Eager Tang Wei follows her star
Updated: 2012-03-02 09:29
By Liu Wei (China Daily)
Tang Wei's latest film has picked up 10 awards in South Korea.
Called Late Autumn, she plays a prisoner who falls in love with a man she encounters during a three-day leave from jail.
She is the only foreign actress to win a best actress award at the 47th Baeksang Arts Awards in 2011.
The film is Tang's fourth major screen work, after she rose to stardom leading Ang Lee's controversial Lust, Caution, in 2007.
The explicit sex scenes with Hong Kong veteran Tony Leung are rumored to be the reason why she disappeared from mainland screens for two years.
She went to London to study theater and improve her English for one year, which helps her performance in Late Autumn, as almost half the lines are in English.
The film was shot mainly in Seattle, where the two lead characters meet. They fall in love, but do not quite know each other. Tang's Anna is a woman who has to return to prison after three days, and South Korean star Hyun Bin's role is that of a professional womanizer.
Tang loves her character, because she is so different from her real self, she says.
"I wear what I feel on my face - all my friends know that - but the character conceals her feelings after many frustrations in life," she says.
It was a challenging role to portray. Even with Hyun's character in an amusement park, Tang had to wear a poker face. Director Kim Tae-yong would shout at her to raise the corners of her mouth a little.
"It killed me, because dodgems are my favorite amusement park ride," she says. "I tried to control every jolly jumping cell."
She says she appreciates the experience because she learned the power of hiding an actor's emotions when necessary.
She was a bit surprised to find that the film could become so popular in South Korea. Her English-language speech at the Baeksang Arts Awards was also widely praised by media.
"Maybe I should open a language school there," she jokes.
In her spare time in Seattle, she wandered the streets, talking to people at secondhand fairs and food markets.
She asked her Chinese friends to leave her alone, so she could be as close to the local language and culture as possible.
"One of the best things in an actress' life is traveling to different places to learn their culture and get to know the people," she says. "I spent one year in London, but that was not enough. I even want to study at the South Pole, maybe to learn something from penguins."
The film will premiere on the mainland on March 23.