Interview#15…Fennie Yuen, actress

After recently reviewing Shanghai 1920 as part of my John Lone movie review series, I wanted to learn a little bit more about the actress, Fennie Yuen, who played Dawson’s girlfriend, Mei, in the movie.  This character intrigued me, she was spirited, hard to break, but we were allowed at moments to see her softer side.  As I was watching the movie I wondered how the two characters, western Dawson and local lady Mei, how would they have been perceived in the real Shanghai in those days?

I was delighted that Fennie agreed to answer a few questions for The Mighty Dragon. Google Translate has worked its magic translating Fennie’s answers into English, as with any translator its not a perfect translation, but still reads well.  Thanks so much to the beautiful Fennie for answering these questions in her busy schedule and a big thanks to Elven Ho for helping with this interview and the behind the scenes shots of Shanghai 1920.

10 Q’s

Did you always want to be an actress?

Fennie: 我能成為演員,相信是緣份吧!在1985年,黃百鳴先生正為電影物色新面孔,偶然下他在街上遇到我,之後我便獲得他的賞識與提攜,才有幸踏上演藝之路。I can be an actor, I believe it is fate! In 1985, Mr. Huang Baiming was looking for a new face for the film. By chance, he met me on the street. After that, I got his appreciation and support and I was lucky enough to embark on the road of acting.

Looking back to the 1980’s when you started, what are the key differences now for actresses in Hong Kong?

Fennie: 每個世代,每個女演員的個性和特質,都有其本身吸引之處,很難作出比較。而80年代的女演員中,例如: 張曼玉、鍾楚紅、葉童,更是無人可取替。Every generation, each actress’s personality and traits have their own attractions; it is difficult to make comparisons. Among the actresses of the 1980s, such as: Zhang Manyu, Zhong Chuhong, and Ye Tong, there is no one to replace.

As an actress in the Hong Kong golden era of movies, do you have any special memories you’d like to share?

Fennie: 可以用四個字形容 “百花齊放” You can use four words to describe “Hundred Flowers”

Is speaking both Mandarin and Cantonese essential for actors?

Fennie: 作為一個演員,能夠操流利的多國語言,對演繹不同類型的角色會有很大幫助,事業的發展空間自然也會更大。As an actor, being able to speak fluent multi-language will greatly help in the interpretation of different types of roles, and the space for career development will naturally be greater.

What’s been your favourite character to play so far, and why?

Fennie: 《笑傲江湖》中的藍鳳凰。這是由一部經典武俠小說改編而成的電影,自己有幸演繹這個很有個性的角色,非常難忘,亦幸運地最終獲得觀眾的寵愛。The blue phoenix in “Swordsman“. This is a film adapted from a classic martial arts novel. I have the honor to interpret this very personal character. It is very memorable and fortunately finally won the favor of the audience.

FACT: The Swordsmen had 4 wins & 11 nominations

Who are your favourite actors, and why?

Fennie: 周星馳。因為他的演出,總會帶給觀眾很多意外的驚喜。
Zhou Xingchi. Because of his performance, there will always be a lot of surprises for the audience.

Do you act in theatre too?

Fennie: 暫時還沒有機會參與舞臺劇的演出,但日後也希望有這個緣份。
There is no chance to participate in the performance of the stage play for the time being, but I hope to have this fate in the future.

Is there a part you’d love to act?

Fennie: 任何未曾演繹過的角色,只要合適,我都願意嘗試去挑戰自己。
Any role that has not been interpreted, as long as it is appropriate, I am willing to try to challenge myself.

I loved your performance as Mei in Shanghai 1920 – how did you prepare specifically for this character?
我喜欢你在1920年上海的表演 – 你是如何专门为这个角色做准备的

Fennie: 電影的背景是1920年,雖然我沒有經歷過,但因幕後人員,如導演、編劇、服裝等等的單位都籌備充足,所以讓我更容易去投入演繹一個20年代的女性。
The background of the film is 1920. Although I have not experienced it, the people behind the scenes, such as directors, screenwriters, costumes, etc., are well prepared, so it is easier for me to participate in the interpretation of a woman in the 1920s.

Do you have any plans to return to movies?

Fennie: 有機緣, 我一定會回到我的崗位繼續工作,因為我對電影仍然充滿熱誠。
Organic, I will definitely return to my position to continue working, because I am still passionate about film. I am also grateful for your visit here, I wish you all happiness.

Fennie, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.  May I wish you all the very best in your upcoming projects.


Here’s some behind the scene pix from Shanghai 1920.

Interview with Elven Ho

The Mighty Dragon Shanghai 1920 Film Review


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