Joan Chen, not just a spice in the Hollywood dish
Text & Photos: Dang Hui Ling
Drama Stills: HBO Asia
Video: Teng Siew Eng
In town for the press conference of Serangoon Road, HBO Asia's first original co-production with Australia's ABC TV, international film star Joan Chen talked about her collaboration with local and regional actors, and revealed how she broke away from the Hollywood shackles and ventured into scriptwriting and directing.
Joan plays the owner of a detective agency in the upcoming series and as a self-proclaimed fan of old-fashioned detective stories, the script and the post-colonial setting appealed to her strongly. The Chinese actress enjoyed the unique combination of having an international cast on set and heaped praises on local co-actors Pamelyn Chee, Melody Chen, Xiang Yun and Tan Kheng Hua.
"I love the fact that there are so many Singaporean actors in the show," she quipped, during the interview with xinmsn.
Sharing that she feels "like an expat both in China and in America", Joan agreed that she possesses the East-meets-West personality which is "like the Singapore culture". While her traditional values mirror that of the 'Eastern' culture, her time in the United States influenced her to be outspoken and "open-minded".
While speaking to the media, Joan opened up on the Asian stereotype in Tinseltown and described how most Asians in Hollywood are purely seen as a mysterious element and "a spice needed in certain dishes".
"They do not seek a thorough understanding of the Asian culture and only magnify a tiny aspect of you," she commented. "I didn't want to be the 'exotic flavour' in the Hollywood films anymore."