The film Jade Goddess of Mercy has been screened nationwide in China. On Dec. 24, 2003, when it was premiered in Beijing, Zhao Wei, who starred in the film, was interviewed by a reporter.
Reporter: What do you think of playing a policewoman and a mother for the first time in Jade Goddess of Mercy?
Zhao: I had never thought I couldn't play a policewoman. So I had no difficulty with that. As for the mother, I didn't want to try to match a mother in some people's imagination. You can never do a perfect job playing a mother that matches people's imagination, especially after reading the novel. So what I tried to do was to play a mother that has a spiritual realness as opposed to the stereotype in the novel.
R: A TV series based on the novel has been broadcast. Do you have worries that An Xin (name of the heroine) in the TV series will put the primary image in people's minds?
Z: The TV series has nothing to do with the film. There is a big difference between the two. You can't compare them. In addition, the film's structure is different from that of the novel so as to give it a new feel, and some adjustment has been made to An Xin's character. So the An Xin I played is different to some extent from the person in the novel.
R: This film is the first time you've worked with Ann Hui On-wah, the director. It's said that she personally picked you to play An Xin. Is that true?
Z: Although it's the first time we've worked together, we've known each other for about eight years. I knew her when I was nobody as a student. Actually we've wanted to work together on a film for a long time. The reason is that she is a very good director for me and I thought she considered me a good actress.
R: I heard Ann Hui was very serious when she was working. Is that true?
Z: Yes, she was. Making a movie is a serious thing, you know. It was a difficult job to make the movie. There were scenes such as gunfights, love and humor. They all needed a director and the actors who were experienced and psychologically well prepared. I felt as if we were not making just one film but several all at once. That's why I thought it was a hard job.
R: Four films that you starred in were released together in the second half of this year. They are My Dream Girl, Green Tea, Hero and Jade Goddess of Mercy. It gave people an impression that you made them consecutively.
Z: The truth is they were made over a period of three years, but none of them were released before the second half of this year. Hero is the earliest. Nearly three years have passed since I completed it. But because the character I played made such an impact, people thought I had just finished it.
R: You're a big player on the screen for the second half of 2003. Aren't you afraid the audiences will get jaded?
Z: No. The four films are very different in style and the characters that I played. So the audiences won't think they are seeing the same character in four films. I think there are a lot of differences among them.
R: I remember the public and the media were not very friendly to you for a certain period of time. Now things have improved. But still there are people saying you've grown up amid criticism. What do you think of this?
Z: I've never thought I should do something to make people like me. I'm real and honest to myself. I put most of my focus on work.
R: What's your view about love?
Z: My view about love has yet to be formed. Even now I don't know what kind of people I like. It doesn't mean my tastes have changed from time to time. Probably I haven't come across my man or I haven't had time for him.
R: What do you think a significant relationship should be like?
Z: A significant relationship should be one in which you can never be together with the one you love. But you love each other deeply. While he always has a concern for you somewhere, he will never be together with you. That is an aesthetic love, a love with something missing.
R: Do you have a favorite love film?
Z: I don't know. There are too many good love films.