It is ironic that Hong Kong actress Deanie Ip Tak-han who was ready for a simple life after her 2000 film "Queen Of Kowloon" was brought back into the spotlight following her critically-acclaimed performance in veteran director Ann Hui On-wah's "A Simple Life". Best known for her portrayals of single mothers who struggle with their lives as part of the lower-class citizens in the city, Ip first launched her entertainment career by starting off as a singer with an album in 1969. She then juggled between singing and acting in the early 1980s with small roles in films such as Tsui Hark's "Dangerous Encounters: 1st Kind" and Patrick Tam Ka-ming's "Love Massacre". This period of obscurity was then underpinned by her Golden Horse Award-winning performance for "Cream Soda and Milk" and a Hong Kong Film Award four years later for "My Name Ain't Suzie". Despite her continuous rebuff of plans to return to acting, Ip's latest win at the 6th Asian Film Awards for her portrayal of Tao Jie may just be the catalyst for meatier role offers and her obstacle for a simple life.
Cinema Online had an interview with Deanie Ip at GSC Pavilion.
Q: Can you talk about working with your lead actor, Andy Lau and director Ann Hui? What was that experience like for you?
Ip: It was fun to be able to work with Andy again. He's a genuinely nice guy and lots of fun to be with. Sometimes, I think that it's bad for us to always star in films together as he saw more of me than his family! As for Ann, she's really serious, really strict. I'm always on pins and needles around her because I feel that she is on a whole other level, and I really have to do all I can for her. But I'm also grateful to her for giving me this opportunity to show that I can really act.
Q: What was the most memorable scene for you in "A Simple Life"?
Ip: The most memorable scene for me was actually cut out of the movie, I think. It was when I was in the coffin. I didn't know how being in a coffin would feel like as it was my first time, but it was a claustrophobic experience. There was a sweet and sour smell in it, and it was very short and narrow. Also, I found my visit to homes for the elderly to be very memorable as well because it was really bad. There was a stench about the place because the people there were just too old to clean up after themselves. That was really heartbreaking for me because I'm getting old myself. Imagine not being able to do anything for yourself.
Q: How do you feel about winning Best Actress at Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival?
Ip: Well, I was really nervous and anxious to get it, so winning as really a relief for me. I'm also really hoping to get the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Actress this year because I feel that it is my last chance as an actress to get it since I'm already old.
Q: Have you regretted accepting any role?
Ip: Well, I do have a few regrets here and there, but that's life. I don't want to name anything, just that life has got its ups and downs, and sometimes I can make decisions that eventually turn out to be either right or wrong, but I'll always be happy knowing that I did my best in everything.
Q: What was your most challenging role?
Ip: All my roles are equally challenging for me because I pick roles that are different from my person. So in a way, all my roles are not challenging as well, because I'll find ways to somehow make them work. But the task that I will always find the most challenging is kissing onscreen. I only did it once, and I'll try to avoid it at all costs!
Q: What is your favourite movie?
Ip: I like musicals the most, like Moulin Rouge, Chicago. But I also like shows like Toy Story and Julie & Julia.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Ip: I doubt I'll even get anymore role offers in the future, but if I could, I would like to work with Patrick Tam.
Q: Thank you so much for your time!
Ip: No problem.