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Sammi Cheng on Her Role in Stanley Kwan's 'First Night Nerves'

By Flora  /  10 Dec 2018 (Monday)

Photo Credit: Singapore International Film Festival

Hong Kong superstar Sammi Cheng plays Yuan Xiuling, a former actress who plans to return to the spotlight in a theatre production, but her biggest rival is a newbie actress He Yuwen who stars in the play as well. 

Directed by film auteur Stanely Kwan in his comeback movie after a long hiatus, the film also stars Gigi Leung, Qi Xi, Catherine Chau and Angie Chiu, and was screened at the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) to a sold-out audience on 7th and 8th December. 

Cheng spoke to the media about collaborating with Kwan again, as well as the change in her mental state while filming for the movie. 

Many people were concerned about Cheng after she filmed Everlasting Regret in 2005 where she went too far into the film and suffered both mentally and physically. She went through a stage of severe depression then and decided to take a sabbatical from the entertainment industry to focus on her health. Though it took Cheng three years to pull herself out of the rut, the 46-year-old singer-actress emerged stronger and more positive than ever. 

“When I suffered from depression, those few years felt like I was living in a coffin where it felt like there was no hope left. I didn’t have the strength to carry on so surely, there were a few times that I thought I would actually retire,” shared the amiable star who looks nothing like her age. 

Photo Credit: InCinemas 

When asked about her filming journey for “First Night Nerves”, Cheng felt that it was “rewarding”. 

“When I first read the script, I loved it! There are a lot of inner struggles in the character. There is a lot of depth in the role and for any actor, to chase this kind of role that allows you to find a different perspective to present myself. I really, really liked it.” 

She added: “This time, there is a great difference filming for this (First Night Nerves) and Everlasting Regret. During that time, my mental state wasn’t that stable. But now, be it physically or mentally, I am complete, totally healed. I am fully confident to handle my role. The biggest difference is that I became confident whenever I stepped onto the set and was able to channel the right energy into the role."

The film premiered at the Busan International Film Festival in October where it was praised for its developed female characters. “I think this is a really good chance because indeed, it is rare to see films and topics that are focused on women in this industry and therefore, I am glad to have the chance to participate in this role.” 

She added: “This role is very challenging and that’s why I feel really fortunate. When opportunities come, I just take it and try my very best to breathe life to my characters.” 
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