New (action) girl on the block

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Producer Wong Jing returns with the third instalment of his "Naked" series for the third consecutive year, following the release of "Naked Killer" in 1992 and "Naked Weapon" in 2002. Despite her unfamiliar face, the leading actress of "Naked Soldier", Jennifer Tse, is a well-known name, as many know her to be Hong Kong star's Nicholas Tse's younger sister. Not unlike her brother, Jennifer has been hard at work in making a name for herself when she turned from modelling to acting, resulting in her debut film appearance in Raymond Yip and Manfred Wong's martial arts flick, "Bruce Lee, My Brother", in 2010. Whether "Naked Soldier" manages to make waves in box offices worldwide, the athletic lady seems set for the future, as the Marco Mak-directed film sees her going head-to-head with the likes of Sammo Hung, Philip Ng and Andy On in her first ever action role. Luckily for us at Cinema Online, we were at a safe distance for our interview with Jennifer, lest she kicks our butts for our questions about her leading role in "Naked Soldier".

Cinema Online conducted a phone interview with Jennifer Tse at Golden Screen Cinemas' headquarters in Damansara Jaya, Petaling Jaya on 9 July 2012.

Q: Can you tell us how you feel about being chosen as the lead actress for "Naked Soldier"?
Jennifer: I would say that I'm definitely happy getting to play Phoenix as my first leading role as an actress, but the best thing for me about the role is that I could be in an action movie, because I really liked watching action movies, so I really wanted to be in an action movie. So yeah, I was very excited.

Q: Since you are so excited for this, in the end, what did you think of your performance in the film?
Jennifer: Doing action stunts myself was something that I've never done before prior to the film, so I didn't know if I have the ability to pull it off. Despite being active in sports, I wasn't sure if I could do it even if I was given a chance. After the shoot however, I was quite satisfied with the results because it was no longer just something I thought of doing, but being able to do. It is different to want to do something and being able to do it. I was able to pick up and learn the action moves quickly, plus, the choreographers were very helpful in teaching me.

Q: Did you suffer any injuries while shooting?
Jennifer: Thankfully, no. I was not hurt thanks to the protective equipment.

Q: Did you ask anyone to teach you any special moves?
Jennifer: About 2 months before the shoot, I started training by lifting weights and exercising, because you have to be energetic and have quick reflexes when doing an action movie. Philip Ng, who plays Black Dragon in the movie, is also my boyfriend [Andy On]'s martial arts instructor, so he would give me some tips during his free time.

Q: Did you pick up any moves from your brother [Nicholas Tse]?
Jennifer: Before the beginning of the shoot, he came over to my house to teach me some basic moves. It was quite fun and I was happy to be able to learn from him. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was actually good in martial arts in person, and not just pretence covered up by special effects or cinematography.

Q: Andy On also looks like someone who is good in martial arts. If there was a showdown between him and your brother, who do you think would win?
: We actually talked about this before. My brother has learned a lot of techniques but Andy is powerful, so comparing them would be like picking strength or technique as the victor. Who would you pick? I think... Andy would win because he is very strong, and if he lands one blow on my brother, he [Nicholas] would be out cold.

Q: In "Naked Soldier", you are one of the three female assassins. The other two were scantily dressed but you were dressed more conservatively, is it because you didn't want to reveal yourself too much?
Jennifer: I had a few costumes that were quite revealing but because my character is more of the conservative type and I am trying to disguise myself as a student, so I didn't have much revealing attire.

Q: Did you refer to any of the previous movies in the "Naked" series?
Jennifer: Of course, I did my homework. I did watch "Naked Killer" (1992) to learn about the concept, the storyline and the action moves.

Q: In "Naked Killer", the leading actress was Chingmy Yau, followed by Maggie Q in "Naked Weapon". Both of them are now famous stars. As the leading actress in "Naked Soldier", do you feel pressured?
Jennifer: I wouldn't look at it that way, because my personality is someone who is not too concerned about being compared to others. I feel that everyone is different. The most important thing is that I'm satisfied with my own performance and that I feel that I've done my best. If I did well, then the audience would like it, but even if they didn't, then I wouldn't be too unhappy about it because I know that I've done my best.

Q: Do you think you will get to be in more action movies in the future?
Jennifer: I really, really hope that I can continue to shoot action movies, because there are so many types of styles that I have not tried. In "Naked Soldier", I'm mostly doing hand-to-hand combat. During the shoot, I couldn't sit still during the breaks and would ask the stunt crew to teach me more moves and observe them, since most of them have a Shaolin background. I would also pick up anything like the guns, knives or sticks and try to use them. For me, it's like a playground. After doing a jumping stunt with the wires and the director is reviewing the take, I would ask the wiremen to pull me back up so that I can jump again for fun. I really want to try out more scenes, like the ones with guns. So I hope that there would be more action movie roles for me with car chases, explosions, gunfights and some Chinese martial arts.

Q: Will your boyfriend be worried if you are in more action movies?
Jennifer: When he first heard that I wanted to be in more action movies, he was speechless because he is worried, but he also knows that I really wanted to do action movies, and he did not want to stop me. I understand his worry because he has done many action movies for so many years. I have seen him injure himself many times and he has seen others getting injured too. But after seeing me finish shooting this movie, he felt that it was actually up to one's own ability to avoid getting hurt, and there were a lot of people looking after me on set, so he a little relieved.

Q: Have you accepted any other roles at the moment?
Jennifer: At the moment, I'm just reviewing scripts to see whether there are any suitable roles for me. Of course, there are plenty of roles that I haven't tried before. Even though I've always wanted to be an action star, I have appeared in a ghost movie before, so I'm quite sure that I could do other roles.

Q: Is there anyone that you wish you could collaborate with for your future action movies?
Jennifer: Oh, there're a lot. Although this time I worked with Sammo Hung, I only have a small scene with him. I hope that I could have more scenes with him when my skills have improved. Of course, I would like to try to be in the same action movie with my brother. But I can't get too ahead of myself because I'm just starting out and most of them are 'legends' with more than 10 years of experience, and I'm not up to their standard yet. But I really hope to get there someday, and I hope they are still willing to do an action movie with me then.

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