Sabrina Qiu, Chinese actress who is Wong Jing’s latest muse, on her most memorable role, her part in upcoming Louis Cha adaptation, and fleshing out parts
- Like Wong’s previous muses, who often played roles tailor-made for them by the director, Qiu has already enjoyed her share of appearances
- She says her biggest challenge is to capture male attention while not offending women in the process, and to bring more depth to her characters
When veteran Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Jing brought the young actress Sabrina Qiu onto the popular Chinese talk show Roast in 2018, some audience members thought she might be the daughter of Chingmy Yau Suk-ching, a movie star who was scouted and nurtured to become a sex symbol by Wong in the 1990s.
That was understandable – the actresses share the same surname in Chinese, and on Roast Qiu re-enacted a classic scene from Wong’s film God of Gamblers’ Returns (1994) in which Yau, dressed in a red jacket and hot pants, shows off her card tricks.
Dubbed the new “Jing girl” (because she signed with Wong’s star agency and has appeared in several of his movies), Qiu has been compared to other Hong Kong stars nurtured by Wong such as Sharla Cheung Man, Shu Qi and Loletta Lee Lai-chun.
The starlet tells the Post in an interview in Beijing that she admires those actresses who, after starring in Wong’s films, went on to carve out illustrious show business careers. “Each of them is different; there’s no point in making comparisons,” she says. “It takes time and memorable roles in good works for the audience to recognise me. I hope in future the audience will recognise me for who I am rather than compare me to others.”
Like Wong’s previous protégés, who often played sizzling roles tailor-made for them by Wong, Qiu already has her share of scantily clad appearances. The actress says audiences tend to find her role in Chasing the Dragon II: Wild Wild Bunch (2019), co-directed by Wong, her most memorable.
In the scenes where she seduces a Macau tycoon, a kidnap target of Lung played by Michael Wong Man-tak, she bathes and lies prone on a table, showing her semi-naked body.
Qiu says the challenge for her is to capture male attention while not offending women. “The sexiness cannot be too obvious and pretentious,” she says. “While sexy actresses cannot avoid a carnal display, they can enrich their roles with their own mannerisms.
“Like in my first scene in Chasing the Dragon II, I was driving a car, and I asked the director whether I can eat chewing gum while I was driving. I adopted other girlish gestures, like eating lollipops, in the film. That’s how I made the role more girlish and adorable, giving her more character besides the sexiness.”
Besides the roles, Wong has crafted other types of character for Qiu to flex her acting chops. In Colour of the Game (2017), which was scripted and produced by Wong, she plays a gun-toting motorcyclist. In the period film Flirting Scholar from the Future (2019), she plays a comical martial arts maestro.
She says she did not study other actresses’ portrayals of the character, so she can have her own take on it. “I love the role, as Zhou is a daring woman who is honest in her love for Zhang,” she explains.
Qiu, who was born in Jiangxi province, eastern China, says she feels lucky to have been picked by the prolific filmmaker, who has directed and produced many box office hits.
She says Wong is a disciplined non-smoker and non-drinker, a far cry from the nightclub-going womaniser portrayed by some media.
“He is totally different from what I thought about him before [I met him],” says Qiu. “He writes the scripts for all his films. So he sleeps and wakes up very early to write. After knowing this, I have even more respect for him.”
Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook