From HongKong to Hollywood. Celina Jade hits the mark.
An e-mail popped up in Celina Jade’s inbox after she landed the role of Shado in Arrow warning her about bears. The actress, who was in Kuala Lumpur last month to promote the hit TV series, shares the highlight of the e-mail. “Don’t run. Because if you run, the bear will follow you. But, I don’t know if I cannot not run if I see a bear,” she says with a laugh.
On Arrow, her character is trapped on an island alongside the series’ protagonist, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell). Most of the external shots of the island are actually filmed on the top of a mountain at a national park in Vancouver, Canada. You know, where bears roam free.
“It’s beautiful, but am I able to tell a bear from a dog? I am not sure,” the 28-year-old Hong Kong-born actress deadpans.
In the series, Shado is a recurring character who appears in flashbacks to the time Oliver was stranded on the tropical island of Lian Yu after his father’s yacht sank in a storm.
She was introduced in the second half of the first season as a lawyer who’d come to the island in search of her own father. At the end of the first season, we discover that Shado is no damsel in distress and – shocker! – the person who taught the hooded vigilante the art of archery. now, in the second season, romance starts to bloom between Shado and Oliver even as more strangers arrive on the island with murderous intent.
“It’s funny because I am kissing the lead actor within the three episodes (I get there), and my Asian fans are like, ‘ How can you give in to him so early? You have to make him work for it a little bit’, ” Jade says.
It’s obvious that unlike her ever-serious character, Jade is witty and has a pleasant disposition, even when this interview takes place in the same hour she checks into the hotel after arrival from Hong Kong. The actress- model-singer even skips lunch to keep the appointed time.
The Pan-Asian actress is of mixed parentage – an American dad, who is also a kung fu star (Roy Horan shared scenes with the likes of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan) and a Hong Kong mum. Thanks to her dad, she and her sister have been practising martial arts since they were young. “Ours is the only family where getting beat up is OK.”
Even now, whenever she is back in Hong Kong, her 63-year-old father still trains and teaches her how to take punches and fall the correct way for the camera so that the action scene looks cinematically good and Jade won’t get hurt in the process.
She also credits her start in kung fu films (2008’s Legendary Assassins being her most popular feature) as a good training ground for martial arts. It also taught her to do her own fight stunts.
According to Jade, in an American production, the crew is more careful with the kind of stunts the cast does. “I remember the second episode (of Arrow) I was in, Stephen said to me, ‘ Oh be careful when you are on the apple box.’ And I am like ‘Really?’
“I think they were surprised with how much I was willing to do. I get bruised a lot, I get punched in the face in the second episode. I was like, ‘It’s fine’. I go home, roll an egg on it and I am OK. It’s part of my job, to fall and take a punch.”
Besides constantly improving her skills in martial arts, Jade made sure she does her character Shado proud – so she picked up archery, even setting up a shooting range at her home in Hong Kong.
She then says with a twinkle in her eye: “You know, now that I have a bow and arrow, sometimes I wonder if someone burgles my house will I use it and shoot him in the leg? I will be really tempted, right?”
Catch Celina Jade in Arrow every Monday at 9pm on WarnerTV (HyppTV Ch 613).