I recently got the chance to talk to Vivid Wang about her role in ‘Red Light Revolution’. Here, Vivid talks about how she got involved in the film and how she got into acting in the first place…
Hey Vivid. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Red Light Revolution’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The story is based around a single, jobless, Beijing man who wants to start a business in a somewhat taboo industry. When his family and friends get involved in the business, conflicts and extraordinary circumstances offer up a plate of comic relief. Chinese audiences have proclaimed this film “a well eastern and western ‘mixed-blood’ comedy”.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
Lili, the character I play, is a smart, spunky and sometimes feisty girl. Though she can be a bit naive, she agrees to help the protagonist, Shunzi, open a sex shop to make his living. Lili is not the conventional Chinese girl who westerners typically envision. Instead, she is the epitome of the new Chinese female – one who has her own voice and place in society.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I heard about a casting call for this film through one of my former roommates, Tao Yangyang, who happened to be working as the casting director for the movie. Tao told me that as she read the script, she thought about me as the part of ‘Lili’. She arranged for me to audition with the director, Sam Voutas, and producer Melanie Anshely. During the first audition, I was so nervous that the pitch of my voice was a few octaves higher than usual! Luckily I was invited to a second audition, only this time I was prompted with “How about being yourself today?” One month later, I got a call from Sam telling me I got the part!
How would you say this film is different and unique?
I would say the topic on its own is unique to Chinese audiences. Even more so because it is a story being told by a foreigner – one about the sexual habits in China – a subject most Chinese directors would all but run from. But beware: if you’re looking for porn, this is not the movie for you. It’s simply an encouraging, fun movie to enjoy.
The film stars Jun Zhao, your good self, Xiduo Jiang, Masanobu Otsuka, Huimin Tian and Ji Qin - with Sam Voutas onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set? Any good anecdotes?
Everything was new to me and everyone seemed much more professional than I. The atmosphere was a relaxed and friendly one. Sam Voutas, as a screen writer and director, is quite modest and hardworking. He has made a lasting impression on me. Shooting for this film was super intense due to funding and looming deadlines. It was quite stressful at times, but I have to say that everyone handled it very professionally. I was extremely proud to work with such a solid group of people.
Let’s talk a bit about you Vivid. What made you want to get into the industry in the first place?
I’ve always wanted to be an actress, since I was a little girl. Unfortunately, my parents already had big plans for me (as most Chinese parents do), which didn’t include acting. I hated the feeling of being someone’s puppet. Even when I was working in hotels as a receptionist in Europe, I still couldn’t shake the idea of becoming an actress. I did a few TV commercials – including one for Nokia’s N81. My real breakthrough came with my first feature film, ‘Red Light Revolution’, which can now be seen in cinemas throughout the UK and Canada, and also on China’s biggest online video site, Tudou. Acting gives me the chance to explore so many different emotions, worlds, and parts of myself. I love when a character’s emotions, or even my own, flow through me – I can’t get enough of being in the moment and committing myself to it. If I get to do this for the rest of my life, that would be beyond amazing.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Since I am a newcomer myself, I’m not sure I have any brilliant advice at the moment, but I would like to share a quote by the infamous Steve Jobs: “You’ve got to find what you love. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
If you could have dinner with three guests – (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
I’m gonna go for the living only! I’d say Jack Black, because of his naturally hysterical performances, Ben Stiller, because of his deadpan humour, and my Mom, just to show her that I really do know what I want out of life.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three personal things could you not live without?
Naaaaa, this is not happening, is it? I am bad at these kinds of hypothetical questions. Besides, hindsight is much better in these sorts of situations, so ask me after I’ve come back from a stranded desert island. J
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I am actually in the middle of shooting, a very interesting project made by an international group of filmmakers who have never met in person. The film, currently titled ‘Train Station’, connects dozens of short segments, each made by a different director, that together tell a single but multi-faceted story. My short segment is taking place in my hometown of Shanghai. My character is a drama queen in and out. This movie seems very promising and hopefully can be seen in a cinema near you later this year! Oh, and I’m also looking to partner with an overseas acting agency or manager right now.
Thanks for the interview!