Vivian Wu: at Home in Two Worlds

2011-06-23 08:37:54        China Daily

Actress Vivian Wu says she enjoys being a "bridge" between Hollywood and the Chinese film industry.[Photo:China Daily]

From Hollywood to Chinese television and now its silver screen, Shanghai actress Vivian Wu has come full circle.

In the almost 25 years since her Hollywood debut in the "Last Emperor", actress Vivian Wu can be seen everywhere, from the United States' silver screens to Chinese television sets to strolling around Shanghai's posh Xintiandi.

Soon, audiences all over the world will be able to see her latest performance in "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan", a film adapted from Lisa See's eponymous novel. Wu plays a modern-day matchmaker, working alongside other stars from China and abroad, such as Li Bingbing and Hugh Jackman.

The film, part of which was shot in Shanghai, follows the story of a generation of women from ancient China to modern-day Shanghai who are connected by the ancient bond of laotong, or "old sames". Wu says the film embraces much of what China is trying to do today: balancing the old with the new.

She does admit that the film is not as commercial as some audiences, especially the ones in China, are used to. "Hopefully Snow Flower will help Chinese appreciate more 'artsy' films," she says, and will enjoy it enough to not chat with one another or on their cell phones, something that bothers her when going to the cinema here in China.

In an era when Hollywood films are increasingly shifting their focus and interest to Asia's big dragon, Wu says she's enjoyed being a "bridge" for the two cultures and the two industries.

Having spent her first 20 years in China, for what she calls her compulsory education, and her next 20 years in the US, she may be one of the best people for the job.

She admits that she's more "Westernized", but now has the best of both worlds. "Things are a lot more exciting in China," she says. "The industry is changing so fast and there's a lot of room for growth. And it's changing in a good way."

It's the kind of change, she says, you only see "once in a thousand years".

And Wu, who comes under the horse sign of the Chinese zodiac, says she's caught in the excitement. "I'm galloping right now."

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