Tang Wei returns, with caution

09:51, April 15, 2010      

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Tang Wei in Crossing Hennessy. Photo: CFP

After a noticeable two-year absence from the industry, actress Tang Wei returned to the big screen April 2 with Crossing Hennessy, a romance by Hong Kong screenwriter and director Ivy Ho.

Tang was banned from acting on the Chinese mainland after she played the female lead in Ang Lee's movie Lust, Caution in 2007. Originally devoted to the assassination of a special agent who worked for the puppet government set up by the Japanese during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), her character later fell in love with him and betrayed the Chinese Communist Party by letting him escape at the last minute.

For the role, she won the Best New Performer Golden Horse award in 2007 and became a Hong Kong citizen.

She was reportedly studying drama at the University of Reading in the UK last year.

Manfred Wong, former chairman of the Hong Kong Film Awards Association, revealed in his blog last month that William Kong, the founder of Edko Films and a close friend of Ang Lee, had signed Tang Wei and was helping renew her career upon Lee's request.

The return of Tang has been widely covered by Chinese media, although she is keeping a cautiously low public profile. Questions related to her ban and what she has been up to over the last two years are politely but firmly rejected by her agent.

As Wong noted in his blog, Edko Films and Tang are sticking firmly to one principle when handling the crisis of her career.

"Silence is gold," he wrote.

Cindy Chan from Champion Star Management said that all they want to talk about is her new movie.

Crossing Hennessy, starring both Tang and Jackie Cheung, tells a story of how a 41-year-old good-natured loser and a stubborn girl next door are forced into a blind date by their relatives and later find comfort and love from each other. The romance, which takes place on Hennessy Road, the main street of Hong Kong's Wan Chai District, is full of scenes of coffee shops and bustling streets.

Tang said that she was a bit nervous at first after reading the script as she had to speak Cantonese throughout the entire movie. She went to Hong Kong a month before shooting to take language classes and tried to talk with cast and crew members whenever she could.

"My favorite part of the learning was bargaining with vendors for groceries or listening to the sales jargon at an appliance store," she said.
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