationship with Nick Cheung is always a happy one. He is a genuine person, I mean whether he is happy or unhappy, its shown on his face. He loves acting and he is professional. He will always work with his co actors. Yes, it is easier to act with someone I know well like Cheung, you can be honest with what is in your mind, he doesn't play up on you, I feel secure working with him, his is a good acting partner.


HKCM : For Time 4 Hope , did you try to stick to reality as much as possible? Did you meet the real person that you portrayed in the film?

ACY : With Time 4 Hope, the script writer is writing his own story. He fell from the very top to dead bottom. His wife was always there for him. I am more touched by his wife's sacrifice. I met with the wife before we started shooting to get her side of the story first hand. Also the couple was always at the set feeding us with their own personal feelings. This is a very good true story to influence people to think of life positively.


On more mature projects
HKCM : The Boss Up There was a turning point in your career. Can you explain what was your motivations doing this film and if the making of the film was difficult?

ACY : I am always interested in playing different new characters. Since I have never been in contact with drug, doesn't know anyone taking drugs, I had to do my research through books, movies and even talk to drug addicts. I only found out then that different drugs gives you different effects.

As I had always play as the pretty normal girl, this is quite a challenge for me to play a girl who had taken up drugs from 16, 17, slept on streets, wasting her life but in the end, because of the love of God, finds new hope in life. As a Christian, I was happy to be part of the movie where I can deliver this positive message to the young people.


HKCM : In Stowaway you portray a mother that would do anything for her son. Why did you take part to such movie? Do you wish to play more that type of tragic character in the future?

ACY : Stowaway is really a true story about the problems with our society nowadays. I think at the time, on the news there was really this group of refugees running to England but ended up all dead in the cargo container. It is like taking part in history for me. Because my focus was on giving my son a better life, even not knowing what is in front of us, I was willing to give it a try, the unknown of good or bad guys after a piece of you. I guess the chance to go to all these places besides China like Moscow was also an attraction for me. It would very much depend on the script whether I will play this type of role in the future.

on music
HKCM : You produced you latest music album. Your career as a singer seems to be very important for you. What does a music career bring you?

ACY : Yes, music is my life, with acting, you are restricted by the script, you are never yourself. Music gives me the space and lets me find myself. It gives me a chance to tell my own story. I can put down my feeling into my songs. I can share with my fans my inner feelings through my songs. I can share my special moments through my songs with others.


HKCM : Are the challenges different in the music industry and the film industry?

ACY : Movie is working with a team, it involves a large group of people. On the other hand, Music gives me the cosy feeling. Being from stage drama, I love the stage, I always enjoy the feeling of life contact with audiences.


final word
HKCM : Le mot de la fin pour vos fans.
ACY : First of all, hello there to friends from France, thank you for your support, although we are so far apart, I hope we will have more chance to communicate in the future. I will work hard on making more good movies and produce more good songs to share with friends who likes me and through my songs, I hope to share with you my inner feelings. Thank you! God Bless!
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